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Security industry: Commission proposes Action Plan to enable further growth

Providing security is a central concern of any society. Recent natural disasters and terrorist attacks have highlighted the need to be better prepared for crisis situations. The European Commission has therefore proposed an Action Plan to boost Europe's security industry.

The Action Plan should empower this industry - one of the sectors with the highest potential for growth and employment in the EU - to stay in Europe and to continue producing high quality security products.

The Commission proposes to create a true internal market for the security industry by inter alia:

  • harmonising standards and certification procedures for security technologies
  • better exploitation of synergies between (civil) security and defence research
  • novel funding schemes such as Pre-commercial Procurement to test and validate results stemming from EU security research projects
  • introducing checks on the societal impact of new security technologies at the research stage.

Internal market to boost EU security industry

The EU security market has an estimated market value of between €26 billion and €36.5 billion with around 180,000 employees. It can broadly be divided into the following sectors: aviation security, maritime security, border security, critical infrastructure protection, counter-terror intelligence (including cyber security and communication), physical security protection; crisis management and protective clothing.

European companies are still among the world leaders in the majority of the security sector's market segments. Favourable internal market conditions are essential to keep and expand their technological advantage, as is strengthening the EU security industry's position in emerging international markets. A special emphasis should be given to support SMEs in their efforts to access international markets in third countries.

More specifically,the Commission proposes the following measures to create a true internal market for the security industry:

  • The priority will be to overcomefragmentation of the EU security market, by harmonising standards and certification procedures for security technologies. European standardisation organisations will be asked to establish concrete and detailed standardisation roadmaps on the next generation of technologies. In this context, to achieve mutual recognition of certification systems, the Commission intends to issue two legislative proposals, to establish an EU wide harmonised certification system for airport screening (detection) equipment, andan EU wide harmonised certification system for alarm systems
  • Emphasis should be given to a better exploitation of synergies between (civil) security and defence research. The Commission intends to issue, in cooperation with the European Defence Agency, standardisation mandates for 'hybrid standards' to the European standardisation organisations.
  • To reduce the gap between research and market, especially in European and international procurement, the Commission will use novel funding schemes foreseen in Horizon 2020 such as Pre-commercial Procurement, to test and validate results stemming from EU security research projects. This approach should unite industry, public authorities and end users from the beginning of research projects. Border security and aviation security are the most promising areas.
  • The Commission will encourage Member States to launch similar initiatives at national level, in compliance with relevant EU public procurement law.
  • The Commission will introduce checks on the societal impact of new security technologies at the research stage. In addition, the Commission will issue a mandate to European standardisation organisations to develop a standard for the integration of privacy issues, from design to production process phases.
  • A major study will analyse the legal and economic implications of third party liability limitation.

A dedicated expert group set up by the Commission will meet at least once per year to monitor the implementation of proposed policy measures and bring together all relevant actors in the field of security.

Background

Over the last ten years the global security market has grown nearly tenfold from some €10 billion to a market size of some €100 billion in 2011, with an annual turnover of around €30 billion in the EU. However, as recent market evolutions indicate, the global market shares of European companies could drop significantly over the next years if no action is taken to enhance their competitiveness. In the US, thanks to the benefits of a harmonised legal framework and a robust internal market, security companies remain the market leaders and technological front runners. In contrast, the EU's internal market is highly fragmented, divided along national or even regional boundaries. Security, as one of the most sensitive policy fields, is one of the areas where Member States are hesitant to give up their national prerogatives.

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