Europe's Extremists Try Recruiting from Police, Army: Europol

Date: 
September, 2019
Country: 
Germany
European Union
Austria
Belgium
United Kingdom (England)
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus
Croatia
Netherlands
Ireland
Spain
Sweden
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Hungary
Malta
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Greece

Europol, the European police agency, issued a “Strategic Report” earlier Tuesday, saying that right-wing violence is on the rise in many EU states. The confidential report, cited by German media, says that the extremist groups seek to boost their “combat skills” by recruiting military and police members. The report noted that extremist groups are getting “increasingly popular among younger and better educated demographics.”

EU police agency Europol warned of growing far-right violence and urged more international cooperation to tackle the problem, Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday, citing Europol’s confidential “Strategic Report.”

Public broadcasters WDR and NDR also say they have seen the document.

Far-right and extremist organizations and networks are getting “increasingly popular among younger and better educated demographics,” Süddeutsche Zeitung cited the document to say. The agency refers to international extremist movements such as Hammerskins, Soldiers of Odin, Combat 18, and Blood & Honor.

Blood & Honor is banned in Germany, and the German Interior Ministry said it would soon impose a ban on Combat 18.

Europol says that the extremist groups are showing interest in weapons and explosives.

“In order to build up their physical abilities and combat skills,” the report says, “members of extremist far-right groups are attempting to win over members from the military and security services in order to learn their expertise in the area of surveillance and combat readiness.”

The report notes that the extremists are also trying to take advantage of martial arts schools and events.

The European police agency notes that the number of arrests linked to far-right terrorism has grown from 12 in 2016 to 44 last year. Far-right extremists typically target refugees and asylum-seekers, but also, more generally, the Muslim population, leftist and pro-immigration politicians, and members of the LGBT community.

Many of these attacks are not being registered as terrorism: In many European countries the term “terrorism” usually refers to acts of violence instigated by foreign-born individuals. Other acts of politically motivated violence are defined as “extremist activities” (in Germany: “extremistische Aktivitäten gewertet,” or “evaluated extremist activities”).

“As a result, Europol currently does not have a comprehensive dataset on all far-right and terrorist incidents reported in EU member states,” the Europol report says.

DW notes that as is the case in the United States, lawmakers and security experts want to have politically motivated home-grown violence also defined and treated as terrorism. A meeting of EU interior and justice ministers has been scheduled for October to discuss the definition of far-right violence.

Source: Homeland Security Newswire