The terrorist threat in the European Union in 2022

According to the latest TE-SAT report on the terrorism situation and trends in the European Union in 2023 by Europol, jihadist terrorism remains the main concern of EU member states.

This report is based on data provided by EU member states to Europol on terrorist attacks and arrests related to terrorism in the European Union.

Among the main conclusions of the document for the year 2022, it is worth highlighting the following:

• Terrorism remains a serious threat. In 2022, 28 completed, failed or thwarted attacks were recorded in the Union. Sixteen attacks were completed and four people tragically lost their lives, two as a result of jihadist attacks and two as a result of a terrorist attack from extreme right-wing sectors.

• EU Member States continue to consider jihadist terrorism as the most prominent threat to the EU. Of the 380 people arrested by Member States in 2022 for terrorism-related offences, 266 were carried out for jihadist-related offences.

• The lone actors remain a key threat. Most of the 2022 attacks were carried out by suspects acting alone. This can be seen across the spectrum, from jihadist to right and left-wing extremism.

Internet and technologies remained a key factor in the dissemination of extremist propaganda, as well as the radicalisation and recruitment of individuals vulnerable to terrorism and violent extremism. In addition to social networking platforms, messaging applications, online forums and video game platforms, it appears that decentralised platforms have gained popularity in terrorist and violent extremist circles.

• Other advanced technologies that have become increasingly visible include the manufacture and use of 3D printed weapons, especially in the far-right scene, and the use of virtual assets by terrorist groups, especially cryptocurrencies, to finance their terrorist activities.

• Although rooted in different ideologies and backgrounds, terrorists and violent extremists increasingly share common aspects, such as similar narratives about the same issues, the selection of similar targets for attacks and the use of tactical methods. Opposition to the establishment, conspiracy theories and opposition to technological advances seem to increasingly fill the space between ideologies, providing motivations for violent actions.

• The most visible reactions to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine emerged during the first months of the conflict, largely on the far-right scene, and materialised in online publications and a limited number of far-right affiliates travelling to join the battlefield. Although interest in the war in this environment appears to have gradually diminished during the remainder of 2022, conflict-related misinformation is likely to continue to fuel terrorist and extremist narratives.

The report is based on qualitative and quantitative data provided by member states on terrorist attacks, arrests and court decisions handed down for terrorist offences. Europol’s partners also provided qualitative information and valuable assessments that enrich the report’s conclusions, in order to reflect on developments beyond the EU that affect the security of Europe and its citizens.

As a complement to the report there is information on convictions and acquittals for terrorist offences, as well as on amendments to national legislation on terrorism provided by Eurojust and based on data shared by the Member States.

Member States’ definitions of terrorist offences according to national legislation are reflected in the quantitative analysis presented in the TE-SAT document.


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