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Our news and views

Individual articles written by SECURITY EUROPE

First-responder communities still casting about for common terms & references for disaster response and crisis management

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – At the latest meeting of the European Commission’s Community of Users (CoU) on disaster response and crisis management, held here on 12-14 September, first-responders grappled with the question of how to make European societies more resilient when public emergencies and natural catastrophes strike. The need is great, as once-rare disasters become more frequent, said participants. “Before, disasters were happening every four to five years,” Dr William Hynes, managing director of the Dublin-based research consulting firm, Future Analytics, told the conference. “Now they happen annually.” One big problem is that few experts...

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The UK and Europe: an inescapable security partnership

The news in the UK is almost exclusively about Brexit and “leadership,” and usually both in the same breath. In an attempt to show leadership, the UK government of Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a series of papers which can be seen as laying out ‘Why Europe needs us’.

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Update on tenders and calls-for-proposals in EU security (18/10/2017)

1. Framework contract for the supply of handheld equipment for border surveillance and border checks — Required thermal cameras shall be handheld, uncooled thermal imagers having binocular output image projector used to generate image seen by both eyes of the user. — The cameras should enable medium range surveillance capabilities during foot or vehicle patrols in European climatic conditions. — …

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EU Security Research Projects Awarded (18/10/2017)

NEWLY AWARDED PROJECTS: RESPOND: Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond RESPOND is a comprehensive study of migration governance in the wake of the 2015 Refugee Crisis. Bringing together 14 partners from 7 disciplines, the project probes policy-making processes and policy (in)coherence through comparative research in source, transit and destination countries. RESPOND analyses migration governance across macro (transnational, …

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Upcoming European security conferences & exhibits (18/10/2017)

Here are some upcoming events related to European civil security we think readers should be aware of: Europol – ENISA Internet of Things Security Conference 18-19 October 2017, The Hague, The Netherlands European Commission-EDA Information Exchange and Match-Making Event 7 November 2017, Brussels, Belgium High Level Conference on Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation 8-9 November 2017, Krakow, Poland Security Research, Innovation …

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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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