20 Most Dangerous Countries in Europe


In this article, we will be taking a look at the 20 most dangerous countries in Europe. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most dangerous countries in Europe.

Europe has long been considered to be one of the safest and most advanced regions in the world, but that’s not to say there aren’t any dangerous countries in Europe. But before we discuss the most dangerous countries in Europe, let’s first talk about Europe’s progress in the last several decades.

After World War II ended almost 80 years ago, a large part of Europe had to be rebuilt from scratch with the impact of the war being felt for decades later. However, centuries of riches earned by colonizing various areas of the world, including in Africa and Asia, was able to contribute in the rebuild, not to mention the European Recovery Program launched by the U.S. which resulted in the U.S. giving $15 billion to finance Europe’s rebuilding.

20 most dangerous countries in Europe

20 most dangerous countries in Europe

Nowadays, safety is considered to be a given in most European countries, and tradition, culture and laws play a major role in this. Even though the U.S. may be the most advanced country in the world, there is less inequality in Europe due to taxation laws which ensure that resources are relatively more evenly spread, which is why many European nations have a very small percentage of their population living in poverty. Similarly, European laws have an overwhelming focus on human rights, with universal healthcare being common across most European countries and especially in countries which make up the European Union and the European Economic Area. This has led to significant improvements being made across the board including for example, road safety, and according to the European Commission, Europe is by far the safest region in the world in terms of road safety and the target is to end deaths or serious injuries due to driving.

Further, European nations have generally enjoyed good relationships with neighbors in the past several decades. In fact, being part of the European Union allows European countries to enjoy free trade with no restrictions, and even no restrictions on movements between countries for citizens. This is also why, unlike in most regions in the world, there haven’t been as many wars or terrorism in Europe as in other regions in recent decades, even for some of the most dangerous countries in Europe. In the last few decades, the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War were some of the biggest conflicts in the region both of which took place in the 1990s. This safety and security has also made Europe an incredibly attractive investment destination, considering the fact that security and stability reduces the risk of investment, though returns may be low due to low, stable economic growth. Additionally, Europe is also home to the most number of countries in our list of the most visited countries in the world, as people prefer to visit countries with varying cultures and traditions, scenic beauty and historic sites maintained exquisitely, all combined with the attractiveness of safety, and tourism is an important contributor to the European economy.

Safety and a higher standard of living are also feature which attract people to consider relocating to Europe. Many of the biggest companies in the world have a strong presence in Europe, as higher income levels and higher standards of living allow for a thriving consumer market, though there are plenty of regulations that companies have to comply with. For example, occupational health and safety is given extreme important in Europe, and has been directly linked to improved business performance, as the cost of work-related injuries and illnesses can be really high. Similarly, low crime rates in Europe make it an attractive destination for businesses, something that even the most dangerous countries in Europe can claim considering homicide rates in such countries are still much lower than in most countries across the world. Surprisingly, Sweden, considered to be one of the safest countries not just in Europe but the world, is also on its way to becoming the gun murder capital of Europe, with many blaming an increase in violent crimes in Western countries due to accepting a higher number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, with accusations that many immigrants do not assimilate and stay on the fringes of society, leading to higher radicalism and increased crimes. This is having an adverse impact on businesses in the country, according to the head of a leading business group in the country.

The level of safety afforded by Europe also has a direct positive impact on tourism. While minor crimes such as scams may exist, especially in European capitals, major violent crimes are less likely which is why tourists are more likely to visit such countries. Of course, Europe’s preservation of its history, natural beauty and cultures makes it a top tourist destination, which is why there are several European countries in the most visited countries in the world. With really high demand for tourism, hospitality companies are likely to operate in such countries as well, which is why some of the biggest hotel chains in the world maintain a heavy presence including Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HLT), Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:WH) and Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAR). Because of the revival of tourism in Europe and the U.S., most hospitality companies including the aforementioned corporations have seen their share price increase and with no signs of tourism demand abating, may turn out to be good investment options.

While there have been clashes and unrest, mainly in Eastern European countries, Europe was still relatively peaceful till February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine and kicked off a war which is still ongoing well over a year later and hence, it is not surprising that the war has resulted in both Russia and Ukraine being counted among the most dangerous countries in Europe. The Russia-Ukraine war has had a major negative impact on Europe, especially in terms of an energy crisis, which is one of the biggest global risks for 2023, despite dissipating to some extent as winter ended. The war has also resulted in millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to various European countries, though most have stayed in neighboring Poland, which has seen one of the highest inflation rates in Europe, with the war definitely being a contributor. In fact, many companies in Europe have engaged in severe cost-cutting to maintain their margins as costs have increased as a result of inflation and the energy crisis.

