Module 3: European Union

Lesson Title

Why the European Union ?
b. Peace and Security

 

Introduction

The main objective of this lesson is to give its participants all information they need to feel completely secure in EU. We will address:
- What are the threats?
- What are the principles of security?
- Which means of keeping peace and protection against violence does EU incorporate?
   o Military
   o NATO partnership
   o International crime
   o Internal protection
   o External dimension of internal security/cooperation with third countries
   o Cybersecurity
- What are the instruments of protection?

The teachers are free to use whatever means of passing the knowledge as they want. They are especially encouraged to facilitate discussions on what kind of security do these people search for before the lessons start.

 

Lesson time foreseen

80 minutes = 2 lessons

 

Lesson Content

One of the main objectives of European Union is to ensure peace and security for all the European citizens. In order to ensure that, EU identifies the threats, establishes important partnership and incorporates the practices that help realize it on the daily basis.
 
What are the common threats: the main challenges for the internal security of the EU?
 
• Terrorism, in any form, has an absolute disregard for human life and democratic values. Its global reach, its devastating consequences, its ability to recruit through radicalisation and dissemination of propaganda over the Internet and the different means by which it is financed make terrorism a significant and ever-evolving threat to our security.
• Serious and organised crime is of increasing importance. In its various forms, it tends to occur wherever it can reap the most financial benefit with the least risk, regardless of borders. Drug trafficking, economic crime, human trafficking, smuggling of persons, arms trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and child pornography, violent crimes, money laundering and document fraud are only some of the ways in which organised and serious crime manifests itself in the EU. In addition, corruption is a threat to the bases of the democratic system and the rule of law.
• Cybercrime represents a global, technical, cross-border, anonymous threat to our information systems and, because of that, it poses many additional challenges for law-enforcement agencies
• Cross-border crime, such as petty or property crime, often carried out by gangs, when it has a significant impact on the daily lives of people in Europe, poses a common threat.
• Violence itself, such as youth violence or hooligan violence at sports events, increases the damage already caused by crimes and can significantly harm our society.
• Natural and man-made disasters, such as forest fires, earthquakes, floods and storms, droughts, energy shortages and major information and communication technology (ICT) breakdowns, pose safety and security challenges. In this day and age, civil protection systems represent an essential element of any modern and advanced security system.
• There are a number of other common phenomena which cause concern and pose safety and security threats to people across Europe, for example road traffic accidents, which take the lives of tens of thousands of European citizens every year
 
PRINCIPLES
 
People in Europe expect to live in security and to enjoy their freedoms: security is in itself a basic right. The values and principles established in the Treaties of the Union and set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights have inspired the EU’s internal security strategy:
— justice, freedom and security policies which are mutually reinforcing whilst respecting fundamental rights, international protection, the rule of law and privacy;
— protection of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable, with the focus on victims of crimes such as trafficking in human beings or gender violence, including victims of terrorism who also need special attention, support and social recognition;
— transparency and accountability in security policies, so that they can be easily understood by citizens, and take account of their concerns and opinions;
— dialogue as the means of resolving differences in accordance with the principles of tolerance, respect and freedom of expression;
— integration, social inclusion and the fight against discrimination as key elements for EU internal security;
— solidarity between Member States in the face of challenges which cannot be met by Member States acting alone or where concerted action is to the benefit of the EU as a whole;
— mutual trust as a key principle for successful cooperation.
 
Military protection
 
From its initiation on, one of the EU’s priorities was to keep peace (stated in Point 1 of Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union: » 1. The Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its people.
 
The idea of a common defence policy for Europe dates back to 1948 when the UK, France, and the Benelux signed the Treaty of Brussels.

In 1954 WEU (Western European Union) was established with these objectives:
• To create a firm basis for European economic recovery in Western Europe;
• To offer mutual assistance to member countries in resisting any policy of external aggression;
• To promote unity and encourage positive integration in Europe.

Following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent conflicts in the Balkans, it became clear that the EU needed to assume its responsibilities in the field of conflict prevention and crisis management. The conditions under which military units could be deployed were already agreed by the WEU Council in 1992 but the so-called “Petersberg Tasks” where now integrated in the 1999 Treaty of Amsterdam. In addition, the post of the “High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy” was created to allow the Union to speak with ‘one face and one voice’ on foreign policy matters.
 
At the Cologne European Council in 1999, Member States reaffirmed the Union’s willingness to develop capabilities for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces. A key development was the “Berlin Plus agreement” giving the EU, under certain conditions, access to NATO assets and capabilities.
 
In 2003 the former High Representative Javier Solana was tasked by the Member States to develop a Security Strategy for Europe. The document entitled ‘A Secure Europe in a Better World’, analysed for the first time the EU’s security environment and identified key security challenges and subsequent political implications for the EU. The implementation of the document was revised in 2008.
 
