The Internal Security Strategy

Trends in the EU’s internal security situation include serious and organised crime exacerbated by the economic crisis, shifting trafficking routes, synthetic drugs, and cybercrime, according to a Commission Report that came out last week.
The EU’s Internal Security Strategy (ISS) will be updated for the period 2015-2020 and will seek to address these challenges.

The Internal Security Strategy

The ISS, adopted by the Council in February 2010, sought to create a uniform approach to European security. The strategy has five strategic objectives:

Disruption of international criminal networks: Three key actions were defined in the ISS in the field of international crime networks: (1) to identify and dismantle criminal networks, (2) to protect the economy against criminal infiltration and (3) to confiscate criminal assets. Several actions have been taken in order to fulfil these objectives.
Prevention of terrorism and addressing radicalisation and recruitment: In order to address the terrorist threat, the ISS identified three key actions: (1) to empower communities to prevent radicalisation and recruitment, (2) to cut off terrorist’s access to funding and materials and follow their transactions and (3) to protect transport.
Raising levels of security for citizens and businesses in cyberspace: In the field of cyberspace security, the ISS focused on the following key actions: (1) to build capacity in law enforcement and the judiciary, (2) to work with industry to empower and protect citizens and (3) to improve capability for dealing with cyber-attacks.
Strengthening security through border management: The ISS identified four key actions concerning border management: (1) to exploit the full potential of EUROSUR, (2) to enhance the contribution of Frontex at the external borders, (3) to undertake common risk management for movement of goods across external borders and (4) to improve inter-agency cooperation at national level.
Increasing Europe’s resilience to crises and disasters: In order to increase Europe’s resilience to crises and disasters, the ISS called for four key actions: (1) to make full use of the solidarity clause, (2) to develop an all hazard approach to threat and risk assessments, (3) to link the different situation awareness centres and (4) to develop a European Emergency Response Capacity for tackling disasters.

Key Achievements So Far

The Report highlights key achievements made in tackling security threats.

Disruption of International Crime Networks

In the field of drug trafficking, a new EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 was adopted in 2012. Two proposals for a Directive and a Regulation on new psychoactive substances were presented by the Commission in 2013 and approved by the European Parliament in April 2014. In addition, a Europol Drugs Markets Report (EMCDDA) was published in January 2013.
An EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016 was adopted and an EU Civil Society Platform against trafficking in human beings was set up in 2013. Furthermore, a Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography entered into force in December 2011.
In order to tackle the profit-driven motivation of crime, Asset Recovery Offices (AROs) have been set up in Member States. Proposals for the 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive and for a Fund Transfer Regulation have been presented and an agreement on a new Directive on the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime has been found. For the first time, an EU Anti-Corruption report was published in February 2014.

Actions Against Terrorism, Radicalisation and Recruitment

Several actions have been taken in the field of cooperation with communities, local authorities and civil society. A Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) was established in September 2011 in order to connect people involved in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism throughout Europe. A Communication on preventing radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism was presented in January 2014.
In the field of security and dangerous goods, the Commission adopted in January 2013 a Regulation on the marketing and use for explosives precursors. The Regulation, which aims at establishing a tighter regulatory regime for high-risk chemical explosives precursors to reduce their accessibility to the general public, will apply from 2 September 2014.


In 2013, the Commission adopted a Directive on attacks against information systems which aims at harmonizing the criminal law of Member States on these offences. Furthermore, a Directive proposal on network and information security was presented by the Commission in February 2013, with the objective of strengthening national resilience and increasing cooperation on cyber incidents.
A European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol was launched in 2013. It focuses on providing greater international coordination in the fight against online fraud, child sexual abuse and other forms of cyber-criminality.

Border Management

The European External Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) entered into force in December 2013. It consists in a surveillance system which aims to reduce the illegal immigration, prevent cross-border crime and ensure the protection of migrant’s lives at the external borders of the Schengen area.
A new Schengen governance package was adopted in 2013. This package allows a quicker adoption of a new evaluation mechanism in order to verify the application of Schengen rules by Member States and amends the Schengen Border Code in giving greater clarification to the conditions under which Member States can reintroduce control at internal borders. Furthermore, a second generation of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) was introduced in April 2013.

Resilience to Crises and Disasters

A joint proposal from the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) for a Council Decision on the implementation of the solidarity clause (Article 222 TFUE) was adopted by the Council on 24 June 2014. According to the Council, this will provide for a close cooperation of all relevant actors at national and European level in the case of a terrorist attack or of a natural or man-made disaster.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was revised in December 2013 in order to better respond to the natural and man-made disasters. Furthermore, the Council adopted Integrated Political Crisis Response (ICPR) arrangements in June 2013, which aim at reinforcing the EU’s ability to take rapid decisions when facing major emergencies requiring a response at European political level.

Key Future Challenges

The June 2014 Report then expands on emerging trends that will require new actions.  With regards to serious and organised crime, the Commission is concerned by the threats it poses to the formal economy, exacerbated by the economic crisis and resulting changes in consumer demand which have also led to shifts in criminal markets.
International trade routes and the freedom of movement within the EU could lead to a shift in trafficking routes across a number of commodities (e.g. heroin, trafficking in human beings). While illicit drugs remains the main area of activity for organised crime, economic crimes, and fraud in particular, have increased significantly and fraud is largely facilitated by the availability of enhanced communication technologies which enable online targeting of individuals and companies.
According to the Commission synthetic drugs and cybercrime, are growing despite the efforts made at national, EU and international level to tackle them. Others, such as trafficking in human beings and cocaine trafficking, while not growing as significantly are likely to remain a serious challenge for the EU in the coming years.
Another major emerging threat is the rise in organised environmental crimes, notably the trafficking of illicit waste and trafficking of endangered species. The EU is considered as a major destination and transit country for trafficked endangered species and illegal waste is being trafficked within the EU and to destinations outside the EU.
Specialised organised crime groups are active in this crime area. Further steps will need to be determined on the basis of: (a) various instruments; (b) coordinated existing enforcement actions on environmental crime involving several bodies/agencies - Europol, Eurojust, Interpol and UNODC; (c) the recent Commission Communication on wildlife trafficking including a stakeholder consultation, as well as (d) efforts of EnviCrimeNet to elaborate a strategy and operational actions.

