“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
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.
Member States cannot address these threats effectively acting on their own. This is why at European 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 Security Union Strategy 2020-2025 replaces the previous security strategy set out in the European Agenda on Security (PDF) (2015-2020).
Everyone has the right to security. The new way forward on internal security puts citizens at the centre of our approach.
Building on the previous work of the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, the new way forward on internal security focuses on three main priority areas:
Organised crime comes at a huge economic and personal cost. The economic loss due to organised crime and corruption is estimated to represent between €218 and €282 billion annually. The Commission strengthens its action on organised crime by putting forward ambitious measures, such as the adoption of a new EU Drugs Agenda and Action Plan as well as a new Action Plan on firearms trafficking and looking into modernising the rules on the import and export of guns.
Terrorism remains a significant threat, both by Islamist extremists and, increasingly, by far-right and far left extremists. We will take further action to counter-terrorism, prevent radicalisation and to protect public spaces and critical infrastructure.
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 will work to further strengthen cooperation and information exchange, with all the necessary safeguards.
The Union’s policy response to the deteriorating security situation, was initially defined in 2015 in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, in the Commission’s European Agenda on Security 2015-2020.
The European Agenda on Security was the basis for a common EU strategy on security, with both the Council and the European Parliament agreeing on the priorities put forward by the Commission:
Building on this Strategy and through coordinated efforts across its policies the Commission strives for a Security Union.
The European Parliament also took security a step further during its last mandate, with the creation of a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) which concluded its work with the adoption in November 2018 of a report setting out recommendations on the prevention of radicalisation and counter terrorism.
Under the steer of the Finnish Presidency, Member States, together with the Commission, have started to take stock on past achievements and to identify new challenges.
The ever-evolving threat picture and the recent report on the implementation of security policies in the EU show the need for a new way forward on internal security as part of the new Security Union Strategy.
The previous security strategy, the European Agenda on Security, was adopted on 28 April 2015, and covered the period 2015-2020.
The EU and its Member States face several new and complex security threats, highlighting the need for further synergies and closer cooperation at all levels. Many of the security concerns originate from instability in the EU's immediate neighbourhood and changing forms of radicalisation, violence and terrorism. Threats were becoming more varied and more international, as well as increasingly cross-border and cross-sectorial in nature.
These threats required an effective and coordinated response at European level. The European Agenda on Security set out how the Union could bring added value to support the Member States in ensuring security.
The European Agenda on Security (PDF) implemented the Political Guidelines of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the area of security and replaces the previous Internal Security Strategy (2010-2014).
The Agenda prioritised terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime as interlinked areas with a strong cross-border dimension, where EU action could make a real difference. The Agenda built on the actions undertaken in the previous years, under the previous internal security strategy, thus ensuring consistent and continued action.
The European Agenda on Security aimed to strengthen the tools that the EU provided to national law enforcement authorities to fight terrorism and cross-border crime. In particular, the Agenda focused on improving information exchanges and operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities. It also mobilised a number of EU instruments to support actions through training, funding and research and innovation. Finally, the Agenda set out a number of targeted actions to be taken at EU level, to step up the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime.
To maximise the benefits of existing EU measures and, where necessary, deliver new and complementary actions, all actors involved have to work together based on five key principles: