Acts of terrorism in 2013 caused the death of seven people in the European Union. This, along with the sustained number of Europeans taken hostage by groups or individuals linked to religiously inspired terrorism, demonstrates the continuing terrorist threat posed to the security of citizens and interests of the European Union.
"The threat from terrorism in Europe remains strong, manifesting itself in various forms and driven by diverse motives. There is a growing threat from EU citizens who, having travelled to conflict zones to engage in terrorist activities, return to the European Union with a willingness to commit acts of terrorism. This was especially evident in the case of Syria in 2013. This phenomenon adds a new dimension to the existing threat situation in the European Union, since it provides new groups within Member States with both terrorist intentions and capabilities, which may result in terrorist attacks with unexpected targets and timings," says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.
"Be it right or left-wing extremism, separatism or religiously motivated acts, we need to step up our work to respond to the threat of radicalisation. Radicalisation leading to violent terrorism is a gradual process and does not happen overnight. In times when populist movements and xenophobic winds are sweeping across Europe, it is more important than ever to keep this in mind." says Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
The main figures in the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2014 are:
- 7 people died as a result of terrorist attacks in the EU
- 152 terrorist attacks were carried out in EU Member States
- 535 individuals were arrested in the EU for terrorism-related offences
- Court proceedings for terrorism charges were concluded in relation to 313 individuals.
The terrorist threat in the EU remains acute and diverse. The largest proportion of terrorist attacks in the EU was related to separatist groups, although the number significantly decreased in 2013 compared to previous years. Most separatist incidents, however, were small-scale. The majority of EU Member States continue to consider religiously inspired terrorism as a major threat, as evidenced by the significant increase in the number of arrests. Two attacks and several disrupted plots in 2013 illustrate this threat.
Al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorist groups abroad continued to encourage self-organised attacks within the EU, aiming for indiscriminate casualties. With regard to left-wing and anarchist terrorism, the number of attacks and arrests increased compared to previous years. Right-wing extremists may exhibit violent and intimidating behaviour, but do not generally employ terrorist modi operandi. An exception to this rule in 2013 was a series of four attacks in the UK carried out by one individual. Tactics employed by terrorists of all affiliations differ in their levels of sophistication. New tactics continue to be observed in attempted, completed or foiled attacks.
The TE-SAT 2014 is the result of excellent collaboration between Europol and EU Member States. This public document, published annually, presents facts and figures on terrorism in the European Union for the benefit of law enforcement officials, policy makers and the general public, and also seeks to identify developing trends in terrorism.
The full version of the TE-SAT 2014 can be downloaded from the Europol website.