Modern European security: theory and practice

In the second article on European security, the issues inspired by the media-summit in Brussels, some theory and practice in modern approaches to security both in the EU institutions and the member states are discussed. Besides, present Commission agenda on security union shows its role in the member states increased attention to security and defense.

Security protection issues are becoming a hot-spot agenda in the member states’ external and internal policies; no wonder that E. Macron came to power in France recently with the slogan: “Europe that protects”, the notion that included both state and individual security and protection. No doubt that security and defence issues go hand in hand: the combination is clearly reflected in national defenses’ budgets, alongside other “special security” items in health and other personal “securities” as in-house, traveling, etc. Some of this type of “security” is included into the global concept of happiness.

The European Union has officially indulged into a new “security sub-union” in July 2016 after appointment of a new Commissioner with the security issues in his duties. Since then, security have been high in the EU’s agenda; e.g. in the beginning of December 2018 a special media summit was arranged to attract public attention to the European and member states’ activities.

See: European security: an urgent issue for the EU and the Baltics (part I). In:

Approaching security
The creation of numerous “special-sectoral” sub-unions has been the general guideline in the European governance during present J-C. Junker Commission’s term: including energy and banking “unions”, as well as that of digital and innovation. The security union seems to be one of the last in the list of sectoral unions in this Commission although presently most vital.

The European road to security union has been quite long and dramatic: after “nine-eleven” attack in the US in 2001 and the consequent “war on terror”, security issues occupied one of the central roles in separate states and internationally; for example, in the US a special National Security Agency was established followed by other administrative steps in that direction.

New EU’s “security king” (by chance, the new Commissioner’s name is Julian King, so in the Brussels’ headquarters some used to say that “security is a king”) started to cement his position in the Union’s architecture by establishing the main agenda in the new sub-union, which turned  to be politically and financially quite complicated.

Firstly, the agenda has to be as far from purely defence as possible, not to clash with the Commission’s vise-president for the foreign affairs and security policy (F. Mogherini), in which there are internal conflicts as well, as all defence issues are within the member states’ competence.

Secondly, it has to be as far as possible away from the EU’s “army issues’, with which several EU powerful states were not happy about; not less because most of the EU states are actually the NATO’s members with 2% financial obligations in their budgets.

There were some other things in the “security king’s” agenda, but Mr. J. King has been partly concentrating on some “non-military” security and “enveloping” the agenda into civil society’s security, dealing generally with modern digitalisation achievements and the 4th industrial revolution’s outcomes. These ideas have materialized in the Commission communications to the member states on “security deliveries” during 2016-18.

Presently, one of the main spheres in the “kung’s agenda” –somehow in line with the EU states’ priorities, has become science, innovation and research within various aspects of peoples’ security. It seems that without a common approach to security with numerous reservations and specifics, such an approach is the only feasible one.

Present “move” to security research in the security union could kill two birds with one stone: help to specify important and pertinent to numerous states security issues, and show some practical implications through financing various projects. Some of them could be seen at the SRE-18 exhibition in Brussels; and the Commission also published “success stories” in research funded by the EU.

See more in:

The research spheres are really numerous and varied: hence it is quite natural that projects’ implementation is guided by the DG on migration and home affairs; the latter is understandable too as these activities are either within shared or supplementing/coordinating competences between the EU institutions and the member states. However, some argue that these issues could be easily and more efficiently put under the Commission’s research and innovation DGs.

In addition, some explanations concerning EU’s security modern priorities are necessary too with cybersecurity as a new threat.

Commission’s agenda in the security union
European Commission focuses on several issues crucial to complete a genuine and effective Security Union, including legal issues and implementation in security, building resilience to evolving security threats, etc. There are a number of priority security files waiting adoption by the European Parliament and the Council including effects of migration on the EU’s security, border management information systems, removing terrorist content off the web and improve cross-border access to electronic evidence.

Enforcing rules on security is important as well: the Commission calls on the states to implement already agreed rules on passenger name records, countering terrorism, cybersecurity, access to weapons, money-laundering and data protection law enforcement.

Building resilience in security is another important EU’s priority: the member states shall adopt concrete measures to counter disinformation, making online platforms responsible for combating fake news. In this regard, the EU’s priority is to combat terrorism online; the Commission made available an additional €5 million under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to counter radicalization through community and youth engagement and €12 million under the Civil Society Empowerment Programme launched via the EU Internet Forum to strengthen counter-terrorist narratives online.

The EU security priorities are stretching to actions beyond EU borders: Commission continues negotiations with Canada on a Passenger Name Records Agreement and proposes the same actions with the US and the Council of Europe on obtaining cross border electronic evidence, as well as data exchange agreements within the Europol framework with Turkey, Israel, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.

More in Commission’s report on 11.xii.2018: /

Cybersecurity: uniting technology and defense
The three main EU’s legislative institutions (the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission) have reached a political agreement (10.xii.2018) on the Cybersecurity Act which reinforces the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (the European Agency for Network and Information and Security, ENISA) in order to support the EU states in efforts to combat cybersecurity threats and attacks. The Act also establishes an EU framework for cybersecurity certification, boosting the cybersecurity of online services and consumer devices.

On cybersecurity issues:

The Cybersecurity Act is part of the Cybersecurity package adopted in September 2017 and is one of the priorities of the EU Digital Single Market strategy. Hence, the Commission proposed in September 2018 a European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Centre and a network of Cybersecurity Competence Centers, ECCC to better target and coordinate available funding for cybersecurity cooperation, research and innovation. The ECCC’s aim is to manage the EU cybersecurity-related financial issues (with the support from the member states and industry) to boost the EU’s cybersecurity and increase European defense systems.

On internet and digital technologies see:

The EU’s Cybersecurity Act includes:

A permanent mandate for the EU Cybersecurity Agency, ENISA, to replace its limited mandate that would have expired in 2020, as well as more resources allocated to the agency to enable it to fulfill its goals, and
a stronger basis for ENISA in the new cybersecurity certification framework to assist the states in effectively responding to cyber-attacks with a greater role in cooperation and coordination at the European level.
In addition, ENISA will help increase cybersecurity capabilities at EU level and support capacity building and preparedness. Finally, ENISA will be an independent centre of expertise that will help promote high level of awareness of citizens and businesses but also assist EU Institutions and the states in policy development and implementation.

It seems that separating security and defense is definitely not a good idea…

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *