Brussels, 20 June 2014
Europe's future security challenges
The growing trend of Europeans fighting abroad in groups affiliated with terrorism, the diversification of international organised crime, and the increased risk of large-scale cyber-attacks. These are some of the greatest challenges ahead for the EU in the security field, as identified by the European Commission in a report today. Solutions proposed include better police training across borders and deepened cooperation around investigations. The report also points out that more partnerships must be formed with civil society, industry and the research community, in order to achieve results in the fields of cybercrime and violent extremism.
The report released today assesses the progress made under each key area of the EU Internal Security Strategy (ISS) since 2010 and identifies possible ways to step up the EU's response to common threats such as organised crime, trafficking in human beings, terrorism, cybercrime and corruption.
Ahead of the adoption next year of a renewed Internal Security Strategy, the Commission will consult the Member States and the European Parliament, along with the private sector, civil society and the research sector – including through a High-Level Meeting to take place in the autumn this year.
"Important efforts to strengthen our security have been made in the past few years. But as this report shows, security threats keep evolving and changing. Therefore, we need to work harder. This report indicates what actions need to be taken in the coming years", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Future challenges and way forward
Priorities for future work, as outlined in the report, should be the implementation of legislation and consolidation of the past years' achievements, as well as enhanced practical cooperation.
To continue building a Europe that protects, the emerging threats and evolving challenges – related to the growing ranks of cybercriminals, the worrying trend of radicalisation and violent extremism, and to environmental crime and energy fraud, to mention just a few - need to be addressed in a renewed strategy.
In addition to responding to those risks, there is a need to strengthen:
ISS achievement highlights
During recent years the EU has developed legislative and operational measures to better protect European societies and economies, as outlined in today's report.
Closer law enforcement and judicial cooperation – including in the fight against serious and organized crime – has yielded significant operational results in cross border investigations, for instance through Joint Investigation Teams (JITs). Capabilities have been reinforced, including through increased training and improved information exchange tools such as the SIS II (IP/13/309 and MEMO/13/309). The European Cybercrime Center (EC3) was set up a year ago and has for example contributed in catching criminal gangs stealing payment-card information as well as the arrest of hundreds of online pedophiles (IP/14/129).
New EU-legislation and strategic initiatives were put forward, for example, to better help victims of trafficking in human beings (IP/12/619 and MEMO/12/455), to crack down on crime profits (IP/12/235 and MEMO/12/179), to address money laundering (IP/13/87), to prevent and respond to cyber disruptions and attacks (IP/13/94) and fight cyber-crime (MEMO/13/659), to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners travelling to the EU (IP/13/162 and MEMO/13/141), etc.
More preventive tools were also introduced. The Radicalisation Awareness Network has empowered local practitioners to address the spread of radicalized individuals and recruitment, including by tackling the pressing phenomenon of foreign fighters (IP/13/59). A Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online has been up and running since 2012, with currently 53 countries dedicated to improve victim identification, to prosecute perpetrators more successfully, to increase awareness and to reduce the number of child sexual abuse images available online (IP/12/1308).
The 2010-2014 strategy, which comes to an end, set out a shared agenda for Member States, the European Parliament and EU agencies to address key challenges for the security of the EU1: serious organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, border security, and the management of natural and man-made disasters.
Taking account of the Communication on the future agenda for Home Affairs ("An open and Secure Europe: Making it Happen" - IP/14/234) and of the European Council guidelines to be adopted in June, the Commission will present in early 2015 a Communication on a renewed strategy for 2015-2020.
To gather the views of all interested actors the Commission will organise a high level conference (on 29 September) with representatives from Member States, the European Parliament, private sector, civil society and academia. A public consultation will also be launched in June.
Final implementation report of the EU Internal Security Strategy (2010-2014)
Cecilia Malmström's website
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DG Home Affairs website
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The five strategic objectives are (1) the disruption of international criminal networks, (2) the prevention of terrorism and addressing radicalisation and recruitment, (3) raising levels of security for citizens and businesses in cyberspace, (4) strengthening security through border management and (5) increasing Europe's resilience to crises and disasters.