5 Security research
|Commission Communication on the implementation of the Preparatory Action on the enhancement of the European industrial potential in the field of security research, towards a programme to advance European security through Research and Technology
|Document originated||3 February 2004
|Deposited in Parliament||12 February 2004
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||EM of 26 February 2004
|Previous Committee Report||None
|To be discussed in Council||No date set
|Committee's assessment||Legally and politically important
|Committee's decision||Not cleared; further information requested
5.1 In December, we considered a paper by the Secretary-General/High
Representative, Mr Javier Solana, called "A Secure Europe
in a Better World".
It set out a proposed European Security Strategy. The Strategy
was adopted by the European Council at its meeting on 12/13 December.
5.2 The Strategy identifies five key threats to the
- proliferation of weapons of mass destruction;
- regional conflicts;
- State failure; and
- organised crime.
The Strategy goes on to propose three strategic objectives
for tackling the threats:
- addressing the key issues;
- building security in the EU's neighbouring states;
- an international order based on effective multilateralism.
The paper discusses ways to achieve these objectives.
5.3 Neither the European Security Strategy nor the
Conclusions of the European Council of 12/13 December mentioned
security research. But the Commission's Communication of March
2003, "Towards an EU Defence Equipment Policy",
"The setting up of the European Research Area
demonstrated that the Union and the Member States would derive
greater benefits from national research programmes if they were
better coordinated, something which is also true of advanced security-related
To this end
the Commission will ask national
administrations, industry and research institutions with extensive
activity in this area to identify in the course of this year an
European agenda for advanced research relating to global security
and the most appropriate ways of tackling it jointly.
"To prepare for the implementation of this advanced
research agenda, the Commission intends to launch a preparatory
project that it would implement with the Member States and industry
to implement some specific aspects that would be particularly
useful in carrying out Petersberg tasks. This preliminary operation
lasting no more than three years would constitute a pilot phase
for acquiring the experience for evaluating the conditions and
arrangements needed for effective cooperation between national
research programmes in the field of global security. It will
cover just a few carefully selected subjects of advanced technology
together with specific accompanying measures."
5.4 Article 157(1) of the EC Treaty provides that:
"The Community and Member States shall ensure
that the conditions necessary for the competitiveness of the Community's
industry exist. For that purpose, in accordance with a system
of open and competitive markets, their action shall be aimed at
fostering better exploitation of the industrial potential
of policies of innovation, research and technological development."
In pursuit of the objectives set out in paragraph
(1) of the Article, Article 157(2) requires Member States to consult
each other "in liaison with the Commission" and, where
necessary, to coordinate their action. The Commission is given
discretion to "take any useful initiative to promote such
5.5 These provisions are in Title XVI (Industry)
of the Treaty. They are distinct from the provisions of Title
XVIII (Research and Technological Development), which includes
provision for the EU's Framework Programme for research and technological
5.6 The Commission's Communication says that achieving
the three key objectives of the European Security Strategy will
require the EU to have the most technologically advanced means
of anticipating and dealing with threats to security:
"Europe needs to invest in a 'security culture'
that harnesses the combined and relatively untapped strengths
of the 'security' industry and the research community in order
to effectively and innovatively address existing and future security
The Commission is, therefore, launching this "Preparatory
a view to the establishment of a comprehensive European Security
Research Programme from 2007. The Commission says that the legal
base for the Programme will be decided nearer the time, "taking
into account the developments with respect to a future Constitutional
Treaty, including the creation of an Agency in the field of defence
capabilities, research, acquisition and armaments, the seventh
research Framework programme and other relevant issues".
5.7 The Commission has been allocated 15
million under Article 157 of the EC Treaty for work on the Preparatory
Action in 2004; it hopes to obtain approval for a further 50
million to support the work in the subsequent two years.
5.8 The Commission says that the EU has technological
strengths in many areas but there are:
- duplication and fragmentation
of structures and programmes;
- problems of interoperability and cost-efficiency
of security systems;
- "unrealised potential for the cross-fertilisation
of ideas and results between the civil and non-civil security-related
research fields"; and
- under-investment in security-related research.
5.9 The Commission says that, after its consultations
with Member States, industry and others, the following have been
identified as priorities for research as part of the Preparatory
- "Improving situation
awareness" identifying the main threats that
could affect, for example, the EU's land and sea borders, and
gathering, analysing and disseminating relevant information.
Projects could include the demonstration of electronic equipment
to locate and track goods and people.
- "Optimising security and protection of
networked systems" analysing networks (such as
transport, communications and electronic commercial systems) to
identify their vulnerability and ways to make them secure against
threats. Projects could include the demonstration of equipment
to detect, prevent and respond to threats.
