Ethno-nationalist and separatist groups are motivated by nationalism, ethnicity and religion. There are four different types of ethno-nationalist and separatist groups that pose a threat to Europe’s political system.
1. Dissident Republican groups: Dissident republican groups pose an immediate threat to Europe’s political system. There are three main groups in Northern Ireland: the Continuity IRA
(CIRA), the new IRA and Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH). These groups have the capacity to cause immense destruction, with weapons like under-vehicle IEDs and explosives.
In 2016 alone, there were at least 76 attempted attacks, four of which were successful. In May of 2016, the United Kingdom government upgraded the threat from this group from moderate to substantial. The threat of this group remains high and will affect Europe regardless if some groups lose power.
2. PKK (Kongra Gel)/KCK: This ethno nationalist group targets Turkish institutions. France
reported that there were five IED attacks against Turkish institutions in 2016. Germany also
reported that there were significant amount of demonstrations for and against the PKK. In this
region, the PKK also damaged Turkish institutions. Areas like Italy, Switzerland, and Romania
have also described the growing influence of this party.
3. Euskadi ta askatasuna (ETA): Even after the ceasefire on October 11, 2011, this group still has influence over northern Spain and southwestern France. In 2016, five separatist terrorist actions were reported, and this group happened to have some affiliation. France and other countries continue to be a place where the ETA hides its weapon caches.