Internal security in the EU: the priorities of the next 18 months

Following the previous note on borders, immigration and asylum we wil now proceed with the priorities announced by the Spanish presidency in the field of internal security of the EU. These come from the working document of the Spanish, Belgium and Hungarian Council Presidencies which will follow one after the other in the next 18 months. As usual, additional notes will provide a comprehensive overview of the different topics.


Internal security strategy in the EU: as it is well known, this is a rather new notion for the European Union. Indeed, up to now, the latter focused mainly on the needs related to the internal security of its Member States. The new perspective finds in Lisbon its operational conjunction not only in the creation of the Committee for Internal Security (art. 71 of the TFEU) but also in the progressive development of instruments which frame the cooperation between security services in the MSs , such as the development of a “European Criminal Intelligence Model” (ECIM). Behind this there is the several times evoked project for a European strategy of management of information linked to internal and external security  (Information Management Strategy – IMS) and a finally decisive role of Europol, Eurojust and Frontex .


Fight against terrorism: the priority of the EU remains the fight against every kind of terrorism . This also emerges from the last reports on the implementation of the European Counter Terrorism Strategy, launched after the 9/11 attacks.

Within this framework, the necessity of an interdisciplinary approach is emphasized as well as a greater cooperation between national security services and between Europol and Eurojust and some fundamental third countries such as the United States. This entails on the one hand the exchange of intelligence information and on the other information concerning explosives and contrast on terrorists use of the internet.

Fight against human trafficking: the strategy is limited to the introduction of proposals for new action guidelines, with a particular attention to the most vulnerable victims (women and children). These proposals will complete the new legislative proposal currently under exam by the European Parliament and on the basis of the evaluation of the European Pact against human trafficking.

Fight against drugs: the implementation of the EU Drugs Action Plan for 2009-2012 keeping in mind the necessity to prevent and fight  trafficking of precursors and illegal substances within the framework of  a greater coordination between national security services.  At the international level the focus will be on the Mediterranean, Western Balkans, Western Africa, Latin America and Central Asia to fight the trafficking of precursor substances.

Police and Customs cooperation: fundamental will be the relaunch of Europol’s activity based on its new legal structure as European Agency, starting from 1st January 2010.  The three presidencies will also focus on transnational cooperation and practical cooperation in relation to the implementation of the decisions linked to the Prüm cooperation (exchange of sensitive information for security purposes, such as DNA). Cooperation among Police and Customs Co-operation Centres will be strengthened defining minimum common operational standards.  Within this framework the interoperability between law enforcement radio communication systems will be promoted by using the European network of competent departments in the field of internal security technology  (The European Network for Internal Security Technology Departments).

A new action plan in the field of border cooperation will be promoted within the framework of the Border Cooperation European strategy.

Training: the recently criticised training activity of the Centre for the Police Education (CEPOL) will be re-launched.

The three presidencies will prepare a programme 2011-2013 in view of the football world cup to fight the phenomenon of the hoolingans. Furthermore, They will also work towards the enhancement of co-operation between the authorities responsible for the private security sector in the Member States, the establishment of measures to improve the co-operation on the protection of public figures, and management of security during political events (ex. G8, G20…) and sport events (football championships or others).

Crime Prevention and Fight against serious and organised crime: the three Presidencies are committed to continue the co-operation in the field of crime prevention. Special attention will be paid to prevent and fight against gender-based violence. This represents the main priority under the Spanish presidency in the first semester 2010 and a legislative proposal should be already presented in the first months of 2010. Another important topic will be the prevention of environmental crimes.

Police and intelligence Exchange of information: the development of a global and coherent long-term EU policy on law enforcement information exchange will be further pursued.
 The establishment of an Agency to manage large scale IT systems such as SISII, VIS and EURODAC  is considered a priority.

It must be underlined that the proposal is currently under the European Parliament’s exam and its adoption by 2010 cannot be excluded.

In this perspective the three Presidencies will seek to launch and implement an operational (?) SIS II and will work on the implementation of the new Schengen II (although it is already confirmed that it will not be ready before a couple of years)

Concerning the intelligence aspect, it will be necessary to coordinate the existing initiatives at the national and European level strengthening the implementation of the “Swedish” Framework Decision and the interlinked Prüm Decisions with a view to starting with the EU-wide automated sharing of data, at the latest in August 2011.

Cybercrime: the European strategy in the field of Practical Measures against Cybercrime is recalled. However neither the implementation of the framework decision in this field nor the ENISA Agency, which should guarantee network security (end evoked in another chapter of the programme) are mentioned. Inevitable is the reference to the fight against any form of sexual abuse of children on the Internet.

Identification and recovery of criminal assets and the fight against money laundering: will continue to be priorities of the Union. It is possible that new proposals will be submitted concerning recovery of criminal assets (although the document makes no reference to it).

Identity fraud: emerging phenomenon with the development of  information technology applications “Identity Theft” will be fought together with other initiatives linked to the development of biometrics at the European level. This will take place in the internet virtual world as well as in the use of more reliable identity documents when crossing borders.

Civil protection: the three Presidencies will continue the work on improving EU response capacities in the face of disasters and crises, including terrorist attacks (which after the Treaty of Lisbon relies upon a specific legal basis in the Treaties). The civil protection will be carried on within EU-borders as well as in third countries and with a sufficient balance between prevention, preparedness and response. `

In this respect, the main framework will be the two Commission Communications on Reinforcing the Union’s Disaster Response Capacity and on a EU approach on the prevention of natural and man-made disasters.

Civil Protection Modules and the reinforcement of the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) in addition to the financial solidarity tool will be implemented and developed within the Civil Protection Mechanism framework  as already happened in the prevention and fight against crime.

In this context, cooperation with the United Nations will be continued. The progress of the elements of the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) will be followed-up during the three Presidencies and special consideration will be given to CBRN-related risks and forest fires prevention.

International protection: work on the legislative measures directed to the establishment of the second phase of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) by 2012 which has as its objective the establishment of a common asylum procedure and a uniform and ambitious status for those granted international protection, will continue to be prioritised.  

Particular emphasis will also be put on reinforcing practical cooperation, including through the establishment of the European Asylum Office (which the European Parliament should approve in the next few months).

Cooperation with third countries in the framework of the EU Global Approach: the EU will continue to seek effective and balanced implementation and the further development of its three components. In this context, the implementation of the Global Approach to the South, to the East and the South-East of the EU will continue. The EU will also pursue an enhanced, structured and comprehensive dialogue with Latin America and the Caribbean region on migratory issues.

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