- "Protecting against terrorism (including
bio-terrorism and incidents with biological, chemical and other
substances)" projects could include the demonstration
of sensors and decontamination equipment.
- "Enhancing crisis management (including
evacuation, search and rescue operations, active agents control
and remediation)" projects could cover ways to
prevent, prepare for and manage crises.
- "Achieving interoperability and integrated
systems for information and communication" projects
could include the development of standards for internationally
operable communication, control and command systems.
In addition, the Commission foresees the need for
up to ten "supporting activities" each year to, for
example, survey good practice in screening goods and people, identify
social and psychological ways to reduce risks, and study the feasibility
of European security information systems.
5.10 The Commission will invite proposals for projects
this month and will award the research contracts in the second
half of 2004.
5.11 The Commission will make regular reports to
the Council, Member States and the European Parliament on the
progress of the work.
5.12 The Commission has established a "Group
of Personalities" to advise on longer-term requirements for
security research. The Group is chaired by two Commissioners
and includes chief executives from industry and research institutes,
"high level European political figures" and MEPs. The
Group is to prepare a report setting out its proposals for security
research in Europe, which will be the subject of a Commission
Communication later this year.
The Government's view
5.13 The Minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (Mr Denis MacShane) tells us that the Government welcomes,
in principle, the proposal for work on security research. It
also recognises the potential benefits to European industry.
But the Government has some concerns about the Commission's approach.
5.14 The Minister says:
"The Government considers it important that
the Commission limits its work to the area of civilian security
research which falls under its competence. Research on defence-related
security issues falls under the competence of Member States.
Respecting this competence divide is particularly important as,
in November 2003, the European Council agreed to create a capability
development agency to oversee all aspects of collaborative defence
capability development, including Research and Technology. We
also believe it is essential that the Commission starts to liaise
more closely than it has so far with Member States and the relevant
bodies of the Council. In particular, it needs to focus on understanding,
and reflect in its planning, existing activity and agreed priorities
in the area of justice and home affairs. If there is insufficient
consultation, there is a risk that work undertaken in the Preparatory
Action will have no real customer."
The Minister adds that the Government has told the
Commission about its concerns and called on it to ensure that
it fully informs and consults Member States and the relevant Council
5.15 We have four main concerns about the Commission's
5.16 First, it contains no definition of "security
research", so the scope of the work to be done under the
Preparatory Action and any subsequent Security Research Programme
is unclear. In places, the Communication seems to be about research
directed to the achievement of the objectives of the European
Security Strategy. But in other places the document seems to
stem from "Towards an EU Defence Equipment Policy",
from the EU Initiative for Growth and from the Community's objectives
for justice and home affairs and competitiveness. We recognise
that these objectives can be mutually supportive but the primary
purpose of and the justification for the Commission's
proposal for "security research" is obscure.
5.17 Second, it appears that the funding approved
for the Preparatory Action in 2004 has been provided under Article
157 of the EC Treaty (Title XVI Industry). But Article
163(3) provides that "All Community activities under this
Treaty in the area of research and technological development,
including demonstration projects, shall be decided on and implemented
in accordance with the provisions of this Title" (that is,
Title XVIII). On the face of it, therefore, the proposal for
"security research" should be dealt with under Title
XVIII and not under any other.
5.18 Third, because of the absence of a clear
definition of "security research", it appears to us
that there is the risk of muddle and confusion between the EU's
priorities for justice and home affairs and the Commission's objectives
for the Preparatory Action.
5.19 Fourth, we share the Minister's view that
the Commission should limit its work to civilian security research;
defence-related security issues are within the competence of Member
States. It follows that neither the Preparatory Action nor any
subsequent European Security Research Programme should include
5.20 We ask the Minister to put our points to
the Commission and to tell us its response both to the concerns
he has already registered with it and the further concerns we
have expressed. In our view, the Government should seek to prevent
approval being given for the funding of the second and third year
of the Preparatory Action if the Commission fails to provide satisfactory
5.21 We shall keep the document under scrutiny
pending the Minister's response.
9 (25085) -; see HC 42-i (2003-04), para 22 (3 December
(24451) 8484/03; see HC 63-xxiii (2002-03), para 22 (4 June 2003). Back
See pages 16 and 17 of "Towards an EU Defence Equipment Policy".
"Petersberg tasks" include humanitarian and rescue
tasks, peace-keeping tasks and the tasks of combat forces in crisis-
management, including peace-making. Back
"Preparatory Actions" are intended to prepare proposals
for adoption by the EU. Back