The state of European terrorism

So Europol tells us the threat from terrorism on our doorstep has never been more serious. It's surprising that following the major efforts by the Spanish PM Zapatero to bring peace to the Basque region, ETA remains one of the most threatening.

ETA was responsible for the only terrorist mortalities in Europe in 2006, as well as destroying part of the Madrid Barajas T4 airport in the same attack.

I happened to be living in the Spanish capital when Madrid signed the ceasfire with ETA in March 2006. At the time there was suspicion about whether the Basques would keep their promises but a huge will for it to work. As the year went on and the number of attacks they carried out grew, it seemed that Zapatero was struggling to keep public opinion on his side. He hoped that the rhetoric of the landmark peace agreement would prevail and that each attack was merely an isolated incident. The public were more skeptical. The Barajas T4 attacks made Zapatero appear slightly naive to think ETA had packed in its bloody games so easily.

News From Spain reports that ETA only maintained the ceasefire for two months after they signed and since then it has regrouped into a much more dangerous fighting faction. Without doubt, it remains the greatest political challenge for future Spanish PMs.

The public will for peace remains, but the trust has long since evapourated.

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