Peace out: Europe became less peaceful this year - as the cost of war and violence hits $13.6 trillion

 
Emma Haslett
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Instability rose in Europe after attacks in Brussels and Paris (Source: Getty)

Europe has become a less peaceful place in 2016, new data has shown - with the cost of global violence hitting more than 13 per cent of global GDP.

The figures, from the Institute for Economics and Peace, found the economic impact of violence on the global economy was more than $13.6 trillion (£9.37 trillion), equivalent to 11 times the size of global foreign direct investment.

Over the last decade, the economic impact has hit $137 trillion - more than the entire global GDP in 2015. However, that figure was two per cent lower compared to last year's report.

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The UK (which one journalist dubbed the world's most corrupt country last week) was ranked 47th out of 163 countries, with the researchers suggesting the cost of containing violence could be hitting six per cent of GDP - about the same figure as Romania, Belarus, Nepal and Kazakhstan.

Europe remained the world's most peaceful region, although its average score dropped after attacks in Paris and Brussels helped to more than double the number of terrorism-related deaths in the region in the last five years.

Iceland was named the world's most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria. Not surprisingly, Syria was the least peaceful, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

There was some hope: although the situations in Yemen, Ukraine and Turkey had deteriorated; Panama, Thailand and Sri Lanka showed the most improvement.

The researchers also voiced concerns about Brazil, where political instability has increased 15 per cent in the run-up to the Olympic games.

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"The global deterioration in peace in 2015 was driven by increased terrorism and higher levels of political instability," said Steve Killelea, founder and chief executive of the IEP.

"While the majority of terrorist activity is highly concentrated in five countries - Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – the breadth of terrorism is spreading, with only 23 per cent of countries in the index not experiencing a terrorist incident.

"Europe, which was once again the most peaceful region in the world, saw its average score deteriorate in this year’s report in the wake of terrorism incidents in Paris and Brussels, with deaths from terrorism in Europe having more than doubled over the last five years."

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