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Statewatch Analysis: The visible hand: The EU's Security Industrial Policy
24 August 2016
See the full text: The visible hand: The EU's Security Industrial Policy
(pdf) by Chris Jones
The European Commission has been working for some time to “enhance growth and increase employment in the EU's security industry” through projects launched under the 2012 ‘Security Industrial Policy’ (SIP).
While estimates of the actual size of the security industry vary, the EU hopes it will provide more “jobs and growth” and help ensure the implementation of EU and national security policies.
The EU’s initiatives in security are wide-ranging, but they frequently dovetail with the interests of major security and defence companies: tools for mass data-gathering and predictive analytics, continent-wide surveillance systems and databases, the increasing use of biometrics in all walks of life, and the closer integration of public authorities and private industry.
In 2012 the Commission argued that: “A competitive EU security industry is the conditio sine qua non of any viable European security policy and for economic growth in general,” and used the SIP to launch a whole host of initiatives.
These include projects aimed at technical standardisation; attempts to bring industrial interests and state agencies together through various forms of public-private partnership; enhancing “synergies” between civil security and defence research; and initiatives aimed at introducing standards for “privacy by design”
For the industry, the benefit is clear – one Commission-contracted study concluded that: “The development of a European public security market is perceived by [large security and defence companies] as a necessary condition for the achievement of profitable business.”
An examination of the paper trail surrounding the SIP and the initiatives it has spawned serves to highlight some of the ways in which the EU is seeking to help these companies achieve “profitable businesses”, and how the foundations for the EU’s security project are being laid.
Chris Jones commented:
“The EU’s duty to level the playing field in the single market coincides neatly with the aim of large security and defence companies to have an entire continents’ worth of governments and businesses to whom they can sell new security systems and products.
The harmonisation of regulatory and technical standards across the continent is the route to developing this “true internal market in security”, and is likely to further empower Europe’s major security and defence companies."