Home / Our Analyses / The EU and member states are preparing – finally – to concretely tackle Europe’s longstanding fragmentation in its security market

The EU and member states are preparing – finally – to concretely tackle Europe’s longstanding fragmentation in its security market

By BROOKS TIGNER , TALLINN, Estonia – The EU’s 12-year old Security Research programme is at a turning point in its history. Not only is it reaching the end of its second seven-year cycle, but the billions it has spent on research projects since 2007 must now prove their worth. As Matthias Reute, head of DG-HOME, the European Commission’s justice and home affairs policy department that oversees the programme, told the EU’s annual security conference here on 14-15 November: “Citizens now have a right demand a return on this investment.” Indeed, the pressure has been building for the EU and its national governments to visibly exploit the technologies and capabilities developed by the programme’s huge diversity of security projects, most of which have sat on the shelf. The fault lies with both government and industry due to the highly fragmented nature of Europe’s civil security sector and its mosaic of national markets. Two big policy development are now under way to address the fragmentation via the demand side. The first will be a far stronger emphasis on…

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Impact of EU’s forthcoming defence fund riddled with unknowns

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The rhetoric of EU and national leaders kow-tows incessantly to the vitality and importance of SMEs – small and medium sized enterprises – for Europe’s economic innovation and job-creating potential. Yet successful innovative SMEs in the EU that soar to become giants on the world stage are few and far between. There are a couple of Skype-type exceptions, but too many of Europe’s “garage” inventors who have a good idea, particularly in the digital field, head for the greener pastures of the USA where bureaucratic obstacles are lower, returns higher and venture capitalists more willing to take risks than their European counterparts. This points directly to the EU’s forthcoming European Defence Fund (EDF) and how it will generate high-tech results within the framework of PESCO, the permanent structured cooperation in defence that 23 EU member states (and counting) will set in motion in 2018. Such projects will necessarily have to draw in dual-use innovations from the commercial realm. A critical acid test for the defence fund will be to what extent it enables SMEs with interesting dual-use products in one PESCO country to...