EU and Balkan countries launch anti-radicals campaign

 The European Union and Balkan countries launched a campaign on Friday aimed at stemming the flow of fighters from southeastern Europe to join radicals in the Middle East.

EU and Balkan countries launch anti-radicals campaign

World Bulletin / News Desk

Interior and foreign ministers from across the Balkans pledged at a conference hosted by Austria to work with western European officials to crack down on what they called a growing threat.

"The numbers are increasing every day," European Commissioner for home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos told a news conference.

He declined to specify particular "hotspots" for radicals in the Balkans. He said they were "almost everywhere and nowhere, because if we were in a position to answer your question we would have already cracked down".

There is growing concern over the influence that turmoil in the Middle East may have in places like Bosnia andKosovo, largely Muslim states blighted by unemployment, poverty and corruption since wars in the 1990s.

Steps promoted at the Vienna meeting included communicating basic rights more effectively, working with companies like Facebook and Google to remove extremist material from the Web, and involving Balkan states more closely with an EU-wide reporting point for such material.

Other proposals included joint training for border guards and more effective sharing of resources from Europol and a new counter-terrorism network set up last year.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the problem went beyond the Balkans, adding that during his six years as interior minister it was well known that Vienna and Salzburg in Austria were centres for radicals.

This week a 16-year-old Austrian turned himself in to authorities after arriving home wounded from a stint with ISIL fighters in Syria. Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner thanked Turkish authorities for helping bring him home.

Last Mod: 20 Mart 2015, 16:46
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