A political priority without industrial dimension
Security has become one of the key policy priorities of the EU. To counter threats from terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime, illegal migration or natural disasters, the Union has put forward numerous security-related initiatives and instruments, such as the Internal Security Fund or the Integrated Border Management Fund.
However, none of the security-related EU policies includes an industrial dimension. This is remarkable since there is a systemic link between security, technology and industry: In our complex and connected societies, security threats can only be tackled with security solutions based on or supported by technology. Yet, without a competitive European industry, it is not possible to develop these technologies and translate them into concrete security applications.
At the same time, the security market in Europe suffers from deficiencies that weaken the technological and industrial base needed to develop the necessary security capabilities: The absence of common rules and standards, the lack of coordination between a multitude of customers with very different needs and expectations, limited procurement budgets and the non-existence of long-term capability planning or technology foresight – all this makes it very difficult for companies to build viable business cases in particular for complex and technologically advanced security solutions.
The strategic importance of security industry
This is not only an economic, but a strategic problem: In particular when critical infrastructures and state institutions need to be protected against possible threats from state- or state-supported actors, it is crucial to use technologies, services and equipment developed from trustworthy sources. An appropriate level of autonomy and non-dependence from third-country suppliers should therefore be in itself a major European security interest. This implies the existence of a vibrant security industry in Europe.
ASD therefore advocates for a genuine European security industrial strategy based on the following principles:
- The existence of an innovative security industry is of strategic importance for the Union;
- Security is a sovereignty issue, which cannot be left to market forces alone;
- Political action should focus on the main weaknesses of the security sector in Europe: fragmentation of the demand side, lack of long-term planning for technologies and capabilities and flawed interoperability.
Such a strategy should follow a holistic, long-term approach and mainstream the industrial dimension into all security-related EU instruments.