In Europe, despite the decrease in the number of attacks in 2018, the risk of terrorism has not diminished. European countries continue to face the risks associated with religious terrorism.
Notwithstanding a strengthening of its anti-terrorist strategy, the United Kingdom has been the most targeted country with three attacks claimed by IS in under three months.
Nationalist movements are also gaining ground in Europe, where the list of countries that have elected representatives – or even brought to power – nationalist parties has lengthened in 2018. While the movements carry varying sensibilities (sovereigntist, Eurosceptic or even Europhobic), they all tend to share a firm opposition to globalisation, certain forms of European cooperation and what they consider to be anti-democratic drifts of pan-European institutions. As a result, there are strong social tensions and protest movements, with diverse modes of manifestation (Poland, Hungary etc)
Almost two and a half years on from the Brexit referendum, the EU has approved the withdrawal agreement with the UK. This agreement is the first concrete act of the Brexit. The staunch refusal by the British parliament to accept it however, increases the risk of a “hard Brexit” (exit of the UK from the EU without agreement). The economic and political consequences of this are still difficult to evaluate.
In France, the government faces deep social discontent that has been manifest for several months by the mobilisation of the “yellow vests” throughout the country. An unprecedented and growing crisis from which the government is struggling to find its way out.
In Ukraine, the situation remains tense, particularly in the east. After more than four years of conflict in Donbass, the crisis continues to escalate between Ukraine and Russia, with the waters of the Kerch Strait now part of the dispute. The confrontation in November 2018 between the Russian and Ukrainian navies brought the conflict to the forefront of the international community’s concerns. Petro Poroshenko, a candidate for re-election, has continued his policy of distrust of the Russians, thus complicating the possibility of finding a solution to the crisis.