Sunday

5th Dec 2021

Internal EU report: Far-right terrorist attacks rise

  • Attacks by far-right terrorists is increasing in some EU states. (Photo: Medien AG // Anarchistische Gruppe Freiburg)

Right-wing terror threats and their online hate ideology is rising in some EU states, according to an internal EU document.

"Activities from right-wing violent extremists are on the rise," notes the 4 May document, addressed to national delegations, and seen by EUobserver.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The 12-page paper drafted by the EU presidency under Croatia provides a broad overview of terror threats emanating from returning foreign terrorist fighters, right-wing terrorists and - to a much lower extent - the far-left.

Broadly speaking, the overall terror threat in the EU remains elevated and unchanged, it says.

But the document still singles out right-wing extremists while highlighting fears Islamic militants may leave the camps in Northern Syria and mount attacks elsewhere.

"Lone actor attacks are predominant both in Islamist terrorism and in right-wing violent extremism," it says.

As for what it describes as left-wing extremism, the threat "is considered stable and low."

The document follows a slew of recent attacks by white nationalists against refugees and migrants in the Greek islands. Earlier this year, a far-right gunman shot dead nine Kurdish people in the German town of Hanau.

It also comes amid what the United Nation's chief described late last week as a "tsunami of hate and xenophobia" unleashed by the pandemic caused by Covid-19.

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson recently issued her own warnings.

"Let's hope that these terrorists have not been inspired by the virus to use even more, the biological weapons," she told MEPs.

Target algorithms

The document aims to shape policy responses partly based on input from the EU's police agency Europol and IntCen, the EU's intelligence-sharing bureau.

Those inputs were made prior to the coronavirus outbreak - meaning the threat risks linked to the pandemic have yet to be fully understood.

Meanwhile, the document has put forward a number of policy recommendations amid suggestions social media giants tweak their algorithms.

"The impact of algorithms and their contribution to polarisation in society and violent radicalisation leading to violent extremism and terrorism, including the spread of right-wing violent extremist ideology also needs to be addressed," it states.

It also demands that the special internet unit inside the EU's police agency, Europol, starts flagging violent right-wing extremist content online.

For its part, the European Commission has circulated a questionnaire to the EU states mapping out how they tackle right-wing extremism.

Those responses will then feed into an overview to be presented to the EU Council before the end of the year.

The commission also wants to shore up anti-terror rules by expanding the protection of critical infrastructures.

Insight

How big is Germany's far-right problem?

The Hanau shooting was a national wake-up call to the scale of far-right extremism in Germany, from violent individuals to political hate speech.

Opinion

New Dutch terror bill must not target aid workers

A controversial counterterrorism bill could end up criminalising aid workers in the Netherlands if they enter conflict hotspots when assisting the world's most vulnerable people.

EU rules to take terror content down in an hour agreed

A partial agreement has been reached to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content online, pushing companies like Facebook or YouTube to remove or disable access to this material within one hour.

EU condemns 'despicable' shooting in Vienna

Leaders in Europe condemned the terror attack in Vienna, with Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz calling it "not a conflict between Christians and Muslims or between Austrians and migrants... [but] a fight between civilisation and barbarism."

News in Brief

  1. Covid: Belgium might close schools and cultural activities
  2. EU consumers can sue Facebook, judge advised
  3. French centre-right tilts toward Pécresse
  4. EU urged to blacklist Israeli spyware firm
  5. Austria's ex-chancellor Kurz quits politics
  6. EU agency: Omicron to be over half of infections 'within months'
  7. New German restrictions target the unvaccinated
  8. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Belgium tightens Covid rules as health system 'is cracking'
  2. EU and US tighten screw on Lukashenko
  3. Belgian impasse leaves asylum seekers on snowy streets
  4. EU 'missed chance' to set fossil-fuel subsidies deadline
  5. EU energy ministers clash amid gas price uncertainty
  6. ECJ told to dismiss Poland and Hungary rule-of-law challenge
  7. Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong
  8. Quick Take: Enrico Letta

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us