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EC kicks off the next Security Research programme

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PARIS – The European Commission officially kicked off its goals for its next seven-year Security Research programme during a 19-20 November conference that it hosted at the 2013 MILIPOL internal State security exhibition on the outskirts of Paris. Dual-use technologies will figure prominently among the capability goals of the forthcoming SR programme, as part of the EU’s next 2014-2020 “Horizon 2020” (H2020) research budget.

For example, technical standards for interoperable communications between civil and military operators are among the dual-use priorities. “I am confident this will be but the first step of a series of initiatives aimed at maximising civil-military synergies,” said Philippe Brunet, Enterprise and Industry DG’s Director of Aerospace, Maritime, Security and Defence Industries policy, told the conference on 20 November. “These ambitious goals can be achieved if the civil and military worlds work closely together, hand in hand.”

Fellow panelist Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, added that the frontier between security and defense “is increasingly blurred but the challenge nonetheless is to find the right synergies.” Her agency and the Commission have coordinated their respective research agendas to promote dual-use synergies since mid-2011 – a partnership that will accelerate with the launch of H2020 in 2014.

Other officials outlined some of industrial policies needed to support Europe’s security sector. These include the acceleration of standards-setting and certification procedures, and new guidelines to address the privacy aspects of technology. Graham Willmott, Enterprise and Industry DG’s Head of Unit for policy and research in security, told the conference that his unit is working on a privacy-by-design standard toward that goal.

“Privacy-by-design sounds abstract but it goes to the heart of citizens’ concerns about technology. It must ensure that all privacy aspects will be taken into account along the whole chain of design to production,” said Willmott, adding that the Commission is working with civil security stakeholder groups to get something in place by the end of 2014.

Emile Perez, Director of International Cooperation at France’s Interior Ministry, concluded the conference by calling for far more dialogue between all security stakeholders.

“There needs to be more dialogue between the different players in security.  End-user must clearly express their needs and strategies, while it is crucial for industry to communicate its technological solutions. We have heard today from industry that it is reluctant to develop tools with its own funds if these are not purchased in the future. This vicious circle will have an impact on everyone if it is not broken. It needs to be addressed and we are pleased to see that the Commission is focused on this problem,” said Perez. 

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