Deeply wounded by terrorism

Brussels in the spring, Nice on the French national day, Berlin shortly before Christmas, and Turkey repeatedly: in 2016 bloody attacks shook many people in Europe leaving feelings of sorrow, powerlessness and fear in their wake. How has terrorism changed the continent and why are politicians and society apparently able to do so little to counter it?

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Contributors (RO) /

Democracies more vulnerable than ever

Writing on the blog portal Contributors Valentin Naumescu fears that Europe will not be able to cope with any more attacks:

“Given the current political climate on the continent, filled with tension and frustration, any new terrorist attack could potentially become a 'Molotov cocktail' that would destroy the stability of European democracies, which has already taken a battering from mistrust in politics and the institutions of the EU. ... People are calling for action and solutions, but they are taking their time to come. The leaders of the European states don't appear to have any at hand. The opposition, especially the extremists, by contrast, have a whole sack full of 'solutions'. … As 2016 wanes, a miserable year for the EU is drawing to an end, and we are anxiously looking forward to 2017 as the year that could mark the culmination of the structural crisis in the West and the point when the huge challenges that have already undermined the basis of trust in the liberal order could deliver the European idea the decisive blow.”

Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

The law-based state watches helplessly

A democracy that is not able to defend itself adequately is contributing to the continuing success of terrorists, the Salzburger Nachrichten believes:

“The terrorists are using the tools of the state based on the rule of law to destroy that state, and the state apparatus stands by watching helplessly as potential terrorists continue to pursue their dangerous activities. This is, incidentally, the same state that ruthlessly pounces on law-abiding citizens or small businesses if it catches them engaging in the slightest breach of the regulations, even an unintentional one. ... The terrorist attack in Berlin, like every terrorist attack, was not just aiming to murder as many innocent people as possible. It was directed, like every terrorist attack, at the political system: in our case against democracy. It has become apparent - not for the first time and probably not for the last either - that democracy is not capable of defending itself sufficiently against those planning to destroy it. That is not a very comforting diagnosis. ”

Új Szó (Slowakei) (SK) /

The terrorist threat is here to stay

Új Szo is pessimistic about the future and believes Europe will be plagued by terrorism for a long time to come:

“There will always be terrorists. Terrorist attacks will be carried out even after the countless asylum seekers in Europe have been integrated. Think of the Islamist radicals who are French, German or Belgian citizens, or of the European mercenaries of the terrorist IS who are returning home from Syria and Iraq. A few hundred warriors willing and capable of anything is enough to keep hundreds of millions of Europeans in a state of panic and fear for years to come. And the Islamic State will never be completely destroyed. Europe will be able to influence events in the Middle East only if it can intervene in the region to the same extent that Russia and above all the US have done, but it is still light years away from that.”