U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Counterterrorism
Released July 31, 2012
EUROPE AND EURASIA OVERVIEW
Although terrorist groups continued to plot attacks against European targets and interests, 2011 was marked by a smaller number of attacks than the previous year due in part to the efforts of European security services, close cooperation among European countries, and the sheer technical capabilities available to most partner countries. Nonetheless, the January 24 Domodedovo airport suicide bombing in Moscow that killed more than three dozen people, as well as the July 22 attacks in which Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian citizen, bombed government buildings in Oslo, killing eight, and then shot dead 69 people at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya, highlighted the continuing serious threat from terrorists.
A wide range of violent extremist ideologies remained a threat. During otherwise peaceful anti-austerity protests, anarchists in Greece continued to launch attacks against government offices, foreign missions, and symbols of the state, although the overall level of violence was at a lower level than in previous years. Long-active radical ethno-nationalist groups like the Kurdistan Workers Party (known as the PKK) in Turkey and dissident Republican groups in Northern Ireland continued their campaigns of violence.
Transatlantic cooperation on terrorism involving the sharing of intelligence and judicial information, capacity building in non-European countries, extradition of suspects, and efforts to counter violent extremism remained generally very good, although differing perspectives on issues like data privacy and long-term detention sometimes complicated these efforts. A number of European countries signed or ratified agreements with the United States on preventing and combating serious crime, and in December the European Union's (EU) Council of Ministers voted to approve a U.S.-EU Agreement on the exchange of passenger name records in the field of commercial aviation. The EU and a number of European countries served as founding members and played leading roles in the new Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Prosecutions of suspected terrorists continued apace, with significant trials and/or convictions of suspects taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Germany, and Greece, among other countries. Both the Netherlands and the UK released new and comprehensive national strategies laying out strategic frameworks for counterterrorism, and European countries ranging from Belgium to Italy continued to implement programs designed to counter violent extremism.