Good progress is being achieved on a number of security initiatives, including the proposals to remove terrorist content online and to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard, but more efforts are needed from the European Parliament and the Council to deliver results on all pending security proposals ahead of the European Parliament elections in May 2019.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “We have already made enormous strides in our efforts to build a Security Union. We are now in the final mile of this legislature and we need to redouble our efforts to finish the job we started. Our citizens expect us to deliver a Europe that protects.”
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: "Following the decision by Member States on tackling terrorist content online, we're ready to pursue an agreement with the European Parliament. We are also looking to finalise an agreement with the Parliament in the coming days on modernising EU-wide law enforcement databases. And we're strengthening our collective efforts on tackling disinformation and other threats to the forthcoming European elections. Building the Security Union is a top priority."
In today's report, the Commission focuses on three main aspects crucial to complete a genuine and effective Security Union, including (1) completing legislative processes on priority security files; (2) enforcing new security laws across the EU; and (3) building resilience to evolving security threats.
- Delivering on security initiatives: There are a number of priority security files still awaiting adoption by the European Parliament and the Council. This includes the proposals to make the EU's security, migration and border management information systems interoperable, while the proposals to strengthen the European Border and Coast Guard, remove terrorist content off the web and improve cross-border access to electronic evidence – crucial for internal security – should be adopted as a priority.
- Enforcing new rules: New security laws are only as good as their implementation. With this in mind, the Commission calls on Member States to implement as a matter of priority the agreed rules on: passenger name records, countering terrorism, cybersecurity, access to weapons, money-laundering and data protection law enforcement.
- Building resilience: The EU has set out concrete measures to counter disinformation in Europe and beyond, calling on online platforms to deliver on their responsibility to ensure free and fair elections. Steps have also been taken to further protect public spaces, including preparation of guidance material for public space protection and barrier systems, and to research new security solutions.
In addition, the Commission continues to work with internet companies to fight terrorist content online in the context of the EU Internet Forum. The Commission has also made available an additional €5 million under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to counter radicalisation through community and youth engagement (more information here) and €12 million under the Civil Society Empowerment Programme launched via the EU Internet Forum to strengthen counter-terrorist narratives online.
Finally, European security at home is linked to our actions beyond EU borders. To this end, the Commission is continuing negotiations with Canada on a Passenger Name Records Agreement. The Commission will also propose, jointly and as soon as possible, mandates to start negotiations with the U.S. and with the Council of Europe on obtaining cross border electronic evidence. On data exchange agreements within the Europol framework, the first round of negotiations with Turkey took place on 30 November and first discussions are ongoing with Israel, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
Security has been a political priority since the beginning of the Juncker Commission's mandate – from President Juncker's Political Guidelines of July 2014 to the latest State of the Union Address on 12 September 2018.
On 14 December 2017, the presidents of the European Parliament, the rotating Presidency of the Council and the European Commission signed a Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2018-2019, which underlined the central importance of better protecting the security of citizens by placing it at the heart of the Union's legislative work. Priority was given to initiatives designed to ensure that Member States' authorities know who is crossing the common EU external border, to establishing interoperable EU information systems for security, border and migration management, and to reinforcing the instruments in the fight against terrorism and against money laundering.
The European Agenda on Security guides the Commission's work in this area, setting out the main actions to ensure an effective EU response to terrorism and security threats, including countering radicalisation, boosting cybersecurity, cutting terrorist financing as well as improving information exchange. Since the adoption of the Agenda, significant progress has been made in its implementation, paving the way towards an effective and genuine Security Union. This progress is reflected in the Commission's reports published on a regular basis.
For More Information
Factsheet: A Europe that protects
Communication: 17th Progress Report toward an effective and genuine Security Union