• France's news in English
France unveils new €40m plan to fight radicalization
Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the press conference. Photo: Eric Feferburg/AFP

France unveils new €40m plan to fight radicalization

The Local/AFP · 9 May 2016, 12:53

Published: 09 May 2016 12:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The fight against jihadism is without doubt the big challenge since World War Two," Manuel Valls said, flanked by the interior and justice ministers.

The Prime Minister said the "phenomenon of radicalization had widely penetrated into society" and that it was so dangerous because it had the potential to grow.

"It has deeply damaged the Republican pact," he added.

One of his new measures is to create a de-radicalization centre in each region of the country to prevent those identified as being vulnerable to falling into the hands of jihadist groups.

Valls said at least half of the new de-radicalisation centres will take people at the request of the judicial authorities. They will be individuals "who cannot be put in prison".

Around 1,600 young people in France are in state-run de-radicalisation programmes. The new scheme aims to bring that number up to 3,600 within two years.

An official report from earlier this year found that around 8,250 people are believed to have been converted to extremist Islam in France - twice as many as the year before.

Around 70 percent of the suspected Islamist radicals were male and 80 percent of the cases were deemed to be "serious".

The government believes 1,500 of France's 66,000-strong prison population have been radicalised.

Valls said last month that hardline Salafist groups were "winning the ideological and cultural battle" among Muslims in France.

Valls said the first de-radicalization centre could be set up by this summer, and within two years there should be ten centres across the country.

The location of the first of the deradicalization centres in France, in Beaumont-en-Véron in the Indre et Loire département of central France, has prompted opposition from angry and frightened locals who feared that they may be the next target of a terror attack. 
"Yesterday it was Paris, tomorrow perhaps it could be us. Obviously we are scared," said one resident of the area
Some of these de-radicalization centres will also accept people who have voluntarily returned from Syria or Turkey, Le Figaro reported, but these people would be subject to strict surveillance.

The full plan, which will cost an additional €40 million ($45.5 million) by 2018 on top of the current funding, aims to double existing resources spent on trying to help people already in jihadist networks or those likely to join such groups.

Valls said they hoped to target the "weak-willed" who could be persuaded to leave France to join Isis.

A "green number" set up in 2014 which members of the public can can call to make authorities aware of someone who has been potentially radicalized has proved to be a success and will be bolstered by the Prime Minister.

A new "scientific council" will also be set up to carry out research in to the topic of radicalization and will have access to university grants.

The entire plan consists of 80 measures, including ramping up security at sensitive sites, the mobilization of ground troops as well as better support for the victims of terrorism.

Those who carry out terrorist acts will also receive harsher sentences under the new plan, with prison sentences increased from 22 to 30 years, as is the case already for serious crimes including murder, rape and torture of children.

Story continues below…

Under the new anti-terror plans, applicants for security-sensitive jobs -- in airports, for example -- will face extra vetting to weed out anyone with extremist sympathies.

The vetting "will be extended to the staff who are preparing major events", Valls said, just over a month before the Euro 2016 football championships begin in France.

In January this year, France announced it was rolling out more "de-radicalization" prison wings, where prisoners who have been convicted of terrorism will be in isolated cells and will be unable to communicate with anyone who they could potentially influence.

The new measures are a response to the deaths of 147 people in jihadist attacks in France last year.

Jihadist gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish supermarket in January 2015, killing 17 people, and then 130 people were killed in coordinated attacks on the capital claimed by the Islamic State group last November.

Both sets of attacks were carried out mainly by French citizens who had become radicalized and fought abroad alongside jihadist groups.



The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available