Athena Institute


One year after Norwegian twin attacks 117 high-risk extremist groups identified in Europe

One year after the Norwegian twin attacks claiming 77 lives, the Athena Institute identified 117 high-risk domestic extremist groups in 13 European countries. The Institute is now publishing the findings of a major effort involving dozens of experts from all over Europe: the Domestic Extremist Groups - Europe Map provides detailed, verified information via an interactive interface on all organizations while data visualizations help grasp the broader European picture.

Evidence makes clear that in a broader sense, Breivik was certainly not a ‘lone wolf’ as more than a hundred organizations follow similarly extreme political ideologies than the Norwegian mass murderer. Many organizations among them are estimated to have more than several hundred active members while dozens of groups are supposed to have several thousands of participants.

Data published as part of the Domestic Extremist Groups - Europe project shows that both far-right and far-left extremists are heavily engaged in attacking European democracies while in mapped countries, high-risk groups are more probable to be driven by different extreme right ideologies.

Contrary to some still widespread perceptions, Athena Institute findings highlight that the problem is not confined to ‘new member states’ (Eastern-Europe) as the majority of active high-risk groups have been identified in the original 15 members of the European Union. Organized extremists are engaged in hostile propaganda, intimidation or actual killing of European citizens more heavily in Western- and Southern-European countries.

Another key finding shows that that while the financial and subsequent economic crises may further fueled extremism, but the economic downturn is certainly not the main cause of the phenomenon as more than two thirds of active extremist groups were formed prior to 2008.

The above initial reflections will be followed up by a thorough analysis of the data published today. Until, the Athena Institute would like to thank all those participated in this effort for their excellent work that made this endeavor possible.