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Stories in this edition of SECURITY EUROPE

EU defence agency studies technology with civil security potential

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The European Defence Agency (EDA) will soon be reviewing bids in response to one of its tenders to investigate a new kind of technology to protect military air platforms and other targets from attack. The technology could have direct applications for civil security end-users such as police, border control and law enforcement agencies as well – though that would only be a knock-on effect of the research contract since its primary purpose is to benefit Europe’s militaries. The EDA’s call for bids on the future work has just closed. Though its budget is modest, the technological implications are far-reaching since the goal is to scientifically investigate how to...

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Criminals groups getting rich quick using value-added tax fraud

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Every year criminal groups steal some 50 billion euros from EU government treasuries through value-added tax (VAT) fraud, according to EU officials. Very worryingly, some of the stolen funds support terrorist networks and organisations like the Islamic State. That was the sobering message emerging from the “Film Night on Terrorism and Tax”, an event hosted by the European Commission’s taxation and customs union policy department on 5 September whose highlight was the screening of two documentaries. One of these explored how...

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International body proposes a plan for authorising drone flights, but operators may choose to fly under the radar instead

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The plague of unmanned aerial vehicles – otherwise known as UAVs, or simply ‘drones’ – continues over European airports. In mid-August, UK police issued a statement saying that commercial flights approaching Newcastle Airport were placed in a holding pattern after a drone was spotted. The drone was not tracked, and its operator was not identified. Elsewhere, Sweden’s busiest airport, Arlanda, suspended flights four times in August in response to rogue drone flights, while its second-busiest airport of Bromma has halted its operations three times. In response, national authorities are racing to find ways to police drone activity, while allowing responsible operators to develop fully the drone industry’s vast commercial possibilities. Toward that goal, on 31 July the...

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Draft report lobbies for “DG-Defence” at European Commission

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The European Commission should create a directorate-general for defence (DG Defence), says a new draft text from the European Parliament. Claiming that the EU needs “to take its destiny into its own hands” with a common defence policy for its member states, the report also advocates setting aside money for “a fully-fledged defence [sub] budget” from the EU’s next multi-year general budget, starting in 2021. The report will be debated with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s defence and security policy chief, during the parliament’s plenary session in early December – just prior to a gathering of EU leaders where they are expected to review their collective defence initiatives to date. Put together in late July, the draft report by...

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Latest gathering of “community of users” brainstorms to improve European security and disaster resilience techniques

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – On 12 September, members of the “Community of Users on Secure, Safe and Resilient Societies”, or CoU, gathered at their eighth meeting in Brussels to discuss the results of a half-dozen security-related research projects. (See related “EPISECC” story in this issue.) Olivier Onidi, second in charge for security policy at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), led off the three-day conference by addressing its “user” participants, or practitioners who deal with European security and emergency response every day. “Your work is critical in guiding us, and to help us accelerate the market uptake of different research tools and results,” declared Onidi, who noted that every EU member state wants to conduct more research on...

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Two EU-funded research projects aiming to establish a ‘common information space’ among emergency first-responders

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – Emergency responders in countries such as Italy and Spain face the same potential catastrophes such as earthquakes, but they remain deeply local in how they respond to disasters. The fragmentation is not just national. Local emergency responders such as firefighters, police, and border control officers often have trouble talking among themselves because they use different protocols and communications systems. Developing an efficient means of information exchange would not just improve the cross-border EU response to natural disasters. It would also improve the ways the local EU responders confront emergencies, making for faster response times and saving lives. During the past several years, two EU-funded projects have developed complementary projects for plugging the gaps that exist between cross-border responders as well as between cross-organisational responders such as firefighters, emergency medical responders and police. One is...

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EU close to reaching its migrant relocation targets as Commission ponders how to tighten Europe’s external borders

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – On 5 September, the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the European Council had not overstepped its authority when it adopted its plan in September 2015 to relocate 120,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other European countries over a two-year period. With its ruling, the ECJ dismissed a lawsuit brought by Hungary and Slovakia alleging that the relocation programme was unlawful. In his reaction to the ECJ’s decision, Hungary Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó did not mince his words, calling it “outrageous and irresponsible”. For Szijjártó, “politics has raped European law.” Other responses were more...

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Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (18/09/2017)

1. Command, control and communication applied to multinational medical support The aim of this study is to provide an analysis of the requirements, capabilities and interoperability constraints driving military medical C4I decision-making structures in a multinational operational. It seeks recommendations for improving decision-making regarding medical C4I roles, responsibilities, authorities and their interaction at an operational and tactical level. The estimated …

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (18/09/2017)

NEWLY AWARDED PROJECTS: I-LEAD: Innovation – Law Enforcement Agencies Dialogue I-LEAD’s focus is on the inability of law enforcement agency (LEA) practitioners to define their needs for innovation. I-LEAD will build the capacity to monitor the security research and technology market in order to ensure better matching and uptake of innovations by law enforcement agencies with the overarching aim of …

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Upcoming European security conferences & exhibits (18/09/2017)

Here are some upcoming events related to European civil security we think readers should be aware of: Fifth Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector 19 September 2017, Thessaloniki, Greece Europol Intellectual Property Crime Conference 19-20 September 2017, Antwerp, Belgium 6th SAFA Regulators and Industry Forum 21-22 September 2017, Köln, Germany Cyber Security Week 2017 25-29 …

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