Europol: European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2022

i-aml Europol European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2022

Terrorism remains a key threat to the EU’s internal security. 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 leftwing terrorist attack Two of the three completed jihadist attacks in France and Spain caused a total of two deaths. The 2021 total of completed, foiled and failed attacks is considerably lower than in the previous year (57), due to a significant decrease in the number of attacks reported as left-wing Terrorism.

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. The number of arrests for terrorism decreased slightly in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Court proceedings concluded in 2021 resulted in 423 convictions for terrorist offences.

The conviction rate for terrorism remained high. All right-wing and left-wing prosecutions resulted in convictions, while for jihadist and separatist charges the conviction rate was 84 % and 82 % respectively.

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. This does not necessarily mean that these individuals act in complete isolation. Online community building often plays a key role, as it connects peers virtually on a global scale. This drives radicalisation and provides access to terrorist propaganda, instructional material and opportunities for procurement of weapons and explosives precursors.


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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 (IIDs). Disrupted plots showed the intent and efforts to produce improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

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 The combination of social isolation and more time spent online during the pandemic has exacerbated the risks posed by violent extremist propaganda and terrorist content online,

particularly among younger people and minors. Gaming platforms and services are increasingly used by right-wing terrorists to channel terrorist propaganda targeting a younger generation of users. Pandemic-linked restrictions also have the potential to exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues potentially prompting violent acts that resemble terrorist or violent extremist Attacks.

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. Targets included politicians, government representatives, police, health authorities involved in the management of the crisis, or personnel from test and vaccination centres.

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.


July 22, 2022 Published by Europol. Download Report PDF

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