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Brussels, 7th February 2005

Terrorist attacks and Tsunami: EU Research to prepare for the unexpected

The European Commission is planning a wide-ranging European Security Research Programme to help reinforce the security of European citizens. The Preparatory Action already under way includes a number of projects and others will emerge in response to the new call for proposals being launched today.

To initiate the ESRP, and as proposed in the Defence Equipment Policy Communication of March 2003, the Commission has launched a “Preparatory Action” in the field of Security Research[1]. This initiative is encouraged by the European Parliament[2] and the Council[3]. With a budget of 15 Mio € for 2004, 15 Mio € for 2005, and 25 Mio € expected for 2006, the Preparatory Action is a first step in addressing the need for Community action and preparing the basis for a fully-fledged ESRP from 2007. The 3-year long Preparatory Action supports mission-oriented projects and accompanying activities.

A first call for proposals PASR 2004 attracted more than 170 responses out of which only 12 proposals can be financed. These are the following:

  • Remote detection of hidden weapons and explosives (TERASEC): The proposal presents a credible technological solution to the problem of detecting hidden weapons and explosives (even at a distance) and biological and chemical weapons in parcels and envelopes during transport. The project also contains technology which will be valuable in non-defence applications, e.g. in product and quality control.
  • Integrating European chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear technological capabilities (IMPACT): The objectives of the proposed project are to lay the foundations for an integrated European CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) counter terrorism research and acquisition programme and to validate, assess and demonstrate innovative technological capabilities to assist in developing preventive and suppressive crisis management.
  • Crisis management system (CRIMSON): The proposal is mission oriented and will enhance the response capability and crisis management. It is multi-purpose and user-friendly, ensuring its wide use. Furthermore it will add significantly to European competitiveness in the topic area of simulation.
  • On-demand secure communication provision (SUPHICE): The proposed project will develop and demonstrate the use of on-demand, secure communications service-provision to deliver unplanned, policy based, reconfiguration of soft loaded cryptos.
  • Integration of earth & space observation to support security operations (ASTRO+): This proposal addresses the use of space and supports security operations by integrating earth observation, telecommunication and observation. Experiments are planned to prove the feasibility of the proposed technology. The proposed project is multidisciplinary addressing multi-stakeholder issues.
  • Surveillance of crowded areas exposed to terrorists attacks (ISCAPS): This proposed project has the objective to improve the surveillance of open and crowded areas. The activities cover research on threat scenarios and operational requirements.
  • Protection of critical infrastructure (VITA): The objective of the proposed project is to provide a proof of concept for the protection of Critical Infrastructure (CI). It proposes methods to create awareness and a sense of urgency for CI Protection within European communities. The proposed project will provide a functional demonstrator for a key infrastructure problem.

The selected supporting activities would provide roadmaps, networking and coordination activities, dissemination activities and requirements analyses.

  • Early warning system (CREW): The proposed supporting activity is to specify architecture for a crisis management early warning system.
  • General roadmap for security research (ESSTRT): The proposed study aims at benchmarking existing activities, analysing gaps and proposing solutions on the basis of detailed research, including proposals for new EU co-operation.
  • Crisis management in the nuclear area (TIARA): This proposed supporting activity will provide with a European network for assessing common R&D needs for the effective management of a potential civil nuclear incident.
  • Strategic plan for security technology research (SENTRE): This proposed supporting activity addresses capability shortfalls on the internal EU security needs; it addresses all relevant issues that refer to the need of a network of users at national and European level and to the need of the identification of technologies required. It is a top down roadmap approach.
  • Provision of geospatial data for improving situation awareness (GEODATA STUDY): The proposed supporting activity addresses the design of a GeoToolbox plus a roadmap in the EU for the development of the European capability for the provision of geospatial data (including meteorological data) considering supply agencies, industrial organisations and end-users.


Initiatives have been taken over the last years at European level to reinforce the security dimension of Community policies. Amongst these initiatives one can quote, at Council level, the endorsement by the December 2003 European Council of the European security strategy[4], the March 2004 Council declaration on “Combating Terrorism” and appointment of a coordinator at EU level[5], and the July 2004 creation of the European Defence Agency, EDA.