The Lisbon Treaty came into force in December 2009 and was a cornerstone in the development of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The treaty includes both a mutual assistance and a solidarity clause and allowed for the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) under the authority of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/ Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP). The two distinct functions of the post give the HR/VP the possibility to bring all the necessary EU assets together and to apply a "comprehensive approach" to EU crisis management.
 
Since the creation in March 2002 of the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Council Joint Action, some 30 civilian and military missions and operations have been launched under the CSDP. The EU is constantly improving its crisis management capabilities. Headline Goals, both civilian as well as military, have been defined and adapted to match the changing security environment.
 
The "Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy" presented by HR/VP Mogherini in June 2016 laid the foundation to develop CSDP further. A comprehensive package of measures in the areas of security and defence was defined at the end of 2016. It consists of three major pillars: new political goals and ambitions for Europeans to take more responsibility for their own security and defence; new financial tools to help Member States and the European defence industry to develop defence capabilities ("European Defence Action Plan") and a set of concrete actions as follow up to the EU-NATO Joint Declaration which identified areas of cooperation. Implementation of the three elements is ongoing and will boost security of the Union and its citizens.
 
NATO (North Atlantic Territory Organisation)
 
NATO and EU have an important partnership in ensuring the peace and security of European Citizens. These are the essences of the partnership:
• Institutionalised relations between NATO and the EU were launched in 2001, building on steps taken during the 1990s to promote greater European responsibility in defence matters (NATO-Western European Union cooperation 1).
• The 2002 NATO-EU Declaration on a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) set out the political principles underlying the relationship and reaffirmed EU assured access to NATO’s planning capabilities for the EU’s own military operations.
• In 2003, the so-called “Berlin Plus” arrangements set the basis for the Alliance to support EU-led operations in which NATO as a whole is not engaged.
• At the 2010 Lisbon Summit, the Allies underlined their determination to improve the NATO-EU strategic partnership and the 2010 Strategic Concept committed the Alliance to working more closely with other international organisations to prevent crises, manage conflicts and stabilise post-conflict situations.
• At the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016, the two organisations outlined areas for strengthened cooperation in light of common challenges to the east and south, including countering hybrid threats, enhancing resilience, defence capacity building, cyber defence, maritime security, and exercises. Over 40 measures to advance NATO-EU cooperation in agreed areas were approved by NATO foreign ministers in December 2016.
• Close cooperation between NATO and the EU is an important element in the development of an international “comprehensive approach” to crisis management and operations, which requires the effective application of both military and civilian means.
• NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.
 
Fighting international crime and terrorism
 
Organised crime is becoming ever more sophisticated and regularly uses European or international networks for its activities. Terrorism has clearly shown that it can strike, with great brutality, anywhere in the world.
 
Criminal networks operate internationally. It is often the same groups involved in diverse criminal activity, whether human trafficking, child exploitation, drugs trafficking, arms trafficking or illegal shipment and dumping of waste. Crime at a more local area, burglaries, car theft and sale of counterfeit dangerous goods are often manifestations of global networks of organised crime.
 
To be more effective, the Schengen information system (SIS) was set up. This is a complex database which enables police forces and judicial authorities to exchange information on people for whom an arrest warrant or extradition request has been issued, and on stolen property such as vehicles or works of art.
 
One of the most effective ways of hunting down criminals is to track their ill-gotten gains. For this reason, and to cut off the funding of criminal and terrorist organisations, the EU has brought in legislation to prevent money-laundering.
The greatest advance made in recent years in the field of cooperation between law enforcement authorities was the creation of Europol, an EU body based in The Hague and staffed by police and customs officers. It tackles a wide range of international crime: drug trafficking, trade in stolen vehicles, people trafficking and illegal immigration networks, the sexual exploitation of women and children, child pornography, forgery, the trafficking of radioactive and nuclear material, terrorism, money-laundering and counterfeiting of the euro.
 
Joint Investigation Teams (JIT) have proven to be effective and are conducted frequently. JITs are set up for a limited period of time on the basis of an agreement between two or more EU Member States and /or third parties in order to fight serious cross-border crime. Europol and Eurojust have been able to support several JITs in the last couple of years within the traditional fields of organised crime activities such as drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings and counterfeiting of the Euro.
 
Among the steps proposed by the Commission to counteract this threat is the creation of a European centre for excellence for the fight against radicalisation, removing terrorists’ access to funding through cooperation between financial intelligence services, and stepping up the fight against cyber-criminality and the dissemination of online propaganda by extremists.
 
Internal protection
 
It is stated in Point 2 or Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union: »2. The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime.
 
A wide and comprehensive approach to internal security
Internal security is seen as encompassing a wide range of measures with both horizontal and vertical dimensions:
— horizontal dimension: to reach an adequate level of internal security in a complex global environment requires the involvement of law-enforcement and border-management authorities, with the support of judicial cooperation, civil protection agencies and also of the political, economic, financial, social and private sectors, including non-governmental organisations;
— likewise, we take into account the vertical dimension of security at various levels: international cooperation, EU-level security policies and initiatives, regional cooperation between Member States and Member States’ own national, regional and local policies.
 
