This new edition of the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT), which Europol has produced on an annual basis since 2006, provides an overview of the failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks that took place in the EU during 2015, and of arrests, convictions and penalties issued, writes Roger Gomm.
The TE-SAT report is produced every year, providing details of failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks (123rf / Romolo Tavani)
It will be no surprise to CRJ readers that the Europol report finds the overall threat to the security of the European Union has increased over recent years and remains on an upward trajectory.
The main concern reported by EU Member States continues to be jihadist terrorism and the closely related phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters travelling to and from conflict zones. The attacks in Paris in January and November 2015 represented a clear shift in the intent and capability of jihadist terrorists to inflict mass casualties on urban populations, designed to induce a high state of well-publicised terror.
Other attacks committed by radicalised and violent jihadist individuals that occurred in the EU - such as the killing of two people in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the knife attack in Nice, France which wounded three soldiers – both in February 2015 – underscore the diversity of the threat. Most jihadist terrorist acts that took place in the EU in 2015 were performed in the name of Islamic State (IS). It is a highly challenging task for the security services and law enforcement authorities to prevent every planned terrorist attack by keeping track of the ever increasing numbers of people suspected of being, in one way or another, sympathetic to IS ideology, and to focus their attention for unspecified lengths of time on those who might be willing and able to perform violent acts.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda affiliates – and AQAP in particular – are still a factor to be considered and a reason for the EU to focus on a broader range of jihadist terrorist groups.
A key concern for the future is the suggested convergence of cyber and terrorism. It is believed that the technical capacity and forensic awareness of terrorist groups has increased. The report predicts that the terrorist will be able to launch more advanced, and therefore harder to detect or prevent, attacks. This is of particular concern when it comes to critical infrastructure.
The full report is available here
Roger Gomm is CRJ's Terrorism and Security Correspondent