UK tops new rankings following series of high-profile attacks in recent years
The UK has been officially ranked as the country in the European Union that is worst affected by terrorism.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) puts the UK in the top 30 of the world’s 168 nations, ahead of fellow EU nations including France, Germany, Belgium and Spain. The risk of terrorism is also higher in the UK than in Sri Lanka, Iran, Russia and Israel, according to the annual ranking by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
The Sydney-based think-tank gave each country a rating on a scale of zero to ten, according to the number of deaths and incidents tapered over five years – with 2018-19 accounting for 52% of the score, while the first of the five years accounts for just 7%. Afghanistan topped the global ranking, with a score of 9.603.
The UK’s position in 28th place, with a score of 5.405, is in large part due to four high-profile attacks in 2017, including the attack on London Bridge that result in 11 deaths, and the Manchester Arena attack, which claimed the lives of 22 people.
The IEP also cites the increased threat of the new IRA as a key contributor to Britain’s high ranking, as well as Islamic terrorism. In addition, the think-tank warns of a rise in right-wing terrorism and a growing threat from women radicalised by Islamic State (Isis).
France is the next most affected EU nation on the list, and 36th overall, following the 2015 Paris attacks that saw 130 people killed. Germany, which suffered a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016, follows France in the EU rankings.
Greece is fourth, with Belgium round off the EU top five. In 2018, a recently released prisoner stabbed two female police officers, took their guns and then shot and killed them and a civilian in Liege, Belgium. Isis later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Italy has risen six places in the global rankings to 63rd place since 2018, the highest increase of any EU country. The Daily Telegraph reported that the country was on high alert for Easter last year, with “thousands of troops and police deployed to boost security in [Rome]”.
Isis has repeatedly highlighted the Vatican as a potential target in its propaganda material, the newspaper noted.
On a positive note, the number of deaths from terrorism in Europe fell for the second successive year in 2018, from more than 200 in 2017 to 62 in 2018.
The UK also recently reduced its terror threat level for the first time in two years, from severe to substantial. However, an attack is still considered to be “likely”.
The ten EU countries worst affected by terrorism
1. United Kingdom (ranked 28 overall) – 5.405
2. France (36) – 5.008
3. Germany (44) – 4.254
4. Greece (45) – 4.167
5. Belgium (53) – 3.636
6. Sweden (56) – 3.45
7. Spain (59) – 3.354
8. Italy (63) – 3.109
9. Ireland (69) – 2.692
10. Netherlands (77) – 2.347