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Observatory on the European security-industrial complex
What is the European security-industrial complex?
The European security-industrial complex is a term used to describe the confluence of interests within the European Union between the 'homeland security' industry and politicians and state officials dealing with security policies.
At EU level, this complex is most apparent in the European Security Research Programme (ESRP), currently a €1.7 billion component of the seven-year EU Framework Research Programme (Horizon 2020, 2014-20). The research programme's official name is 'Secure societies - Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens'. The ESRP has the twin objectives of enhancing public safety through the development of security technologies and fostering the growth of a globally competitive European 'homeland security' market. Security-related research also takes place in other themes of the €77 billion Horizon 2020 programme (e.g. space, transport, energy, etc.). The current incarnation of the ESRP follows on from the €1.4 billion security component of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7, 2007-13).
The security research budgets are intended to provide tools and technologies that will complement EU and national internal security policies, which have their own EU budgets. For the 2014-20 period, the most relevant funding programmes are the Internal Security Fund - Police (ISF-Police) and the Internal Security Fund - Borders & Visa (ISF-Borders), worth a total of some €3.8 billion. Relevant funding may also come from other sources, such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) as well as the funds for EU agencies such as Europol and Frontex. In the 2007-13 period the equivalent funds - ISEC (law enforcement), CIPS (critical infrastructure) and the External Borders Fund (EBF) - were far smaller, coming to just over €2.5 billion. The majority (€1.8 billion) was dedicated to the External Borders Fund.
In 2012 the European Commission also initiated a 'Security Industrial Policy', launching a number of actions that were supposed to help develop a harmonised European market for security products and technologies.
Early research by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute (Arming Big Brother and NeoConOpticon) showed how the design of the ESRP was largely outsourced to the major players in the nascent European Homeland Security industry, instituting an apparent conflict of interests within which large multinationals and major research institutes have been able to shape the security research agenda, apply for the subsequent R&D funds on offer, and then attempt to sell the resulting technologies and systems back to the governments that funded their development. Subsequent research (Market Forces) has confirmed these findings. See: Market Forces (2017), NeoConOpticon (2009) and Arming Big Brother (2006).
According to a 2014 report commissioned by the European Parliament, the EU's dedication to supporting the security industry and developing technologies of surveillance “overrules all other societal considerations, which are relegated to preoccupations with societal acceptance of securitytechnologies.” A 2010 edition of the same report concluded that "it is mostly large defence companies, the very same who have participated in the definition of EU-sponsored security research which are the main beneficiaries of [ESRP] funds".
The EU has also recommended that Member States establish dedicated national security research programmes and at least seven have done so.
- 24 October 2018: Horizon Europe proposals added to the Observatory
- 24 October 2018: Security research: advisory group report on fundamental rights in a "digital intensive environment" added to the Observatory
Critical analysis - Statewatch/Transnational Institute
- A new player in security research: the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS) (2011)
- Homeland Security comes to Europe (2009)
- NeoConOpticon: The EU Security-Industrial Complex (2009)
- The German Security Research Programme: Transferring military technology – securitising civil research by Eric Töpfer (2010)
Other critical research
- (2018) Expanding the fortress: The policies, the profiteers and the people shaped by EU's border externalisation programme (TNI)
- (2017) Arms industry lobbying and the militarisation of the EU (Corporate Europe Observatory, link): an overview of information from the report 'Securing Profits' (below) and elsewhere, including the Statewatch/TNI report 'Market Forces'.
- (2017) Securing Profits by Bram Vanken (Vredesactie): on the arms idustry's role in the developing EU military research and defence policy.
- (2017) Security for Sale: The price we pay to protect Europeans (de Correspondent)
- (2014 and 2010) Review of security measures in the Research Framework Programme published by the European Parliament Directorate General for internal Policies. Detailed report confirming many of the findings in Statewatch and TNI’s earlier NeoConOpticon report (above).
- (2013) A European Agenda for Security Technology: From Innovation Policy to Export Controls by Jocelyn Mawdsley
Statewatch news stories
- (2011) Lobbying Warfare: The arms industry's role in building a militarised Europe (Corporate Europe Observatory): on arms industry lobby in the EU institutions.
