Recent events have placed security at the forefront of political concerns in Europe and throughout the world. Political, social and technological changes have created a fluid security environment, where the risks and vulnerabilities are more diverse and less visible. The new threats which have appeared ignore state borders and target European interests both within and outside the territory of the European Union (EU). The recent terrorist attacks in Europe underline the need to improve security for people throughout Europe. Technology plays a key role in addressing the new security challenges in this field.
Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Security Research: The Next Steps [COM(2004) 590 final - not published in the Official Journal].
A coherent security research programme at EU level can add significant value to the optimal use of a highly competent industry. Such research should be targeted at the development of interoperable systems, products and services useful for the protection of European citizens, territory and critical infrastructures as well as for peacekeeping activities.
The high-level Group of Personalities set up to advise on a long-term strategy for security research in the EU has given rise to a report which contains the following recommendations:
- the establishment of a European Security Research Programme (ESRP), focusing in particular on issues of internal security from 2007 onwards, with funding of at least EUR 1 billion per year. This programme should aim to boost the competitiveness of the European security industries and stimulate the development of the (public and private) market for security products and systems;
- the creation of a European Security Research Advisory Board to define strategic lines of action. The Board should consist of high-level experts representing public and private customers, the industry, research organizations and any other relevant stakeholders;
- the need for cooperation between European institutions as well as all other stakeholders involved.
THE NEXT STEPS
This Communication sets out the next steps to be taken in terms of security research, namely:
Developing a European security research programme under the EU's 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2010)
The Commission will initiate an inter-institutional debate for consensus on the ESRP building on the work of the Preparatory Action on security research, which will continue until the end of 2006. This programme should complement both Community programmes and security and defence research activities conducted at national or intergovernmental level.
Consultation and cooperation with stakeholders
The Commission will establish a European Security Research Advisory Board to advise on the content of the ESRP and its implementation. The Commission will ensure the ESRP is coordinated effectively with international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and NATO, and with European organisations such as the European Space Agency (ESA).
Creating an effective institutional framework
The Commission will ensure that the requirements of the European Security Strategy, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) are fully taken into account in the development of security research. At the same time it will develop cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA) and other important Commission policies relating to internal security will be fully taken into account when developing security research.
Awarding contracts and funding relating to security research
The Commission must put in place effective and flexible mechanisms governing contracts, participation and funding, for example to allow co-funding of new technologies by public authorities so as to ensure a high degree of synergy.