Key Actions

The Commission will inter alia continue to work on the following actions:

Disruption of International Crime Networks

• Implement the EU Policy Cycle against serious and organised crime 2014-2017;
• Assess how organised crime invests in the economy and identify the vulnerabilities of the licit economy for crime such as corruption and money laundering;
• Follow up the first EU anti-corruption report including its country chapters and thematic chapter on public procurement and prepare for the second report to be published in 2016;
• Support the rapid adoption of legislation such as the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, aimed at addressing financial and economic crimes and inter alia preventing the
misuse of the financial system by disguising the origin of criminal proceeds or channelling money for terrorist purposes;
• Consider proposing a directive on criminalisation of Money Laundering introducing a certain level of approximation of definitions and sanctions based on art. 83(1) TFEU;
• Implement the 2013-2020 EU Drugs strategy and support the rapid adoption of the legislation on new psychoactive substances;
• Implement the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016. With a view to achieving this, the mandate of the EU Anti Trafficking Coordinator should be prolonged


With regards to cybercrime, the Commission highlights the ease for citizens to become cybercriminals in recent years as the relevant tools are available online in user-friendly versions at reasonable prices. Many forms of serious and organised crimes may also be made easier to carry out due to digital currencies and online platforms.
The Commission believes the number of cyber-attacks is likely to increase in the coming years, despite measures to fight cybercrime and strengthen cyber security requiring more operational capacity to fight cybercrime.
The Commission also feels that the under-reporting of cybercrime by victims, the difficulties tracking cyber criminals, concerns regarding mutual legal assistance on cybercrime and jurisdiction in cyberspace, all need to be addressed.
The Commission will inter alia continue to work on the following actions, in cooperation with all relevant actors:
• Implement the EU Cybersecurity Strategy;
• Further support to the work of the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol;
• Further assist Member States in developing their own capabilities to fight cybercrime. (national cybercrime centres);
• Support the adoption of the proposed Directive laying down measures to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the EU and pursue the new mandate of ENISA;
• Support the adoption and application of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime;
• Support, develop and enlarge the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online;
• Develop further together with EC3 the cooperation with partners outside the EU and with the private sector to strengthen the response.

Terrorism, Radicalisation and Recruitment

The Commission believes that terrorism, radicalisation will pose a serious challenge to the EU in the future, pointing out that during 2012, there were more than 200 completed or failed terrorist attacks in the EU. Increasingly there may be risks to soft targets and a worrying trend with young people going to other countries such as Syria to become foreign fighters. On return, a few of them could pose a serious security threat to the EU.
The Commission will inter alia continue to work on the following actions, in cooperation with all relevant actors:
• Orient its preventive activities in line with the Communication on Preventing Radicalisation to Terrorism and Violent Extremism;
• Continue support to the work of the Radicalisation Awareness Network and create a European Knowledge Hub to facilitate the exchange of practices and expertise, to steer research and support stakeholders in their efforts to prevent radicalisation to terrorism and violent extremism;
• Support better training and development of interoperable forces to respond to terrorist attacks including addressing the need for common equipment if necessary;
• Implement the new approach to the detection and mitigation of CBRN-E risks at EU level;
• Further developing risk assessment capability in the area of aviation security and as appropriate in other priority domains, for example customs;
• Implement the new approach to the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) and the four pilot cases;
• Support preparedness capacity by establishing a modular crisis management exercises programme.

Border Management

Finally, with regards to the strengthening of external borders, the Commission anticipates further increases of numbers of people coming to the EU is expected, and the import and export of goods. Abuses should be prevented and situations where a Member State is not fulfilling its obligations to control its section of the external borders should be tackled effectively, while ensuring that appropriate solidarity mechanisms are in place to support those Member States that face increased pressure due to their geographical location, and the patterns of travel flows and migratory routes.

The Commission will inter alia continue to work on the following actions:
• Support the adoption of the proposed EU Smart Borders Package consisting of a European;
Entry/Exit System and a Registered Travellers Programme;
• Continue its support together with EU-LISA to an effective operation of SIS II;
• Explore the feasibility of establishing a European System of Border Guards;
• Devise a strategy and action plan for the security of the supply chain and risk management, and contribute to its implementation.
Future work will focus on the implementation of legislation and consolidation of achievements, as well as enhanced practical cooperation. According to the Commission there is also a need to ensure complementarity between Member States’ national funding programmes and EU actions.

Next Steps

A Communication on the renewal of the Internal Security Strategy is expected to be presented by the Commission, after consultations with stakeholders and a High-Level Conference in autumn 2014.
According to the Commission, the renewed ISS should maintain its citizen centred approach and maintain the five strategic objectives from 2010 and focus on reviewing the actions under each objective for 2015-2020 to identify new actions to address the emerging threats and challenges in the field of internal security.
The renewed ISS should reinforce the integration of fundamental rights within internal security and make improve the link between internal and external security to make it more operational.
The new strategy will also encourage a multidisciplinary and integrated approach improving synergies between Home Affairs and other policy areas related to internal security. More efforts will be needed, to improve cooperation between the different actors in this sector. An EU Internal Security Consultative Forum to be run by the Commission together with Member States, European Parliament, EU agencies, representatives of civil society, academia and of the private sector is being considered to that end.