In an increasingly complex world, the European Union continues to be widely regarded as one of the safest places in the world. This was made clear in the European Commission’s report to the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Committee of the Regions of 24th of July.
The Commission invited the European Parliament and the Council to endorse the EU Security Union Strategy as the basis for joint cooperation and action on security for the next five years.
The document explains that globalisation, free movement and the digital transformation continue to bring prosperity, make our lives easier, and spur innovation and growth. But alongside these benefits come inherent risks and costs. There are victims of terrorism, organised crime, the drugs trade and human trafficking, all direct threats to citizens and our European way of life.
Cyber-attacks and cybercrime continue to rise. Security threats are also becoming more complex:
- They feed on the ability to work cross-border and on interconnectivity.
- They exploit the blurring of the boundaries between the physical and digital world.
- They exploit vulnerable groups, social and economic divergences.
- Attacks can come at a moment’s notice and may leave little or no trace.
- Both state and non-state actors can deploy a variety of hybrid threats.
- What happens outside the EU can have a critical impact on security inside the EU.
The new EU Security Union Strategy lays the foundations for a security ecosystem that encompasses the whole of European society. It is based on the knowledge that security is a shared responsibility. Indeed, security is an issue that affects everyone. All government bodies, businesses, social organisations, institutions, and citizens must fulfil their responsibilities for making our societies safer.
Nowadays, security problems have to be viewed from a much broader perspective than in the past. We must overcome false distinctions between the digital and physical. The EU Security Union Strategy brings together the full range of security needs and focuses on the most critical areas for EU security in the coming years.
It also recognises that security threats do not respect geographical boundaries and that there is increasing interconnection between internal and external security. In this context, the EU must cooperate with international partners to safeguard the whole of the EU, and the implementation of the Strategy must be taken forward in full coherence with EU external action.
European security is linked to our fundamental values. All the actions and initiatives proposed in this Strategy will fully respect the fundamental European rights and values. These are the foundations of the European way of life, and they must remain at the core of all our work.