- Security research: advisory group report on fundamental rights in a "digital intensive environment" (October 2018)
- Budget proposals foresee big boost for spending on security, migration and border control (May 2018)
- Rethinking security... or not (May 2016)
- Long-distance border controls to "check travellers data along his/her journey" and remotely detect "abnormal behaviour" (November 2015)
- EU seeks autonomous drones, "data fusion" and "enhanced command and control centres" for border control (November 2015)
- EU funding for network developing surveillance, intelligence-gathering and remote vehicle stopping tools (January 2015)
- Europe's justice and interior ministers push for closer relations between internal security authorities and industry (July 2013)
EU security policy framework
- (2016) Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe - A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy
- (2015) European Agenda on Security
- (2015) European Agenda on Migration
High-level reports and policy papers
- (2018) Horizon 2020 Protection and Security Advisory Group (PASAG): Achieving synergies between security and information-related fundamental rights (IRFR) in a digital intensive environment (July 2018, pdf): In line with the cybersecurity theme of the Horizon 2020 security research programme, the PASAG (responsible for providing advice to the European Commission on the content of the security research work programmes) has produced a report on fundamental rights and the "digital-intensive" environment (e.g. concerning the Internet of Things, big data, surveillance, social media). The report argues that technologies to enforce fundamental rights are unlikely to be funded by industry and should be the focus of public funding; it makes a number of recommendations for the types of projects or topics that could be pursued. At the same time, this desire to ensure that fundamental rights are protected in a "digital intensive environment" is, at root, a means to ensure that the model of 'surveillance capitalism' that has arisen in recent years retains legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
- (2011) European Commission: Results of the Public Consultation on an Industrial Policy for the Security Industry (2011): "The objective of this consultation was to collect the stakeholders’ views on the envisaged policy measures aimed at an enhancing the security of the European citizens through a dedicated EU security industry policy."
- (14.3.2011) The European Commission has launched a public consultation entitled ‘Unleashing the potential of Europe’s security industry’. See also Commission Background paper and NeoConOpticon blog: 'Please help this beleaguered industry!
- (2011) The European Commission has published a Green Paper on a Common Strategic Framework for future EU Research and Innovation Funding (COM (2011) 48) and launched a public consultation. Responses are invited by 20 May 2011.
- (2009) European Security Research and Innovation Forum Report (2009) Sets out a "roadmap" for security research.
- Commission Communication on the European Security Research and Innovation Agenda (21.12.2009, COM (2009) 691). The Commission's position on ESRIF's key findings and recommendations
- (2006) European Security Research Advisory Board report (2006) "Meeting the challenge: the European Security Research Agenda"
- Commission Communication on Public-Private Dialogue in Security Research and Innovation (11.9.2007, COM (2007) 511)
- (2006) European Commission Green Paper on detection technologies (1.9.2006, COM (2006) 474)
- (2004) Group of Personalities Report: "A Secure Europe in a Better World" (2004) Report of the Group of Personalities in the field of Security Research
- European Commission Communication on Security Research (7.9.2004, COM (2004) 590)
- Commission Communication on the implementation of the Preparatory Action on the enhancement of the European industrial potential in the field of Security research - Towards a programme to advance European security through Research and Technology - (3.2.2004, COM (2004) 72)
Legal basis and official evaluations
- Horizon Europe (2021-27)
- European Commission
- Proposal for a Regulation establishing Horizon Europe - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, laying down its rules for participation and dissemination (COM(2018) 435 final, 7 June 2018) and: Annexes 1 to 5 (pdf)
- Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (COM(2018) 436 final, 7 June 2018) and: Annexes 1 to 3 (pdf)
- The Commission's proposal foresees a budget of 2.8 billion euro for a programme called 'Inclusive and secure society', which would incorporate security research. This is set out in the proposal for a Decision. The Parliament's draft report on that proposal (available here) foresees splitting this in two, creating a distinct 'Secure society' theme with a budget of 2.3 billion euro. The Parliament and the Council are yet to reach negotiating positions on the two proposals.
