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Europe's future security challenges

The growing trend of Europeans fighting abroad in groups affiliated with terrorism, the diversification of international organised crime, and the increased risk of large-scale cyber-attacks. These are some of the greatest challenges ahead for the EU in the security field, as identified by the European Commission in a new report.  

The report assesses the progress made under each key area of the EU Internal Security Strategy (ISS) since 2010 and identifies possible ways to step up the EU's response to common threatssuch as organised crime, trafficking in human beings, terrorism, cybercrime and corruption.

Ahead of the adoption next year of a renewed Internal Security Strategy, the Commission will consult the Member States and the European Parliament, along with the private sector, civil society and the research sector – including through a High-Level Meeting to take place in the autumn this year.

"Important efforts to strengthen our security have been made in the past few years. But as this report shows, security threats keep evolving and changing. Therefore, we need to work harder. This report indicates what actions need to be taken in the coming years", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Future challenges and way forward

Priorities for future work, as outlined in the report, should be the implementation of legislation and consolidation of the past years' achievements, as well as enhanced practical cooperation.

To continue building a Europe that protects, the emerging threats and evolving challenges – related to thegrowing ranks of cybercriminals, the worrying trend of radicalisation and violent extremism, and toenvironmental crime and energy fraud, to mention just a few - need to be addressed in a renewed strategy.

In addition to responding to those risks, there is a need to strengthen:

  • the links between the EU internal and external security actions. Internal security issues should be more systematically addressed as part of EU external policies, linking to EU assistance and cooperation programmes for instance.

  • the respect of fundamental rights in all EU internal security policies. An effective security policy must be based on trust between citizens and authorities. Equally, security is necessary in order to safeguard citizens' rights. Providing law enforcement officials with simple, efficient and practical tools such as handbooks and training curricula, can help them ensure the correct application of fundamental rights in their day-to-day work.

  • the synergies between security policy and other policies, for example the research and innovation policy.

  • a common approach to a shared security agenda bringing together all security stakeholders. An annual EU Internal Security Consultative Forum, animated by the Commission, would allow for discussions with Member States, European Parliament, EU agencies, representatives of civil society, academia and of the private sector.

ISS achievement highlights

During recent years the EU has developed legislative and operational measures to better protect European societies and economies, as outlined in today's report.

Closer law enforcement and judicial cooperation – including in the fight against serious and organized crime – has yielded significant operational results in cross border investigations, for instance through Joint Investigation Teams (JITs). Capabilities have been reinforced, including through increased training and improved information exchange tools such as the SIS II (IP/13/309 and MEMO/13/309). The European Cybercrime Center (EC3) was set up a year ago and has for example contributed in catching criminal gangs stealing payment-card information as well as the arrest of hundreds of online pedophiles (IP/14/129).

New EU-legislation and strategic initiatives were put forward, for example, to better help victims of trafficking in human beings (IP/12/619 and MEMO/12/455), to crack down on crime profits (IP/12/235 andMEMO/12/179), to address money laundering (IP/13/87), to prevent and respond to cyber disruptions and attacks (IP/13/94) and fight cyber-crime (MEMO/13/659), to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners travelling to the EU (IP/13/162 and MEMO/13/141), etc.

More preventive tools were also introduced. The Radicalisation Awareness Network has empowered local practitioners to address the spread of radicalized individuals and recruitment, including by tackling the pressing phenomenon of foreign fighters (IP/13/59). A Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online has been up and running since 2012, with currently 53 countries dedicated to improve victim identification, to prosecute perpetrators more successfully, to increase awareness and to reduce the number of child sexual abuse images available online (IP/12/1308).


In November 2010 the European Commission presented the EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe (IP/10/1535 and MEMO/10/598).

The 2010-2014 strategy, which comes to an end, set out a shared agenda for Member States, the European Parliament and EU agencies to address key challenges for the security of the EU1: serious organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, border security, and the management of natural and man-made disasters.

Taking account of the Communication on the future agenda for Home Affairs ("An open and Secure Europe: Making it Happen" - IP/14/234) and of the European Council guidelines to be adopted in June, the Commission will present in early 2015 a Communication on a renewed strategy for 2015-2020.

To gather the views of all interested actors the Commission will organise a high level conference (on 29 September) with representatives from Member States, the European Parliament, private sector, civil society and academia. A public consultation will also be launched in June.

Useful Links

Final implementation report of the EU Internal Security Strategy (2010-2014)

Cecilia Malmström's website

Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter

DG Home Affairs website

Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter

Contacts :

Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)

Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

1 :

The five strategic objectives are (1) the disruption of international criminal networks, (2) the prevention of terrorism and addressing radicalisation and recruitment, (3) raising levels of security for citizens and businesses in cyberspace, (4) strengthening security through border management and (5) increasing Europe's resilience to crises and disasters.

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