Attacks down, terrorism still a threat to the EU

THE HAGUE: Attacks are down but terrorism remains a threat to the European Union due to the war in Ukraine and a rise in propaganda during the pandemic, Europol said on Wednesday.

The total number of successful, foiled and failed attacks was 15 in 2021, significantly less than 57 the previous year, Europol said in its annual report. This is due to a noticeable drop in the number of attacks from the left, the Hague-based agency said.

But the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic pose a security threat for years to come, the document adds. “The findings of the report confirm that terrorism remains a real and present danger to the EU,” Europol chief Catherine De Bolle said in a statement.

“At a time of geopolitical turmoil, the EU must more than ever maintain its counter-terrorism measures,” she added. “There is no doubt that geopolitical changes and the fallout from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will have a lasting impact on EU security,” she said in the report.

The war has already attracted several radicalized individuals from member states who have joined the fight on both sides, she said. She said the conflict is likely to trigger violent extremist reactions and brewing, especially on the internet. De Bolle said European nations must learn from the lessons of the past when foreign fighters returned from battlefields in the Middle East.

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