The upcoming European Security Research Programme, ESRP, will support EU policies, e.g. the Common Foreign and Security Policy, CFSP and the Justice, Freedom & Security policy (The Hague Programme) or other EC policies. The Community funding for the new programme is expected to significantly increase during the period 2007-2013.

Recent and current security research actions of the Commission

The Commission has for some times pleaded for a EU Defence equipment policy[6] enhancing the competitiveness of European industry and identified security research as contributing to this objective.

A Group of Personalities (GoP)[7] established in 2003 was tasked to propose key orientations, principles and priorities of a future European Security Research Programme (ESRP). They recommend:

  • The establishment of an European Security Research Programme, ESRP, from 2007 onwards, with significant funding , additional to any existing funding
  • The creation of a “European Security Research Advisory Board” (ESRAB) to define a long term vision and a strategic agenda for the ESRP,
  • The need for cooperation between European institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. industry, research, public authorities and other users).

In its Communication[8] “Security Research-The Next Steps” of 7 September 2004, the Commission subscribes to the main thrust of the report and proposes the way forward towards a fully fledged ESRP:

  • Consulting and cooperating with stakeholders, especially via the “European Security Research Advisory Board” to be established in early 2005.
  • Developing the ESRP, to become part of the FP7 programme, as indicated in the FP7 orientation Communication[9].
  • Ensuring an effective institutional setting, taking into account CFSP and ESDP and other relevant Community policies (e.g. fighting against terrorism including bio-terrorism, cross border control, transport, environment,...), and developing cooperation and synergies with the European Defence Agency EDA.
  • Establishing a governance structure responding to the specificity of security research work in terms of contract, participation rules and funding mechanisms.

The next steps towards the European Security research Programme ESRP

The main objectives for the Commission are now to capitalize on the positive momentum it has created by finalising the definition of the ESRP and consolidating its position with respect to other stakeholders. It will have in particular to:

  • Pursue the implementation of the 3-year Preparatory Action. The last 2 calls for proposals are to be issued in February 2005 and early 2006. This should contribute to the building of a security research constituency in Europe.
  • Establish, in February 2005, a “European Security Research Advisory Board” (ESRAB) to advise on the precise content and implementation of the ESRP. It should include high level experts from various stakeholders: public & private users, industry, and research organisations, with a good balance between the demand & supply sides of the security constituency.
  • Propose a programme, by mid 2005, on the content, multi-annual financial plan and institutional framework for a specific ESRP to become an integral part of FP7. Security research is included in the proposed Financial Perspectives of the Union for 2007-2013[10]. Discussions with Member States and stakeholders will take place to ensure an effective ESRP management in terms of contracts, participation and funding.
  • Establish a working relationship with the new European Defence Agency (EDA) created under the authority of the Secretary General/High Representative for the CSFP, in order to enhance cooperation, avoid duplication and develop synergies. The Commission is a member (without voting rights) of the Agency Steering Board

More information:

[1] See COM (2004) 72, adopted on 3 February 2004 and Commission Decision 2004/213/EC published in OJ L67 from 5.3.2004. This preparatory action is carried out in cooperation between DG RTD and DG INFSO.

[2] European Parliament Resolution 172 (April 2002)

[3] Presidency Conclusions-Brussels European Council , 20 & 21 March 2003

[4] ‘Declaration on Combating Terrorism, Brussels, 25 March 2004

A Secure Europe in a Better World’, presented to the European Council meeting in Thessaloniki on 19-20 June 2003 by High Representative Javier Solana, and endorsed by the European Council on 12th December 2003.

[5] Declaration on Combating Terrorism, Brussels, 25 March 2004

[6] Commission’s Communication (COM (2003)113) ‘Towards an EU Defence Equipment Policy’, 11 March 2003

[7] “Research for a Secure Europe”, Report of the Group of Personalities in the field of Security Research, ISBN 92-894-6611-1, Luxemburg Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2004

[8] “Security Research-The Next Steps” COM(2004) 590

[9] Commission Communication ‘Science and Technology, keys to the future of Europe: orientations for the research support strategy of the Union’.COM (2004) 353, 16 June 2004

[10] Commission Communication “Constructing our Common Future-Political Challenges and budgetary requirements in an enlarged Union, COM (2004) 101, 10.2.2004

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