In 2018, terrorism continued to constitute a major threat to security in EU Member States. Horrific attacks perpetrated by jihadists like those in Trèbes, Paris, Liège and Strasbourg killed a total of thirteen people and injured many more. In addition, one terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist in Italy and numerous arrests of suspected right-wing terrorists for attack-planning across the European Union (EU) indicate that extremists of diverging orientation increasingly consider violence as a justified means of confrontation. Terrorists not only aim to kill and maim but also to divide our societies and spread hatred. We need to remain vigilant if we are to protect our citizens and values in the face of attempts to use violence for political aims.
In Europe, the feeling of insecurity that terrorists try to create must be of the greatest concern to us because it has the potential to undermine the cohesion of our societies. Increasing polarisation and the rise of extremist views is a concern for EU Member States. The public debate about sensitive phenomena like terrorism, therefore, must be based on facts before reaching conclusions. I am proud to say that the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) has provided verified facts on terrorism in Europe since 2006. The report has been accepted as a benchmark in discussions about EU counterterrorism policies and academic studies. It is my privilege to hereby hand over the 2019 edition of the TE-SAT to the public.