For months, Europeans have been fearing another terrorist attack following the mass shootings and suicide bombings in Paris last November. Today, their worst fears came true when coordinated attacks using explosives were carried out in what’s considered the capital of the European Union. The Brussels Airport and the subway system were targeted, and scores of people are dead. ISIS has claimed responsibility, and their sympathizers taken to twitter to proclaim that “what will be coming is worse.”
What frightens the masses about terrorism is it randomness–it can happen at any moment to anyone who’s unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people who were slaughtered today were ordinary folks, butchered in the name of an extremist Islamic ideology that has little to do with the actual Muslim religion.
The targets where these despicable acts were carried out were anything but random, as the subway station that was bombed is immediately adjacent to the European Quarter, where the European Union is headquartered. Islamic terrorists detest the West, and the Brussels Bombings are yet another attack on Western Values.
Brussels is like the Washington D.C. of Europe, a union of 28 countries that’s currently encountering serious roadblocks in its quest to integrate its members and their citizens. The political and economic union is in danger of falling apart, because of serious policy disagreements.
One of the sticking points among member countries is the acute refugee crisis in Europe. There has been an unprecedented inflow of migrants from mostly Muslim countries–more than one million people made their way into the European Union in 2015. The flow of people into Western European countries, especially Germany, is not likely to stop in the near future.
The Eurozone’s economic stagnation, the refugee crisis, and the repeated terrorist attacks are diminishing confidence in the EU. Europeans are quickly growing tired of their government’s failure to face these problems head on. The rise of Euroscepticism and anti-immigrant rhetoric in many European nations should not surprise anyone.
In a political environment where the United Kingdom will be voting on exiting the EU in June (The “Brexit”), and establishment politicians like Angela Merkel of Germany are under pressure to reconsider their migrant policy, the Brussels Bombings may end up being the tipping point in European politics.
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.