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Individual articles written by SECURITY EUROPE

Time for EU28 to take more harmonised approach to rail security

By BROOKS TIGNER LONDON – Though terrorists have targeted Europe’s rail transport for the past 10 years, the EU has no overall mandate for rail security and safety.There are signs that may be changing – finally. The growing security threats from migrants camped at the Chunnel rail entrance in Calais for more than a year is one factor, as was the 13 November attack on Paris, with the immediate decision by France to implement regular security checks on selected train routes across its territory. Above all, there was the failed terrorist attack in August 2015 to kill passengers on a European high-speed TGV train.Together these incidents have created political pressure to discuss rail security at European level. The test of that political determination, however, will come in summer 2016 when the Commission will...

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First report on EU maritime security strategy indicates lacklustre results, as threats from irregular migration and terrorism mount

By BROOKS TIGNER LONDON – One year after the launch in November 2014 of the EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) action plan, the European Commission has received its first “report card” on the strategy’s implementation – and the results are decidedly mixed, if not worrisome.There have been some positive developments for a couple of the strategy’s five work strands – but they are the easiest to do and the least threatening ones to national sovereignty. But progress in the two strands most needed for hiking the member states’ collective security is still stymied by national reluctance to share information and to work together in a harmonised way. Just as bad, barely more than half of the 28 EU nations submitted their report to the Commission on how they are implementing the strategy.Of particular worry is the member states’ poor understanding of cyber security in the maritime sector and their inability to carry out global maritime risk management. So acute is the Commission’s concern about the latter that it will launch in 2016 a...

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Europe and its citizens must take back control over their data

Data is the new gold and currency of the 21st century. As a system supported by the taxes of its citizens, it should secure – first and foremost – the value of those capabilities that will create new and aggregated services: the data of persons, machines and situations.Indeed, information technology has invaded all aspects of our lives, except policymaking…where politicians and the 'democratic process' of voting every four years have become irrelevant for the control of data. This is a spectre haunting Europe: it is the full retreat of our political elite and the inadvertent sell-out of our digital infrastructure and future services and applications – paid for us, the European taxpayers. This situation no longer protects the interests of Europe’s citizens.What to do?...

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Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (18/01/2016)

H2020 Security Research calls
1. Support for judicial cooperation in criminal matters aiming to fight terrorism by preventing radicalisation The aim is to promote judicial cooperation in criminal matters to fight against radicalisation that leads to violent extremism and to counter terrorism. Duplications of already existing initiatives will not be funded. Applicants shall explain and demonstrate how their proposals are aligned with the respective EU policies and with the documents published by the European Commission. The degree of relevance to the priorities of the call for proposals will be assessed under the relevance award criterion.Priority shall be given to the following actions in particular:
  1. Prevention of radicalisation in prisons, in particular concerning: choice and organisation of prison regimes to prevent radicalisation (e.g. how inmates are housed, whether they are segregated from or integrated into the general prison population); development of de-radicalisation, disengagement and rehabilitation programmes to be used in prison; role of religious/ethical/moral counselling of inmates to help creating a counter narrative and to promote and provide support for individual de-radicalisation processes;
  2. development of tools providing assistance of prison staff dealing with radicalised offenders.
  3. Promotion of alternatives to detention and exploration of the role of probation at EU level in the fight against radicalisation leading to violent extremism, in particular concerning development of de-radicalisation, disengagement and rehabilitation programmes which could be used outside the prison context (e.g. during criminal proceedings as a condition to drop prosecution before a court, as a condition to release from pre-trial detention, as a condition for a suspended prison sentence, as part of a prison sentence or in case of conditional release).
Development of risk assessment methodologies which could be used by prison administrations and judges and prosecutors (e.g. how to detect signs of radicalisation, how to distinguish between different types of terrorist suspects and their motivations, how to collaborate with law enforcement authorities, intelligence services and probation services in this respect).The role of juvenile justice systems in the counter-terrorism context.The cooperation between prosecutors of different Member States for the application of certain judicial cooperation instruments on issues related to counter terrorism and organised crime will be covered by JUST/2015/JCOO/AF/CRIM call.The estimated value of calls is a maximum of EUR 5.000.000 Deadline: 19 January 2016 Contact: DG Justice Email: EC-JUSTICE-CALLS@ec.europa.eu Call documentation and application forms can be found here

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (18/01/2016)

