About the Series
2020 marked the conclusion of another difficult decade for Europe in terms of terrorism and radicalisation that has continued into the next decade. Attacks in France, Germany and Austria in particular showed the dynamic nature of the threat faced from numerous different ideologies, as well as ingrained societal tensions which appear to be feeding different parts of the threat. In order to understand how this threat is going to set the picture for the foreseeable future, This is the last in this ICPVTR series that sought to explore different aspects of the evolving threat picture in Europe. From the extreme right, single-issue extremists, to more traditional violent Islamists or the ever-present residual extreme-left, the series explored what the European threat picture looks like, how it might evolve in the future and its salience for regional dynamics elsewhere.
In the final webinar in this series, ICPVTR is delighted to host Dr Laurence Bindner and Dr Marc Hecker to discuss the current threat picture in France. As two highly established experts and government advisers who work on a range of terrorism issues, they are able to cover the range of threats that France currently finds itself facing. From an attack picture that is made up of mostly lone actor threats, France has seen a growing volume and ambition from its extreme right, as well as a constant left-wing threat that has resulted in violent street protests. Yet, it is France’s place at the heart of Europe that makes its terrorist threat picture so significant to the entire continent. The murder of school teacher Samuel Paty in October 2020 sparked off a chain of incidents in Europe, and awakened once again the difficult discourse about integration and extremist ideas. Paris was, of course, the sight of one of ISIS’ most dramatic foreign attacks in 2015, and the current trial against some of the suspects is revealing the scope and scale of the community around the cell. France has also been amongst the most forward of European countries in going after threats abroad, with the concurrent problem that this attracts negative attention from groups. Finally, the extreme right wing threat has increased in its virulence in France, with growing numbers of individuals being arrested as part of ambitious plans to overthrow the government. This discussion provide a stocktake of the threat picture in France, and understand how these threats might be evolving.
Dr Laurence Bindner is the co-founder of JOS Project, a platform of extremist and terrorist propaganda analysis. Laurence’s research focus on the dissemination of terrorist and extremist groups’ propaganda as well as their rhetoric. She is a member of the UNCTED Global Research Network, a GNet (Global Network on Extremism and Technology) associate fellow. She was an auditor at the IHEDN (Institute for Higher National Defense Studies) in Defence Policy. Her articles have been published by IFRI (French Institute of International Relations), ICCT (International Center for Counter-Terrorism – the Hague), and Bellingcat.
Dr Marc Hecker is Director of Research and Communications at the French Institute of International Relations (Ifri). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Politique étrangère, and a research fellow at the Security Studies Center. He holds a PhD in political science from University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and taught for several years at Sciences Po. In 2019, Marc Hecker was appointed to assess the French deradicalization program. His evaluation report was published in February 2021 and is available on Ifri’s website. He recently co-authored a book titled La Guerre de vingt ans. Djihadisme et contre-terrorisme au XXIe siècle which is not only a history but also a strategic assessment of the global war on terror. This book was awarded several prizes in France.