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Member of the European Commission responsible for Home Affairs
Internal Security Strategy in Action
Press conference on Internal Security Strategy
Brussels, 22 November 2010
Internal security within the EU has traditionally been following a silo mentality, focusing on one area at a time. The Internal Security Strategy in Action that the Commission has adopted today moves away from that. It represents a shift in EU internal security policy towards an integrated approach better suited to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
We have identified five areas where we need to act and be ready to take on the challenges ahead: organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, border management, and crisis management. The strategy that was adopted today outlines 41 ambitious actions to be implemented within the next four years. They will increase the security of our citizens, businesses, and societies in Europe.
Let me briefly outline what we want to do.
Car theft, drug dealing, gang-related violence, and pick-pocketing are everyday phenomena for the man and woman on the street, but these seemingly petty crimes can very often be traced back to international organised crime groups who make big money on people's vulnerability.
We need to go after the money and keep our economy clean. We need to enable law enforcement authorities to find and seize criminal and terrorist assets no matter where they are hidden, and to make sure that criminal assets are not reinvested in our economy through money laundering or corruption. A series of proposals to make this a reality are planned for next year. We also plan to present a proposal on the use of EU Passenger Name Records.
Last year, Europol reported a total of almost 300 attempted and finalised terrorist acts in EU Member States. And terrorism keeps becoming more sophisticated and taking new forms. One recent example is the printer cartridge that was turned into a bomb and sent via air cargo from Yemen to Europe. At the same time, reports show that individuals who feel alienated from mainstream society run the risk of turning to violent extremism. We must address this challenge.
We are planning for proposals on EU transport security policy, and we want to establish an EU radicalisation-awareness network with measures to support civil society to expose, translate and challenge violent extremist propaganda. And next year, we are planning for an EU TFTP.
Cybercrime and cyber security
We must adapt to the digital reality and take on the challenge of cybercrime. Today, you don't need a bomb to attack a nuclear power plant. You don't need a gun to rob people. The Internet gives criminals and terrorists new opportunities to attack critical infrastructure and steal money from our bank accounts. It is our job to make sure they don't succeed.
We plan to establish an EU cybercrime centre, and establish a network of Computer Emergency Response Teams in all Member States as well as in the EU institutions in order to better respond to future cyber attacks.
The Schengen cooperation is one of the greatest achievements of EU cooperation, but at the same time it puts pressure on our external borders.
I want border guards, police, and customs officials to cooperate much more effectively at the real hotspots of the EU external borders in order to better fight human trafficking, trafficking in illegal and dangerous goods, and other criminal activity.
Next year we are planning to establish a European external border surveillance system, and we want to have joint reports on human trafficking, human smuggling and smuggling of illicit goods so that we can have a better basis for joint operations.
Crises and disasters
We also witness a rise in frequency and scale of disasters caused by force of nature or human error. The volcanic eruption in Iceland, the floods in Madeira, and the leak of toxic sludge in Hungary are examples of this.
To be able to meet future crises and disasters, we need to build a European crisis management system. We will make full use of the solidarity clause in the Lisbon Treaty by developing threat and risk assessments, putting in place arrangements to produce joint situation reports in crises, and develop a European Emergency Response Capacity.
No Member State is able to respond to these threats and challenges on its own. For too long, Europe's response has tended to be dispersed along sectoral lines – natural disasters, health, finance, organised crime, terrorism, and so on. With the strategy we adopted today, we end the silo mentality. We adapt our responses to the challenges ahead.
These are our suggestions. But for this to work in practice, all actors need to act because solidarity is a two-way street. There is no room for free-riders in EU security policy.
The Commission will monitor and evaluate progress and produce an annual report with recommendations for further action where needed.
Just like citizens and businesses, the Commission takes EU internal security very seriously. We have consulted, we have listened, and now we want to take action. This strategy is an important step forward, and I encourage the Council to swiftly endorse this so that we can take the next step and carry out the proposed actions in the years to come.