COMRADES - Collective Platform for Community Resilience and Social Innovation during Crises Response to crisis often reveals organisational and technological shortcomings, which threaten community recovery and sustainability. Even though some technological solutions exist, challenges of communication, interoperability, and data analytics remain. The deployment and use of technologies, and the social structures in which they are adopted, are interdependent. Hence it is imperative to develop human-centred technologies that take into account actual real world practices of affected populations and responders.The rise of social media as an information channel during crisis has become key to community resilience and response. However, existing crisis awareness applications, such as Ushahidi, while vital for information gathering, often struggle to address the challenges of real-time social data analysis and aggregation of crisis micro-events, and filtering of unverified content and reporters.This project will build an intelligent collective resilience platform to help communities to reconnect, respond, and recover from crisis situations. COMRADES will achieve this through an interdisciplinary, socio-technical approach, which will draw on the latest advances in computational social science, social computing, real-time analytics, text and social media analysis, and Linked Open Data. The open source COMRADES platform will go beyond the now standard data collection, mapping, and manual analysis functions provided by the underpinning, widely used Ushahidi crisis mapping tool, to include new intelligent algorithms aimed at helping communities, citizens, and humanitarian services with analysing, verifying, monitoring, and responding to emergency events.Start date: 2016-01-01 End date: 2018-12-31 Total cost: EUR 1.999.021 EU contribution: EUR 1.999.021 Project coordinator: The Open University, United Kingdom

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Europe’s security industry now faces complex drone scenarios

By CHRIS DALBY, with BROOKS TIGNERBRASSCHAAT, Belgium – Unmanned aerial, ground, and maritime vehicles with sophisticated self-governing capabilities are fast becoming a reality. Soon they will also have the ability to operate in all-weather conditions and night-time, make accurate 3D maps of complete structures, fly indoors, search and identify people, and fly in swarms. (see Euro-View commentary on swarm threats in this issue)While this holds out many benefits to society, there is also the risk of malicious intent. “We have seen there is more technical empowerment now for those wishing to carry out attacks via cyber threats to critical infrastructure, biochemical homemade weapons, and the use of drones,” Yvan De Mesmaeker, head of the European Corporate Security Association (ECSA), told a 9 December gathering of Belgian police, justice and defence ministry officials, EU officials, diplomats and industry representatives.The EU aims to constrict the malicious use of drones as much as possible. The European Commission’s new aviation strategy, unveiled on 7 December, includes measures to control drones of all sizes, their use and ownership via either direct regulation or interventionary action (“market mechanisms”) based on consumer-complaint procedures or competition between manufacturers.But, as one intelligence analyst told the Brasschaat meeting, “it must be remembered that those looking to commit terrorist acts with UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] will...

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Brussels after Paris: Belgium pledges robust security and seeks trust from the business community to move forward

By TERI SCHULTZ BRUSSELS – Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon’s first year on the job hasn’t been easy. It started with the January Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris and its links back to Belgium and the discovery of an Islamist ring planning to kill local police. And it ends on the dark events of Paris on 13 November, with a finger of blame pointing at Belgium for being home to numerous perpetrators.“Unfortunately, 2015 will be remembered in Belgium as a year of almost continuous threats of terrorism,” Jambon told the British Chamber of Commerce here on 15 December.The Belgian government is now trying to better equip itself to fight terrorism. It pushed through a dozen new measures in January 2015 and now, according to Jambon, aims for...

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Terrorist threats in Europe reorders priorities for EU’s border controls

By TERI SCHULTZBRUSSELS — Enthusiasm was muted when the European Commission’s “Smart Borders” package was first presented in February 2013. It was touted by the Commission as a way to "enhance mobility and security” regarding the travel of third-country nationals entering the Schengen zone, and a tool to fight irregular migration and better track those people overstaying their visas. But many in the EU, and particularly members of the European Parliament (EP), were reluctant to pursue the increased border controls due in part to its perceived high-cost/low-value ratio and privacy concerns about the retention of data collected.But after the murderous jihadist-driven events of 2015 – the Charlie Hebdo killings of January, various terrorist plots in Belgium, the failed shooting spree in August on a high-speed train and the multiple attacks in Paris in November – that reluctance is now out the window, along with a reversal of attitudes about the crucial necessity for...

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Educators discuss how to keep would-be foreign fighters in the fold

By TERI SCHULTZ, with BROOKS TIGNERBRUSSELS – With Belgium under intense scrutiny for producing some of the perpetrators of the November 13 attacks in Paris, authorities are searching for methods to keep youths from becoming so disaffected they cultivate murderous plans. Two experts recently offered their suggestions for achieving that: a Belgian educator changing the way she talks about “values” so that all her students can better relate to the wider world, and a US Muslim woman who is actively exposing extremists in her own community.Both recounted their experiences during a 1 December event here jointly hosted by the European Institute of Peace, the U.S Mission to the EU and the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).Karin Heremans, co-chair of the working group on education within the EU’s Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and principal of Antwerp’s Royal Atheneum School, dates her first experience with the issue of radicalisation back to 9/11, when she’d been at her school job for just 10 days. She wanted to hold a moment of silence at the school for the US victims but found some students unwilling to participate out of the school’s composition of 60 nationalities. “There were a lot of tensions and it was not possible,” she said, adding that the only way to handle the situation was to “expand it and hold it for all victims of extremism all over the world”.Fifteen years later – in the wake of the 13 November attacks in Paris – Heremans observed that...

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