- Horizon 2020 (2014-20)
- Internal Security Fund (2014-2020)
- FP7 (2007-13)
- Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-13)
- (21.3.2011) Mid-term review of FP7 by European Parliament: draft Audy report. See NeoConOpticon blog: 'Lobbyists delight: draft European Parliament report calls for full-blown EU military research budget'
- 2007-13 internal security funds
- (16.6.2011): Commission Communication on the mid-term evaluation of the Framework Programme "Security and Safeguarding Liberties" (2007-2013) (COM(2011) 318 final): mid-term evaluation of the ISEC and CIPS programmes
- (8.10.2014): The External Borders Fund has fostered financial solidarity but requires better measurement of results and needs to provide further EU added value (European Court of Auditors)
- Preparatory Action on Security Research
Studies contracted by the European Commission
- Study on the development of statistical data on the European security technological and industrial base (2015) - Ecorys
- Study evaluating the status quo and the legal implications of third party liability for the European security industry (2013) - Metro, European Centre of Tort and Insurance Law and Hunton & Williams: "Third party liability has been identified as an issue that could adversely impact the European security industry. Limitless third party liability for security product and services is believed to have the potential to reduce investments in innovation... This development has convinced the EU to examine the legal implications of third party liability of the security industry and possible policy options."
- Study on Civil Military Synergies in the field of Security (2012) - Ecorys: "one option to strengthen the security industrial base is to (further) enhance cooperation between the civil security and military industries and promote technological spin-offs between them."
- Study on pre-commercial procurement in the field of Security (2011) - Ecorys with Decision Etudes & Conseil and TNO: "In order to preserve the future positions of European industry, reinforcing both the amount and efficiency of European R&D seems essential, as well as striving to correct these weaknesses. Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP), a procedure for the public procurement of R&D services, covering the exploration and definition of different competing solutions, down to test-series production and field testing, seems able to provide some answers to these difficulties."
- Study on Security Regulation, Conformity Assessment & Certification (2011) - Ecorys: "The main elements of this Report concern the overview of the EU regulatory environment, together with an assessment of the environment for conformity assessment and certification of security products."
- Study on the industrial implications of the blurring of dividing lines between Security and Defence (2010) - Istituto Affari Internazionali, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research and Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques: "The [European Commission] has identitified converging activities between the security and defence markets and has therefore initiated this study to explore the potential implications."
- Study on the Competitiveness of the EU security industry (2009) - ECORYS Research and Consulting with DECISION Etudes & Conseil and TNO. Assesses "the current situation of the EU security industry, its structure and organisation, competitiveness position and challenges for the future"
Projects funded under the ESRP
- Security research projects funded under Horizon 2020 (December 2015)
- European funded projects in the field of Border Security: Exhibition & workshops - 2014 report (Frontex publication)
- FP7 security research projects: volume 2
- ESRP projects 2004-6 (39 projects funded under the "Preparatory Action for Security Research")
- CORDIS database (search all EC-funded projects)
Israel's involvement in the ESRP
- Prominent Legal Experts Confirm Israel's Record of Torture Makes EU Funding of LAW-TRAIN Project Illegal (ECCAP, 28 June 2017)
- EU funding to Israeli military companies and institutions through Horizon 2020 (ECCAP, 13 October 2015)
- Should the EU subsidise Israeli Security? Ben Hayes (Statewatch), European Voice newspaper (March 2010)
- Statewatch submission on Israel's involvement in the ESRP to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (see page 101; 2010). See also oral evidence
- Briefing Paper: Security Co-operation between the EU and Israel (2010), Quaker Council for European Affairs
- Spain-Israel: Military, Homeland Security and Armament-Based Relations and trends (2010), Alejandro Pozo Marín, Centre d’Estudis per a la Pau/Justícia i Paune
- Factsheet on how Israeli arms companies benefit from EU science funds (2009), Dave Cronin, Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
NeoConOpticon blog (2009-2012)
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