The European Commission has assessed the progress made so far towards achieving an effective, comprehensive EU Security Union.
The Commission’s 20th progress report details the measures implemented thus far in key priority areas of the Security Union; and outlines recommendations for further action. In the wake of the Christchurch mass shooting in New Zealand in March 2019, the Commission particularly recommends that the Council of the EU authorise negotiations between the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol and its New Zealand counterpart; with the aim of allowing freer exchange of personal data between the two agencies, within the constraints of the necessary data protection and fundamental rights regulations.
Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King 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.”
The Commission’s report on the Security Union focuses on key areas including:
- Work conducted to minimise the propagation of terrorist content and disinformation online;
- Improvements in the co-ordination and exchange of information between Member States;
- Enhanced cybersecurity resilience across the EU; and
- Co-operative agreements on counterterrorism and border management with neighbouring Balkan states, including Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Commissioner for Migration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos 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.”
While progress has overall been positive, the Commission notes further measures which should be taken to enshrine the Security Union; focusing particularly on the continued implementation by all Member States of EU legislation governing access to firearms and money laundering.