Athena Institute


Domestic Extremism in Europe - Threat Landscape

Completing the Institute’s Domestic Extremist Groups – Europe project, the extensive report explores and analyzes the domestic extremism aspect of the ever-changing modern-day threat environment in Europe.

This paper is an addendum to the Athena Institute’s ‘Domestic Extremist Groups – Europe’ project, an extensive study that mapped more than a hundred far-right and far-left extremist groups in thirteen European countries. It is also the next step in the Institute’s efforts, after our ‘Major Domestic Extremism Incidents – Europe 1990-2010’ study, to help key players in the field of security and human rights by exploring and analyzing the ever changing modern-day threat environment.

The paper also explores the strategic landscape, insofar as it describes the challenges that domestic extremism poses and the fundamental misconceptions that hinder the fight against it. The study debunks the idea that domestic extremism stems solely from the great recession by showing that almost 43 per cent of identified groups had already been active before 2008. It also argues that, even though domestic extremist groups may seem less than fierce at first glance, they pose a plethora of threats that are still mostly ignored or downplayed by key actors.

Such groups cause shocks in the mainstream political arena and in societies in general. They also distort the mainstream political process on their own as well as via their connections to newly emerged extremist parties that are gaining ever-bigger footholds on national and local parliaments and municipalities. They are also capable of blocking sound policies about immigration, criminality and minority rights by securitizing, reifying and redefining socioeconomic and other societal issues and turn them into security problems.

The study also examines the tactical theatre as it describes the threat environment, formed by extremist groups that constantly pose newer and newer challenges whilst continuously adapting to their metamorphosing surroundings.

The complete report is available on the Domestic Extremist Groups - Europe subpage.