Europe has never been so peacefully consolidated, and the levels of security enjoyed by European citizens are high, compared to other parts of the world. However, Europe's vulnerability continues to exist in a context of ever-increasing globalisation in which societies are facing security threats and challenges that are growing in scale and sophistication.

The specific objective of this area is to foster secure European societies in a context of unprecedented transformations and growing global interdependencies and threats, while strengthening the European culture of freedom and justice.

The threat of large-scale military aggressions has decreased and security concerns are focused on new multifaceted, interrelated and transnational threats. Aspects such as human rights, environmental degradation, political stability and democracy, social issues, cultural and religious identity or migration need to be taken into account. In this context the internal and external aspects of security are inextricably linked.

In order to protect freedom and security, the Union requires effective responses using a comprehensive and innovative suite of security instruments. Research and innovation can play a clear supporting role although it cannot alone guarantee security. Research and innovation activities should aim at understanding, detecting, preventing, deterring, preparing and protecting against security threats.

Furthermore, security presents fundamental challenges that cannot be resolved by independent and sector-specific treatment but rather need more ambitious, coordinated and holistic approaches. Many forms of insecurity, whether from crime, violence, terrorism, natural or man-made disasters, cyber attacks or privacy abuses, and other forms of social and economic disorders increasingly affect citizens.

Mission-oriented actions will integrate the demands of different end-users (citizens, businesses, civil society organisations and administrations, including national and international authorities, civil protection, law enforcement, border guards, etc.) in order to take into account the evolution of security threats and privacy protection, and the necessary societal aspects.

The focus of activities is to:

  • fight crime, illegal trafficking and terrorism, including understanding and tackling terrorist ideas and beliefs;
  • protect and improve the resilience of critical infrastructures, supply chains and transport modes;
  • strengthen security through border management;
  • improve cyber security;
  • increase Europe's resilience to crises and disasters;
  • ensure privacy and freedom, including in the Internet, and enhance the societal legal and ethical understanding of all areas of security, risk and management;
  • enhance standardisation and interoperability of systems, including for emergency purposes;
  • support the Union's external security policies, including conflict prevention and peace building.

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