Defence and Security policy
a) The defence policy of the European Union relies first and foremost on the implementation of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PeSCo). This instrument was established by the Lisbon Treaty, which introduces the possibility for a core group of European Union states to develop their collaboration in the field of defence. It was activated in 2017 by a large group of 25 Member States (excluding only the United Kingdom, Denmark and Malta). The PeSCo enables a group of Member States to take reciprocal commitments regarding the increase and the coordination of their defence expenditures, to the participation in the European weapons cooperation programmes and the strengthening of their armies’ operational capacities. A second mechanism has meanwhile been set up, the European Defence Fund, in order to finance research in the military field (€13 billion). And in June 2018, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) was launched, bringing together 9 countries to conduct joint external interventions.
In addition, a model for regulating and defending cyberspace on a European scale should be sought. Indeed, cyberspace has become a place of confrontation where offensive actions against the computer systems of States, critical infrastructures or companies of strategic interest have become daily and can now absolutely and irrefutably impact our defences and internal security, as well as causing systemic effects on the functioning of our societies. There is no doubt that these attacks will soon become lethal. Thus, the EDP must become a force for proposals so that, at European level, an effective criminal response to cybercrime is provided, a shared culture of IT security is promoted and contribute to a reliable and secure digital Europe.
b) The fight against the terrorist threat:
Today – and in recent years – security constitutes the primary concern for all the citizens of the European Union, especially following multiple terror attacks on European soil. The terrorist threat is changing constantly and rapidly. It is a polymorphic, endogenous and exogenous threat. It is also a multifaceted threat as there exists a multitude of forms of terrorism: the so-called “Islamist” terrorist but also extreme right and extreme left terrorism. If we would like to effectively fight against this threat, that attacks our European values, we have to provide effective, multiple and coordinated answers!
The terrorist threat concerns us all: it affects the European Union as a whole as the terrorists can very easily cross physical and intangible borders! Thus, it is essential to give European responses so that our Union can build a real space of freedom, security and justice.
Our recommendations are as follows:
- We have to base all our policies of fighting against terrorism on a key principle: the balance between the need for security and the respect for fundamental rights and European values! In the face of obscurantism, in the face of the denial of our European values, we have to defend fundamental rights and to respect our democratic values! The protection of privacy is a fundamental right, we have to reject the development of a society based on general surveillance in which everyone would be considered a suspect!
- We have to maximise the added value of the European Union with regard to the exchange of information and cooperation! We cannot fight against the terrorist threat without cooperating and exchanging information. The EU has a major role to play here! This should be accomplished through the use and strengthening of the European agencies, for example through making Europol a truly European police authority with a real power of initiative. Regarding intelligence services, the EDP welcomes the establishment of the European Intelligence Academy (Académie du Renseignement) as a first important step to enhance the cooperation, in order to achieve in the long term, the creation of a true European intelligence agency!
- We have to fight the root causes by intensifying our anti-radicalisation efforts! We cannot limit our answer to security policies! We have to engage in a real analysis of our society: on integration, on social welfare, on employment; in order to understand why citizens, and in particular young people, are becoming more radical. Combating radicalisation also requires tackling the channels through which terrorist propaganda is disseminated, both on the Internet and in prison. We must pool all resources and knowledge and use them for the timely detection and prevention of radicalism and for de-radicalisation, where radicalisation is already present.
- We have to deprive terrorists of their funding and their means of action! To prevent the terrorist attacks, we have to target the root of the problem: the funding. For this reason, we have to fight on multiple fronts, as terrorist organisations do. The EU also has to pursue its policies in advance in order to stay one step ahead of the terrorists, for instance through regulating cryptocurrencies that emerge.
- We have to convict the terrorists: towards greater harmonisation between the Member States! In recent months, after the fall of the Caliphate, the crucial question of ""returnees"" and the trial of persons arrested in Syria, Iraq or on Kurdish territory has been raised. The one for people coming out of prison too. Everyone must be judged and has rights. States cannot ignore it. The Union must act, by harmonising sanctions within States, and by providing for minimum penalties! We must also extend the powers of the future European Public Prosecutor's Office to serious transnational crime and terrorism!
- Strengthening the control of the external borders of the EU even further: The need to protect our external borders must not in any way encourage the development of a confusion between migration and terrorism: let us not forget that 70% of attacks are carried out by European citizens! Nevertheless, our Union must protect its external borders, in particular through the Europeanisation of Frontex, the European Coast Guard and Border Guard Agency!