Europol report: latest situational analysis on terrorism in the EU

Published by Europol today, the European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2022 (TE-SAT) provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date intelligence picture on terrorism in the European Union. 

Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said:

“The findings of the TE-SAT 2022 confirm that terrorism still poses a real and present danger to the EU. While our joint work to disrupt and prevent attacks seems to be having a positive effect, lone actors associated with jihadist and right-wing violent extremism are still a concern for EU Member States and Europol. In a time of geopolitical shifts, the EU needs to continue more than ever its counter-terrorist measures. Europol will continue to work closely with its partners to meet the challenges ahead.”

Key findings 

  • 15 completed, foiled and failed terrorist attacks were recorded in the EU in 2021. The four completed attacks included three jihadist terrorist attacks and one left-wing terrorist attack.
  • EU law enforcement authorities arrested 388 suspects for terrorism-related offences in 2021. Of these, more than two thirds (260) were carried out following investigations into jihadist terrorism offences in Austria, France and Spain. 
  • Court proceedings concluded in 2021 resulted in 423 convictions for terrorist offences.
  • Lone actors remain the primary perpetrators of terrorist and violent extremist attacks in Europe. However, attack plots involving several actors were also disrupted in 2021. Individuals carrying out attacks alone have been associated mainly with jihadist terrorism and right-wing terrorism and violent extremism. 
  • In 2021, weaponry was used in the completed terrorist attacks that is relatively easy to source and does not require extensive skills for assemblage or use. Weapons used in attacks in the EU in 2021 included bladed weapons, vehicles (in ramming attacks) and improvised incendiary devices. 
  • Terrorist propaganda disseminated online in 2021 has continued to reflect themes related to COVID-19. The increased amount of time spent online due to COVID-19 restrictions, amongst other reasons, constitutes a risk factor in vulnerable individuals’ potential pathway to extremism.
  • Violent anti-COVID-19 and anti-government extremism, which is not affiliated with traditional violent extremist and terrorist activities, emerged in some Member States and non-EU countries. Such forms of violent extremism materialised in open threats, hateful messages spread online and, in some cases, the use of violence.
  • Geopolitical developments in key regions outside of the EU influence terrorist narratives and propaganda spread in Member States.  The current terrorist threat for Member States appears not to have been directly affected by the Taliban’s takeover of power in Afghanistan. However, it increased global attention on religiously motivated insurgencies and, thereby, provided jihadists affiliated with both al-Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) terrorist group opportunities to promote their own narratives. 

The TE-SAT elaborates in-depth on the following types of terrorism: jihadist terrorism, right-wing terrorism, left-wing and anarchist terrorism, ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism and other types of terrorism.

To learn more, download the report.