The Council of the EU has approved the conclusions of an Item Note from the General Secretariat of the Council which sets out how COVID-19 has influenced developments in the terror threat from extremist groups.
Key points include:
- The Council of the European Union finds that the terrorist threat to the Member States, although it remains high, has not so far increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some terrorist activities have moved more online and increased radicalisation can already be perceived amongst some groups.
- The protracted pandemic may increase member states’ vulnerabilities and the risks of radicalisation. The online presence of extremist groups is on the rise since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to COVID-19, counter-terrorism authorities have had to increasingly rely on online capabilities rendering/making their work more difficult.
- The Council assesses that, in the medium to long term, the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may have a negative impact on terrorist and violent extremist threats, contributing to the growth of breeding grounds for radicalisation on various ideological spectrums.
- Some (violent) far-left, far-right and Islamist extremist groups have already incorporated COVID-19 into their narratives, and this might pose security challenges in the medium and long term.
Read the Item Note (PDF)