External dimension of internal security/cooperation with third countries
 
A concept of internal security cannot exist without an external dimension, since internal security increasingly depends to a large extent on external security. International cooperation by the EU and its Member States, both bilaterally and multilaterally, is essential in order to guarantee security and protect the rights of our citizens and to promote security and respect for rights abroad. The EU’s policies with regard to third countries need to consider security as a key factor and develop mechanisms for coordination between security and other related policies, such as foreign policy, where security issues must increasingly be taken into account in an integrated and proactive approach.
 
In this context, the internal security strategy serves as an indispensable complement to the EU security strategy, developed in 2003 under the EU’s security and defence policy to address global risks and threats and to make a commitment to the social, political and economic development of global society as the most effective way of achieving effective and long-lasting security.
 
Cybersecurity
 
The EU is determined to safeguard an online environment providing the highest possible freedom and security, for the benefit of everyone. This strategy is jointly adopted by the Commission and the High Representative. It outlines the EU's vision in this domain, clarifies roles and responsibilities and proposes specific activities at EU level. Its goal is to ensure strong and effective protection and promotion of citizens' rights so as to make the EU's online environment the safest in the world.
 
These actions include in particular:
• achieving cyber resilience, by increasing capabilities, preparedness, cooperation, information exchange and awareness in the field of Network and Information Security, for the public and private sectors and at national and EU level;
• drastically reducing cybercrime by strengthening the expertise of those in charge of investigating and prosecuting it, by adopting a more coordinated approach between Law Enforcement Agencies across the Union, and by enhancing cooperation with other actors;
• developing an EU Cyber Defence Policy and capabilities in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy;
• fostering the industrial and technological resources required to benefit from the Digital Single Market. This will help stimulate the emergence of a European industry and market for secure ICT; it will contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the EU economy; and it will increase the public and private spending on cybersecurity Research and Development (R&D);
• enhancing the EU's international cyberspace policy to promote EU core values, to define norms for responsible behaviour, to advocate the application of existing international law in cyberspace and to assist countries outside the EU in building cybersecurity capacity.
 
Instruments of protection
 
Numerous instruments for facilitating cooperation have been developed. The most relevant are listed below.
— Analysis of future situations and scenarios: threat anticipation. Europol and other EU agencies produce regular threat assessments.
— Adequate response: planning, programming and handling the consequences. Work programmes have been developed which enable us to address the dangers to and the concerns of citizens in a methodical way. Strategies and specific work plans have also been developed on counterterrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, organised crime and civil protection. Furthermore, the Community Civil Protection Mechanism coordinates the response of Member States to natural and man-made disasters. The abolition of internal border controls has made it easier to travel within the Schengen area
— Effectiveness in the field: the work of agencies, institutions and bodies. A number of agencies specific to the EU have been created and these include: Europol, whose main aims are to collect and exchange information and to facilitate cooperation between law-enforcement authorities in their fight against organised crime and terrorism; Eurojust, which drives coordination and increases the effectiveness of judicial authorities; and Frontex, which manages operational cooperation at the external borders. The EU has also created the role of the Counterterrorism Coordinator. Other bodies and networks have also been established in the fields of training, drugs, crime prevention, corruption and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
— Tools based on mutual recognition, for information sharing and to facilitate joint investigations and operations. Instruments based on mutual recognition include the European Arrest Warrant and provision for the freezing of assets. Databases such as the Schengen information system and networks have also been established for the exchange of information on criminal records, on combating hooliganism, on missing persons or stolen vehicles and on visas which have been issued or refused. The use of DNA and fingerprint data helps put a name to anonymous traces left at crime scenes. EU legal instruments facilitate operational cooperation between Member States, such as the setting up of joint investigation teams, the organising of joint operations and close cooperation to ensure the security of international events, including major sporting competitions.
— Evaluation mechanisms have been developed to assess the effectiveness of our actions. For example, peer-to-peer evaluation exercises in the field of terrorism and organised crime have contributed to the improvement of mutual trust.
 
Prevention and anticipation: a proactive, intelligence-led approach

Among the main objectives of the internal security strategy for the EU is the prevention and anticipation of crime as well as of natural and man-made disasters, and the mitigation of their potential impact. Whilst effective prosecution of the perpetrators of a crime remains essential, a stronger focus on the prevention of criminal acts and terrorist attacks before they take place help reduce the consequent human or psychological damage, which is often irreparable.
 
Our strategy therefore emphasises prevention and anticipation, which is based on a proactive and intelligence-led approach as well as procuring the evidence required for prosecution. It is only possible to bring successful legal action if all necessary information is available.
 
Prevention of crime means addressing the root causes and not just the criminal acts and their consequences. EU does that by making sure everyone can live a decent life without the need for criminal.
 
 

Sources:

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