After the Paris and Brussels Attacks: How can Europe Protect Its Open Society?


Only three months after the devastating terrorist attacks in Brussels, a strange silence has fallen over Europe. Terrorism has disappeared from the headlines; think tanks and politicians have found other subjects to focus on. Everything seems to be ‘back to normal’ – as long as we accept the ubiquity of heavily-armed soldiers as part of our new normality and close our eyes to the creeping restriction of our privacy.

But is it really over – have all necessary measures been taken to prevent new disasters? We all want it to be over, but deep in our hearts we know and fear that it’s not. In other parts of the world the vicious attacks on innocent people continue. Terror can return to Europe at any moment.

Many questions remain: How serious a threat is Jihadi terror to European countries? How can open democratic societies protect their citizens against substantial terror threats without losing their open and democratic character? How much freedom are we willing to give up for security? How much security are we willing to give up for freedom? What can be done to prevent Muslim and non-Muslim populations in Europe from drifting further apart? Is it still possible to defend an open, democratic and multi-cultural society or are we fighting a losing battle?

Product details
Date of Publication
July 2016
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication