Recently published by Europol, the European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2022 (TE-SAT) provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date intelligence study on terrorism in the European Union.
The Europol TE-SAT 2022 report is based on quantitative data provided to Europol by EU Member States on terrorist attacks, arrests and court rulings issued for terrorist offences. Europol’s partners also provided qualitative information and valuable insights that enrich the report’s conclusions.
The findings of TE-SAT 2022 confirm that terrorism still represents a real and present danger to the European Union:
In 2021, 15 completed, foiled, or failed terrorist attacks were recorded in the European Union. The four completed attacks included three jihadist terrorist attacks and one far-left 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 terrorism offences.
Lone actors continue to be the main perpetrators of terrorist and violent extremist attacks in Europe. However, planned attacks involving several actors were also interrupted during 2021. Individuals who carry out attacks alone have been associated primarily with jihadist terrorism, right-wing terrorism, and violent extremism.
In 2021, terrorists used weapons that are relatively easy to obtain and do not require high skills for assembly or use. Weapons used in attacks in the EU in 2021 included bladed weapons, vehicles (in impact attacks), and improvised incendiary devices.
Furthermore, the terrorist propaganda spread online in 2021 continued to reflect COVID-19 related topics. Increased time spent online due to pandemic restrictions, among other reasons, is a risk factor in vulnerable individuals’ potential route to extremism.
Violent anti-COVID-19 and anti-government extremism, which is not affiliated with traditional terrorist and violent extremist activities, emerged in some Member States and non-EU countries. These manifestations of violent extremism took the form of open threats, hate messages spread on the web and, in some cases, the use of violence.
Geopolitical developments in key regions outside the EU influence terrorist narratives and propaganda spread in Member States. The current terrorist threat to Member States appears not to have been directly affected by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. However, it increased global attention to religiously motivated insurgencies and thus provided jihadists affiliated with both Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) terrorist group with opportunities to promote their arguments.
TE-SAT delves into the following types of terrorism: jihadist terrorism, right-wing terrorism, left-wing and anarchist terrorism, ethnonationalist and separatist terrorism, and other types of terrorism.