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Migration and Home Affairs

Internal Security

A new way forward on internal security for the period 2020-2025

“Terrorist attacks that have struck at the heart of our Union in recent years and the ever evolving nature of organised crime have brought into sharp focus the need to improve cooperation on internal security issues and build an effective Security Union”
Mission Letter of Commissioner Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs

On 24 July 2020, the European Commission set out a new EU Security Union Strategy for the period from 2020 to 2025. It maps out the main actions, tools and measures to ensure European security, both in the physical and digital world, and across all parts of society.

As a core component of the strategy, the Commission defines a new way forward on internal security with actions in key areas:

  • organised crime,
  • terrorism and the prevention of violent radicalisation,
  • resilience of our critical infrastructures and public spaces,
  • cybercrime, including fighting child sexual abuse,
  • law enforcement cooperation and information exchange,
  • research and innovation

Why a new way forward on internal security?


Europeans today face a constantly changing security landscape. Terrorism, organised crime, the drugs trade and human trafficking continue as direct threats to citizens and our European way of life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened new avenues for cyber criminals and has rendered people more susceptible to violent extremist discourses online. It has further showed the need to protect, both in the physical and digital environments.

EU countries cannot address these threats effectively acting on their own. This is why, at EU level we need to build the tools, infrastructure and environment in which national authorities can and do work together effectively to tackle shared challenges.

The new way forward on internal security as part of the Security Union Strategy replaces the previous security strategy set out in the European Agenda on Security (2015-2020).

Building on the previous work of the Commission, the Council and the Parliament, the Security Union Strategy puts citizens at the centre of the approach and focuses on three priority areas:

  • fighting organised crime and human trafficking,
  • countering terrorism and radicalisation,
  • fighting cybercrime.

Fighting organised crime and human trafficking

Organised crime comes at a huge economic and personal cost. The economic loss due to organised crime and corruption is estimated to present between €218 and €282 billion annually.

The Commission strengthens its action on organised crime by putting forward ambitious measures, such as the new:

Countering terrorism and radicalisation

Terrorism remains a significant threat by Islamist extremists, as well as by far right and far left extremists. The Commission will take further action to counter terrorism, prevent radicalisation and to protect public spaces and critical infrastructure.

On 9 December 2020, the Commission has put forward a new Counter Terrorism Agenda setting out the way forward for actions to counter terrorism at EU level to better anticipate, prevent, protect and respond to terrorist threats. In parallel, the Commission has also proposed to strengthen the Europol mandate to allow the agency to better support national law enforcement authorities with information, analysis and expertise, and to facilitate cross-border police cooperation and terrorism-related investigations.

Fighting cybercrime

The number of cyber-attacks continues to rise, with the attacks more sophisticated than ever. Europol and their colleagues in the Member States need to be given the tools to do their jobs to fight crime effectively both offline and online. Cooperation and information sharing are the most powerful tools to combat crime and terrorism and pursue justice. The Commission works to further strengthen cooperation and information exchange, with all the necessary safeguards.

Supporting policies

Policy timeline

Further background

European Agenda on Security – Factsheets

Counter-terrorism (09/12/2020)A Counter-Terrorism Agenda fore the EU: Anticipate, Prevent, Protect, RespondReinforced Europol mandateDelivering on the...

European Agenda on Security – Legislative documents

Commission reports on implementation of EU rules on seizing criminals' assets (02/06/2020)Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and...

European Agenda on Security – Press material

Delivering on the Security Union (30/10/2019)IP/19/6171: Security Union: Good progress over past 3 years but efforts must continueDelivering on the...