Methodology

To determine the most dangerous countries in Europe, we used multiple sources, including the World Peace Index Rankings (in reverse order) and the World Terrorism Index rankings for Europe. We also used the average from 2010 – 2021 of each country’s homicide rate in our rankings, which we obtained from the World Bank. The first two criteria were assigned 40% weightage and the latter was assigned 20% weightage. For our purposes, even though there is some debate, we have considered both Turkey and Russia to be European countries. It is important to remember that most of these countries are still not among the most dangerous countries in the world in 2023 with only 3 European countries among the top 30.

20. Estonia

World Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

World Peace Index Ranking: 110

Homicide rate ranking: 139

Estonia has the 7th worst homicide rate in Europe, but the rate has continued to decline steadily in the past 2 decades, and similar improvements could see Estonia drop out of our list in the coming years.

19. Sweden

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 64

Global Peace Index Ranking: 104

Homicide rate ranking: 207

We mentioned earlier that Sweden has faced an increase in crime with its liberal migrant policies being blamed for this, but it still has a really low homicide rate. It is also one of seven countries in the world to face at least a single instance of ideological terrorism in 2022.

18. Latvia

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 110

Homicide rate ranking: 135

While crime has continued to decline in Latvia, more effort will be needed to ensure the country is no longer counted among the most dangerous countries in Europe. It was called the crime capital of Europe in 2008 but things have improved significantly since.

17. Norway

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 49

Global Peace Index Ranking: 110

Homicide rate ranking: 226

Norway recorded its first acts of terrorism since 2019 after an Islamist terrorist killed two civilians. However, it can be safely said that Norway is still one of the safest countries in the world and ranks among the best countries when considering peace rankings and homicide rates.

16. Cyprus

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 74

Global Peace Index Ranking: 92

Homicide rate ranking: 201

While considered to be incredibly safe in terms of homicides even for European standards, Cyprus hosts a number of refugees and displaced people, while not being directly involved in any major conflicts.

15. Slovakia

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 58

Global Peace Index Ranking: 92

Homicide rate ranking: 208

Slovakia is one of four European countries where its ranking deteriorated in the Global Terrorism Index after recording its first terror attack in a decade in 2022.

14. France

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 34

Global Peace Index Ranking: 120

Homicide rate ranking: 196

A terrorist organization, not as well-known as ISIS or Taliban, Jamaat Nusrat Al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) was formed in 2017 and has declared France as an enemy, which is why it ranks high in the Global Terrorism Index. It is one of three Western Europe countries with the highest levels of separatist terrorism.

13. Lithuania

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 86

Global Peace Index Ranking: 110

Homicide rate ranking: 110

Lithuania actually has the third highest homicide rate in Europe, which is the prime reason behind it being considered among the most dangerous countries in Europe, since it scores really well on both the Global Peace Index and the Global Terrorism Index.

12. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 58

Homicide rate ranking: 190

Bosnia and Herzegovina came through the Bosnian War to develop significantly and is generally considered to be a generally safe place to visit and there is little terror threat in the nation.

11. Armenia

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 74

Homicide rate ranking: 157

Armenia faced one of the worst genocides in history, one which is still rarely acknowledged by many countries. According to the U.S. travel advisory, the country’s border with Azerbaijan is still dangerous while movement to the Nagorno0-Karabakh region is also discouraged because of recent hostilities.

10. Serbia

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 56

Homicide rate ranking: 186

Organized crime has resulted in a higher level of violence in Serbia, though it is still considered generally safe to visit. The 1999 Kosovo conflict has left some danger from unexploded ordnance and mines.

9. Azerbaijan

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 59

Homicide rate ranking: 169

Many European countries have absolutely no impact from terrorism, unless sometimes external forces attack as seen in Paris attacks in 2015 or the Brussel bombings in 2016, which is why many of them have a score of 0 in the Global Terrorism Index. However, a higher homicide rate gives Azerbaijan a more dangerous outlook as compared to most other countries in the region.

8. Georgia

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 66

Homicide rate ranking: 152

Georgia has been home to threats by separatist movements which have been backed by Russia, which have contributed to making it one of the most dangerous countries in Europe.

7. Kosovo

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 90

Global Peace Index Ranking: 66

Homicide rate ranking: 146

Kosovo only declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is home to landmines and unexploded shells from the Kosovo War. Further, some forms of organized crime exist in Kosovo which is why it has the 10th highest homicide rate in Europe.

6. Belarus

Global Terrorism Index Ranking: 93

Global Peace Index Ranking: 36

Homicide rate ranking: 141

The deterioration of militarization in Belarus has made it among the most dangerous countries in Europe, while its support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine has seen it face sanctions by most Western countries.

Click to continue reading and see 5 Most Dangerous Countries in Europe.

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Disclosure: None. 20 most dangerous countries in Europe is originally published on Insider Monkey.



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