The foreign-fighter phenomenon in war-torn countries like Iraq and Syria has turned the European Union into an exporter of terrorism, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday.
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – The European diplomat stressed that it had been often EU citizens who “go off to wage violent jihad in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, and not the reverse.”
“The reality is that our continent exports more than imports terrorism,” Mogherini said in a keynote address at the European Union Institute for Security Studies’ (EUISS) annual conference.
Mogherini said the need to tackle the “seemingly innumerable” crises required a unified strategy instead of “turning inwards” and building walls.
“Walls are of little use when there is no fine line separating the inside from the outside,” she underscored, outlining key ideas in Europe’s anti-crises strategy.
The New York-based Soufan Group and the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence estimate that there may be as many as 5,000 Europeans fighting alongside extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.
Researchers further assume that most of the foreign fighters have joined the ranks of the Islamic State jihadist group, whose human rights atrocities have at least indirectly triggered Europe’s biggest refugee crisis in decades.
By Sputnik News