EU PROTECTS > Our Safety

Our Safety

Today’s world can be a dangerous place. Proper protection against hackers, terrorists, fraudsters and thieves requires dedication, cooperation and a lot of hard work. It’s a fight we can’t win alone. 

Thanks to the EU, police and customs officers from different countries can share information and work together across borders to better tackle these issues. Read the stories of the ordinary heroes who, supported by the EU, have helped to bring down gangs, foil terrorist plots and keep our borders secure to make Europe a safer place to live.  

European arrest warrant

In 2016, the European Arrest Warrant was used to resolve around 5,812 cross-border criminal cases.

To catch a criminal: How the EU helped Germany and Bulgaria bring a murderer to justice

In a criminal investigation, it is essential to act quickly. In Europe, special systems and networks enable police and security authorities from different countries to make fast decisions that stop criminals from slipping through the cracks. This is the story of how Germany and Bulgaria used EU-wide systems to catch and extradite a dangerous fugitive in under 2 weeks.

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Fighting euro counterfeiters

“It’s a relief to know that businesses like mine aren’t alone in the fight against counterfeiters.”

Florian Spietz

Out of print: How the EU is putting an end to counterfeit currency

It’s a game of cat-and-mouse: as soon as new security features are added to euro banknotes or coins, criminals try to copy them. The EU is helping national authorities stay ahead of the game. In 2014, Romanian and Italian police were closing in on a network of money forgers. Sharing information across borders disrupted a criminal operation, preventing millions of fake euros from entering the European market and damaging ordinary businesses.

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Ransomware

“All of a sudden, I couldn’t access my documents, pictures or music. I was locked out of all my computer files!”

Sebastian Nicolau

Cracking the code: How the EU protects our computers from cybercriminals

Spam, unwanted software downloads, viruses – cybercriminals do not even have to be in the same place as their victims to inflict long-lasting damage. Learn about the EU agency that helped Romanian and Dutch police catch up with a network of cybercriminals. Coupled with an anti-ransomware website, the EU is sending a strong warning to criminals who try to hijack our computers in exchange for money.

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Cybercrime

“If any other parents find themselves in this situation, they should contact their national Safer Internet Centre immediately.”

Carmen

Safe surfing: How the EU protects us online

Learn, play, shop, chat, browse, share, like or love: the internet is at the centre of modern life. But there are also dangers lurking online: bullies, trolls, scammers, groomers and hackers all pose a threat to uninformed users. This is why the EU has developed a protective network offering help and advice on how to become a smarter surfer, whatever your age.

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Search and Rescue

“It was a day that started well and ended badly. But without the satellite technology and the rescue crews, it could have been much, much worse.”

José Dias

Finding the needle in a haystack: How the EU uses satellites to save lives

In emergencies, the speed and accuracy of the EU’s Global Satellite Navigation System can save precious time. When a Belgian yacht was sinking off the coast of Portugal, teams in Portugal, Belgium and Morocco relied on EU satellites to pinpoint the boat and prepare a rescue mission. 

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Organised crime

“This was one of the most significant human trafficking cases in recent years.”

Inspector David Diego Monserrat

Breaking the circle: How Europe shattered a human trafficking ring

National authorities needed to act quickly after uncovering a violent human trafficking ring. Young women, taken from their homes in Bulgaria, were being forced into prostitution in Spain. In one week 34 gang members were arrested and 13 young women were freed. The operation owed its success to a coordinated European effort.

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Sham marriages

“We can’t protect our most vulnerable citizens from sham marriages unless we understand the problem.”

Gita Miruškina

Sham marriages: How the EU is helping mend the heartbreak of human trafficking

In the EU, vulnerable women may be offered money to travel abroad to be part of arranged marriages. Once in their new countries, however, they run the risk of being abused and forced into crime. These sham marriages are a form of human trafficking that has gone under the radar for too long. Without the cross-border understanding and cooperation of different organisations, more victims could find themselves at the mercy of human traffickers.

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Land border protection

“At the border, time is always against us. We have to act fast, work together and use the limited information we have to make split-second decisions.”

Piotr Wiciejowski

Guarding the gateway: How the EU helps secure Europe’s land borders

At any border crossing into Europe, officers need to be able to act fast and rely on each other to detect fake passports, seize stolen cars and prevent criminal activity. Follow the EU border officers helping their Polish colleagues patrol the crossings between Poland and Ukraine, keeping citizens safe and criminals in retreat.

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Air safety

"When I heard there was a plane crash I thought, Oh my God, Oh my God."

Dorothy Sophocleous

Flying without fear: How the EU keeps us safe when we fly

European skies are among the busiest in the world. They are also among the safest. From the airport tarmac to the air traffic control room, the EU is taking steps to prevent unsafe airlines from flying anywhere in Europe and putting passengers in danger.

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Border security

“The migrant crisis is one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in recent years.”

Antonis Kelaiditis

No man is an island: How an EU agency is helping protect borders

When migrants started arriving on the beaches of Lesbos, Greece, locals did their best to save lives and provide shelter. However, local border control officials and the police were soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of arrivals. Today, the EU border protection agency and Greek coast guard work together to bring safety and security back to the island’s community.

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Extremism

“Like most people, to me radicalisation was something on TV. But 22 May 2017 changed all that.”

Figen Murray

From awareness to prevention: How the EU is combating radicalisation across Europe

Radicalisation and extreme views have always existed, but new technologies and the growing polarisation of society make them a particularly insidious threat, especially for young people. Follow 2 mothers, the personal events that brought them to anti-radicalisation work, and the EU-wide network that has given them a new stage to share their stories and join forces with other practitioners in the field.

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Organised crime

“There is no impunity for those involved in organised crime.”

Roberto Verdugo

Joint Investigations: How the EU fights organised crime

Italy was on the tail of a complex criminal network involved in drug smuggling, but the network’s illegal activities stretched beyond Italian territory and jurisdiction. The national authorities needed EU support before making a move.

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Did you know?

50%

of all crimes committed in some Member States are cybercrimes.

37%

fewer non-EU citizens were found to be illegally present in the EU in 2017 compared to the previous year.

910

potential victims of human trafficking were identified during a week-long operation in 2017, which involved 22 EU countries and over 4,000 locations.

€230 MILLION

worth of misused medicines and doping substances were seized in December 2017 as part of the largest anti-drug trafficking operation of its kind, altogether resulting in 111 arrests.

DO YOU KNOW ANY LOCAL HEROES?

The answer is probably yes. Every corner of the EU has its own local heroes, all of them working tirelessly to keep us safe. Read the stories of the heroes near you.