The HOMEAFFAIRS Briefing is a regular specialised digest of the wider discussion on internal security policy.


Let’s Finally Move on to the External Dimension of Migration

  • The ill-fated reform of the Dublin system is held hostage by conflicting national interests of EU Member States.
  • Italy wants to reduce the number of asylum seekers on its territory and Germany is pushing for redistribution as an alternative to carrying the burden. However, other Member States are not keen on getting involved in an enterprise that promises many challenges and few incentives.
  • As a result of these fundamental disagreements, consensus on the mandatory redistribution mechanism cannot, and will not, be reached.
  • Instead, focus should be shifted to solutions which are actually viable. This includes measures in African countries to ensure that actual refugees do not have to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of safety and migrants with no right of asylum are prevented from illegally arriving in the EU.
  • Such a policy is not likely to go down well with African countries. However, given the strategic importance of preventing another migration crisis, EU Member States must use the tools at their disposal to encourage African countries to cooperate.

Every two weeks, our team crafts internal security policy recommendations that incorporate handpicked publications from respected research organisations and experts in Europe and elsewhere. This time, we look at the practice of hisba in Europe, the question of ‘hot deportations’ and the ongoing struggle of social media to combat misinformation.

Law Enforcement Authorities Must Stop Islamic Extremists From Imposing Their Norms

  • The Al-Mesbar Research and Studies Centre syndicated a report by Lorenzo Vidino about Islamic extremist groups coercing fellow Muslims to abide by the tenets of the sharia, through a practice known as hisba.
  • Examples of coercive enforcement of sharia norms may be found in multiple Western European countries, including in the form of intimidation and physical attacks. Sometimes, religiously motivated acts of hisba are disguised as „community policing“.
  • In imposing their fringe norms, Islamic extremists deprive European Muslims of their religious freedoms and in some cases compromise their physical security. They also provide fertile ground for the populist claim that Muslims refuse to integrate into the mainstream European society.
  • Law enforcement authorities in Western Europe should thoroughly familiarize themselves with the problem and subsequently tackle it on two fronts: first, by building stronger incentives for European Muslims to report cases of hisba, and second by correctly identifying cases and punishing the perpetrators where they cross the law. Leaving Islamic extremists to impose their version of Islam over society is not an option.

FES: ‘Hot Deportations’ May Serve as a Model for Deterring Illegal Immigration

  • The German Friedrich Ebert Foundation (close to the Social Democratic Party) considers whether the Spain-Morocco cooperation to prevent illegal migration may have an exemplifying function for first-entrance countries in Europe.
  • To combat increased migration inflows, Spain engages in close collaboration with Morocco regarding border control.
  • One aspect of the joint border defence involves the concept of ‘hot deportations’, wherein migrants who manage to illegally cross the fence to the Spanish enclaves Ceuta or Melilla are swiftly returned to Morocco.
  • The measure creates a strong disincentive to cross the border illegally in the first place.
  • It should be considered whether it can be applied in the case of other first-entrance countries across the South-European coast line. Local contexts must be taken into account and there is an ongoing need to guarantee human rights of migrants, but ‘hot deportations’ may just be the short- to medium-term solution the EU is looking for.

Twitter Must Recalibrate its Feed to Discourage Disinformation and Extremism

  • In light of the reverberating discussion on how the social media platforms fail to effectively tackle the spread of extremist messages, the Brookings Institute focused on one of the key players in this field – Twitter.
  • Drawing from the aftermath of the recent vehicle ramming attack in Toronto, the piece shows how much faster a misinforming tweet can spread over the platform, compared to one based on correct information.
  • In order to curtail the dissemination of dangerous misinformation, disinformation and extremist content, policymakers should pressure Twitter to readjust its deep learning algorithm, which is being used to prioritize a more “relevant” content with greater prior engagement.
  • The platform should introduce a feature for users to report false information and task its team to remove blatant misinformation from trending searches.
  • At the same time, at times of crisis, official police or government accounts which provide real-time, accurate information about the developing situation should be promoted to minimise confusion and misinformation spreading like wildfire.