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Terrorism in Europe - Statistics & Facts

In 2019, the number of terrorist attacks in the European Union fell to 119, the fewest number of attacks in years. As a consequence of this, the number of terrorist fatalities in Europe fell to ten in 2019, the lowest number of deaths due to terrorism since 2014, when there were just four. The United Kingdom had the highest number of terrorist attacks in Europe in 2019, at 64, compared with seven in France, and just three in Germany. To put this in a global context, the country with the most terrorist attacks, Afghanistan, suffered 1,294 attacks in 2018, followed by Syria which had 871. Overall, there were estimated to have been around 8.1 thousand terrorist attacks across the world resulting in over 32.8 thousand deaths in 2018.

Terrorism wave of the mid 2010s

In terms of fatalities, four of the ten worst terrorist attacks in Europe since 1980 took place between 2015 and 2017. The worst of these were the November Attacks in Paris in 2015, where gunmen directed by ISIS murdered 130 people at various sites throughout the French capital. This single attack had a higher death toll than the overall number of terrorist fatalities in the whole of Europe between 2010 and 2014. The Paris attacks were followed by various other atrocities in Europe that were inspired by ISIS, with the deadliest examples being Nice and Brussels in 2016, followed by the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. The attack in Nice in particular highlighted the danger of vehicle attacks to European societies, in that they required little planning, few resources and were often undertaken by a single attacker, or lone-wolf.

Counterterrorism in Europe

The main body responsible for combatting terrorism across Europe is Europol, which has seen both it's budget, and manpower increase significantly to meet the challenge poised by recent waves of terrorism. Europol's budget reached over 155 million Euros in 2020, and it's workforce of almost 1.3 thousand is almost double what it was ten years ago. Increasing counterterrorist efforts can also be seen in the number of arrests made for terrorist offences, which peaked in 2019 at over 1.3 thousand, more than double the number made in 2013. In 2019, convicted terrorists in Greece faced the longest prison sentence length in Europe at 20 years.

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Terrorism in Europe

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