Summit of Mayors “Alliance of European cities against violent extremism”
9 November 2016, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rotterdam Summit: mayors and local and regional elected officials from 28 countries stand up to violent extremism [10/11/2016]
131 participants from 28 countries, including 55 mayors and deputy mayors of European cities, gathered in Rotterdam for a Summit of Mayors for the “Alliance of European cities against violent extremism” on 9 November 2016. A joint initiative by the Congress, the City of Rotterdam and the European Forum for Urban Security, the Summit was opened by Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Congress, and Roger Vicot, President of the French Forum for Urban Security and Mayor of Lomme. After the Summit, they adopted a declaration reiterating the key role of local authorities as custodians of human rights, democracy and the rule of law at local level. Participants also emphasised the importance of pursuing multi-agency strategies, by developing a plan of action bringing together all local stakeholders involved in preventing radicalisation, allocating resources and co-ordinating action with different levels of government. The cities involved in the Alliance against violent extremism pledged to pool their resources to train both local government staff and other actors working at the forefront to prevent radicalisation.
Preventing violent extremism: mayor of Rotterdam calls on local councillors to engage in grassroots dialogue with fellow citizens [09/11/2016]
The mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb spoke at the opening of the Summit of Mayors for the Alliance of European Cities which brought together nearly 130 participants in Rotterdam on 9 November 2016. Stressing the importance of grassroots dialogue between local and regional elected representatives and the public at large, Mr Aboutaleb went on to say: “Many countries see radicalisation leading to violent extremism as the result of social and integration problems. Yet we are seeing people heading off to join the jihadists in Iraq or Syria for other reasons, even when they are totally integrated”. “In Rotterdam, we have decided to engage our fellow citizens in a proper conversation through a special programme. This conversation takes place at regular meetings in the local area or at our own offices, over a coffee,” explained the mayor, adding that the results were encouraging and that the scheme was helping to foster mutual understanding and to prevent violent extremism at grassroots level. During the Summit of Mayors, a number of field visits will give participants an opportunity to discover specific local initiatives being conducted in Rotterdam to address this challenge.
Gudrun Mosler-Törnström: “Coordination between various government levels is an important dimension in protecting citizens against violent extremism” [09/11/2016]
“There are multiple reasons that can contribute to individuals becoming radicalised: Lack of integration into society, political disengagement or exposure to extremist individuals, groups or organisations,” underlined Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, President of the Congress, at the opening of the Summit of Mayors for the Alliance of European Cities against violent extremism. “The local, cultural and social context affects the radicalization process which is reflected in the public authorities’ response. Among these, prevention and de-radicalization rather than repression are actions that coincide with the competences of local and regional authorities,” she added. “The coordination between various government levels is an important dimension in protecting citizens against these threats and creates synergies. Exchanging experiences and best practices among colleagues and seeing first-hand how to respond to this phenomenon, is often the most efficient way to push for change on the ground,” Congress President explained. ”I am pleased to observe the policies developed here in Rotterdam, under the leadership of its mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb who is strongly committed to this fight,' she concluded.
Interpretation: English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Turkish. Press: The Summit of Mayors and the three working sessions are open to the press. Accreditations: City of Rotterdam- Saskia Pessy - firstname.lastname@example.org Venue : Burgerzaal, City Hall of Rotterdam - Coolsingel 40 - 3011 AD Rotterdam Other practical information