The European Union lost €180 billion (USD $210 billion) in GDP due to terrorism between 2004 and 2016. The United Kingdom (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest losses, followed by Spain (€40.8 billion) and Germany (€19.2 billion), according to a Rand Corporation study.
"Beyond those who have been directly physically affected by terrorist attacks, the extensive coverage of terrorist attacks through multiple media and social media channels has substantially increased the amount of people and companies that could be psychologically affected. This subsequently affects their economic behaviour".
New statistics have also come from the Britain's anti-terrorism office. 441 people have been arrested in the UK for terrorism in the last year alone, and 4,182 since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The threat of terrorism is exhausting Europe.
According to the Spanish "black book" of terrorism, 658 Europeans have been murdered in terror attacks on European soil, while 1,029 Europeans have been killed by them abroad. Half of the French army has been deployed within the French Republic to protect the civilian targets, such as schools, monuments, and religious sites. Europe's armies are exhausted from patrolling the streets, to the point that NATO planners now fear that, over time, European armies "may get better at guarding railway stations and airports than fighting wars". An officer who recently returned from Afghanistan for guard duty in Belgium said: "We are standing around like flowers pots, just waiting to be smashed". Germany also sent troops into the streets for the first time since the Second World War.
A soldier stands guard in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)
One has to ask: Is Europe really serious about its war on terror? The French magazine Causeur just called it "the Batman Syndrome":
"How can we respect a society that is too cowardly to fight those who threaten its citizens, and that demonstrates its weakness by systematically seeking appeasement at the price of the most unreasonable accommodations? It is the 'Batman syndrome': the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on."
France is now close to freeing at least 50 terrorists from prison. The UK is also due to free 80 Islamic fundamentalists from prison. According to a new French report, nearly 10% of the 512 prisoners incarcerated for terrorism are likely to be released by the end of 2018. Their release may well pose a major threat. Khamzat Azimov, a terrorist who stabbed a man to death and injured four other people with a knife in central Paris, was known to counter-terrorism forces. Belgium released from prison a terrorist who had gone on a "bloody rampage" in the city of Liege two days before he killed two policewomen and a passerby.
Unless it gets serious about arresting not only the terrorists but also their deadly ideology, Europe will not see the end of the jihadist siege. A few days after the attacks in Liege, France thwarted another jihadist plot "with either explosives or ricin, this very powerful poison". After that, there was another terror attempt to strike the French gay community.
"France is the priority target of the terrorism unleashed in Europe by conquering Islam" wrote Ivan Rioufol in Le Figaro.
"Since 2015, 247 people have been killed in France in attacks by Islamists. The 'knife intifada' is no longer reserved just for Israel. In Magnanville, a couple of policemen, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and Jessica Schneider, were stabbed in front of their three-year-old child. Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered in his church. In Marseille, Laura and Maurane had their throats slashed. These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace".
The level of threat in France remains alarmingly high. "9,157 people were subjected to at least one surveillance measure by the intelligence services in 2017 in the name of the prevention of terrorism", an official French report recently revealed. In 2017, 20 major terror attacks in France were foiled.
Regarding the West's current "war on terror," American historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote:
"The result is the present age of serial Punic conflict, perhaps intolerable to the psyche, but in amoral terms tolerable as long as casualties are kept to a minimum and defeat is redefined as acceptable strategic wisdom. In the past, such periods of enervating war have gone on for a century and more. Ultimately, they too end — and with consequences."
In the end, there might be still a region called "Europe", but it may no longer enfold European culture.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.