Security Union: Significant progress and tangible results over past years but efforts must continue

31 Oct 2019 12:14 PM

The European Commission is taking stock of the progress made in the past years towards achieving an effective and genuine Security Union. The report presented yesterday recaps the initiatives taken by the Commission in some of the key areas of the Security Union including, the fight against terrorism, information exchange, countering radicalisation and cybersecurity, while noting that further efforts are needed, in particular on the implementation of EU security legislation. In the context of the Christchurch attack in March 2019, the Commission is also recommending the EU start negotiations with New Zealand on the exchange of personal data with Europol to fight serious crime and terrorism. 

Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday said: 

“The security of European citizens has been an absolute priority for this Commission from day one. Building on the European Agenda on Security, we established an effective and genuine Security Union – built on trust, sharing resources, and facing threats together. We can be proud of many tangible results - such as EU security laws to better track down dangerous criminals, combat terrorism – online and offline and limit access to firearms - but the most important is the change of our security mentality. I call on Member States to ensure that the EU security rules are enforced and our citizens better protected.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King yesterday said:

“Over the past few years, we have made substantial progress in enhancing our collective security. It is by working together and responding in a coordinated way that we can best address today's complex and multi-faceted security challenges from terrorism, cybercrime and disinformation. But there is more to do. We need to continue our efforts to close down the space in which terrorists operate – offline and online, within the EU and beyond. I look forward to the Council's green light to start negotiations with New Zealand, a strategic partner in the fight against serious crime and terrorism.” 

Progress under key pillars of the Security Union

Yesterday's report outlines the progress made on the priority security legislative files as well as recent initiatives taken to ensure security of European citizens both offline and online. The report in particular focuses on:

Finally, the Commission has been stepping up cooperation and information exchange with other partner countries, organisations and relevant stakeholders – key in building an effective and genuine Security Union. The Commission is recommending that the Council authorise the opening of negotiations for an agreement to allow for exchange of personal data between Europol and New Zealand authorities responsible for fighting serious crime and terrorism. While similar negotiations are already ongoing with 8 priority countries in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, the Commission considers it necessary to start such negotiations with New Zealand, adding it to the list of priority countries. The agreement would ensure the necessary data protection, privacy, fundamental rights and freedoms safeguards.

Click here for the full press release