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Monthly Free Article

Monthly Free Article

Ukraine clears EU visa hurdle, but tougher tests still to come

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – What are the prospects for developing relations between the war-torn state of Ukraine and the European Union? A mixed bag, to hear experts describe it. While most acknowledge that the country has adopted an impressive range of reforms, dark clouds remain on the horizon, with one EU politician arguing that the most difficult institutional changes in Ukraine have only just begun.Experts and policymakers gathered on 27 April under the auspices of...

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Hope for internet-of-things’ glorious future grapples with security

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – By 2020 more than 200 billion devices will be connected to cyberspace, forming the internet-of-things (IoT), according to industry estimates. Many of those will connect to their users through sensors monitoring everything from location and air quality to heart rate. On 19 and 20 April, Internet policymakers and experts gathered at the Eighth Annual Internet of Things Conference here to discuss how the proliferation of connected sensor devices is changing Europe.As one European Commission official put it: “In a few years, the data that your car transmits could be more valuable than the car itself.”In response, the Commission has begun to implement a regulatory framework intended to spur innovation. This includes...

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Journey without end: if human smuggling and high migrant flows are here to stay, as some surmise, then what policy implications?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – In its latest annual risk analysis, Frontex – the EU’s border and coast guard agency – estimates that 382,000 people migrated to EU member states in 2016. That is down from 2015’s record number, but it remains huge by historical standards. In addition, 181,459 people arrived in Italy, or 18 percent more than in 2015, with big increases in flows from West Africa.Will these migrant flows ever go down? Or will they continue, putting pressure on European borders and national European politics for years to come?According to one group, the answer is...

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‘Culture of risk’ proponents seek to improve societal resilience

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – In the broadest sense, ‘culture’ refers to how different people use different means to achieve the same goals. For example, some will grow rice to eat, and others will grow wheat. And in a crisis, different groups of people tend to respond differently. Some people will call a national telephone hotline. Others will walk to the local pub, to see what their neighbours are saying or doing. As floodwaters rise, some will wait for government action. Others will grab a shovel and a sandbag. Exploring how individuals and communities respond to crises, and how such different cultural responses can help societies remain resilient, was the focus of...

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Commission’s latest report on migrant flows is very mixed picture

By PATRICK STEPHENSON,BRUSSELS – The European Commission released its 9th progress report on relocation and resettlement on 8 February. The periodic report tracks the EU’s progress in transferring migrants and refugees from overcrowded processing centres and ‘hotspots’ in Greece and Italy to other member states. The verdict? Despite the EU press service’s headline about ‘encouraging results,’ the numbers buried in the report suggest deep and ongoing...

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While Commission drone regulations slowly get off the ground, untrained drone operators in Europe fly far, fast and frequently

By PATRICK STEPHENSONBRUSSELS – Once the preserve of aviation hobbyists, drones now hold big promise for many key industries. Better and smaller cameras and electronics, internet and satellite communication, and lighter and cheaper materials have all made drones suitable for tasks as varied as monitoring agricultural yields, inspecting off-shore oil platforms in the high north, or helping police secure porous land and maritime borders. By 2035, the total industry – including leisure and toy drones, commercial or government drones, and military drones – will generate more that EUR 10 billion a year, creating over 100,000 jobs. Most of that growth will come in the commercial and government sector, as analysts see the leisure and toy sector approaching maturity. According to manufacturers, trainers, and operators, however, the Commission must...

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As drone applications spread, so does need for rules & security

By EMILY SMITH, with BROOKS TIGNERBRUSSELS – Drones are spreading across the entire range of applications, from package deliveries to the front door to death on the battlefield. And few regions of the world are developing these applications in greater numbers than in Europe, as seen during the latest semi-annual gathering of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) officials from government and industry here during 6-7 December organised by Paris-based UVS International.The conference focused heavily on the stark differences between various types of drones, from toy and hobby models to heavier industrial ones, and how to regulate them. As usual, the European Aviation Safety Agency gave an update on the EU’s package of future rules for unmanned aircraft and the planned operation-centric approach to regulating them. There were few surprises in its presentation or those by European Commission officials, in view of the package’s slow pace and complexity.More interesting was the conference’s specialised “splinter” sessions, and particularly those that focused on...

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Public safety forum pens deal with global ICT body to contribute to 5G and wireless advances to boost first-responder capabilities

By PATRICK STEPHENSONBRUSSELS –The Public Safety Communication Europe (PSCE) forum of public safety organizations, based here, signed a deal with the “3rd Generation Partnership Project” (3GPP), the body that sets global mobile broadband and wireless telecommunication standards. PSCE is now a ‘market representation partner’ within 3GPP. With the agreement, it can now suggest recommendations to 3GPP regarding matters of public protection and disaster relief (PPDR).What may seem like an acronym love-fest actually has important implications for...

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EU project studying “pinch points” to deflect lone wolf attacks

By CHRIS DALBY, with BROOKS TIGNERBRUSSELS – Europe faces a daunting mix of terrorist threats, from groups to so-called “lone wolf” antagonists acting alone. And as the infamous assault-weapon murder of 69 people in July 2011 by a Norwegian right-winger bloodily demonstrated, lone actor extremist events (LAEEs) can be just as devastating as those planned by larger cells.One group of researchers is looking into the complicated issue of how, once an LAEE starts, to identify...

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New project looks at prevention and preparedness methods to combat the spread of pathogen threats in transport hubs

By ADELA CEJNAROVABRUSSELS – Mass transportation plays a significant role in the spread of infectious diseases. The environment is ideal – large numbers of passengers in an enclosed space with very high contact rates. Moreover, air travel enables pathogens to spread quickly not only within different communities but between regions.How to prevent or minimise and manage pathogen incidents in transport hubs is the focus of study for the EU-funded security project, PANDHUB. Launched in November 2014 as a three-year project, it is a few months shy of its mid-way point. With a budget of EUR 4 million (EU contribution: nearly 80 percent), its six-strong consortium is led by Finland’s national VTT Technical Research Centre.SECURITY EUROPE recently spoke with Ilpo Kulmala, PANDHUB’s coordinator, about the project’s progress so far.While the project’s primary aim is to tackle the spread of naturally occurring pathogens, Kulmala said it must also...

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