European industry leaders and EU policymakers call for budget boost for Security Research

March 16, 2004

Brussels, 15 March 2004

A high-level group of top European industry executives and policymakers formally presented their report today to Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission. The report entitled, "Research for a Secure Europe", describes the need for increased European funding and co-ordination in security research. It also outlines 12 recommendations for the future, including an urgent call for a minimum of €1 billion to be spent annually to develop technology in this area. The group, chaired by European Commissioners Philippe Busquin (Research) and Erkki Liikanen (Enterprise and Information Society), was convened last October in order to present their vision for a future European Security Research Programme from 2007.

President Prodi welcomed the report: "Last Thursday's tragic events in Madrid remind us of the urgency and importance of being prepared against old and new threats to our security. It shows that the damaging effects on the daily life of the European citizens can be enormous. This report opens a new area of activity in which the added value of closer cooperation, joint efforts and increased investment at EU level is indisputable. That is why we have included security research in our blueprint for the EU's financial perspectives for 2007 - 2013."

"Technology alone cannot guarantee security, but security without technology is impossible, "said European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin: "With our €65 million preparatory action on security research and recommendations made by these industrial and political leaders, we are paving the way for an ambitious European security research programme by 2007."

"Today's Report confirms the need to match Europe's security ambition with a vision setting out how we can mobilise our industrial and research skills to bring this about", said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "By taking forward this new research agenda we can strengthen the Union's security, boost European competitiveness and bridge the gap between civil and defence research. Electronics, information technology and telecommunications are at the heart of solutions to current security challenges. We welcome this Report which will allow us to reinforce the Union's well-established strengths in this area."

The who's who in European Security

The high-level group or "Group of Personalities") in the field of security research was brought together to help identify the main guidelines of a forthcoming "European Security Research Programme" (ESRP) and set the tone for a truly European approach in this domain.

The Group is composed of top European political figures, serving Members of the European Parliament, European security and defence industry chief executive officers (CEOs), heads of major research institutes, high-level European defence ministry officials, senior officials from international defence organizations.

Delegates, including Mr Javier Solana, the High Representative for the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), also participated in the group's work.

New risks need new solutions

The Group's Report describes how geo-political, social and technological developments have created a security environment where risks and vulnerabilities are more diverse, less visible and require a "comprehensive European security approach". This approach would address security-related needs inside as well as outside EU borders and combine civil and military means. The Report stresses that the EU needs to develop new technological capabilities to protect its citizens at home as well as being capable of deploying resources for activities outside the Union.

Protecting European citizens

The forthcoming "European Security Research Programme" would fund the development of security systems and products to ensure:

  • The protection of EU Member States' territories, domestic population, and critical infrastructure against security threats.

  • The success of EU-missions outside the Union for peacekeeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Ready for peace

According to the Report, technology should provide leverage for making the most of our security potential, as a 'force enabler' for a safer Europe. To achieve this would require state-of-the-art know how, high tech industries, a strong knowledge infrastructure, appropriate funding and an optimal use of resources. The Report argues that while Europe has world-class research institutes and a strong industrial base to address security requirements, the institutional and political level does not always follow suit. This may prevent Europe from reaching its full potential. Specific weaknesses mentioned in the Report include:

  • Artificial divide between defence and civil research;

  • Lack of specific schemes for security research at the EU level;

  • Limited co-operation between EU Member States;

  • Lack of co-ordination among national and European efforts.
These deficiencies are said to "exacerbate the lack of public research funding and present major obstacles to delivering cost-effective solutions."

The price of security

The Report emphasises that an ESRP should not replace, nor duplicate Member State's efforts, but rather support and complement them. A Community-funded ESRP, as proposed in the Report, would have a minimum annual budget of €1 billion with the possibility of a further increase.

In line with the objective for the EU to raise spending in research from 1,9% to 3% of EU average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2010, ESRP money would add to funding from the EU Research Framework Programme, national or other intergovernmental sources. This spending level would bring the combined EU (EU, national and intergovernmental) security research investment closer to that of the U.S.

Laying the groundwork

The ESRP is set to build on a test phase or "Preparatory Action" on security research that will run from 2004 to 2006. Experience and knowledge gained from this phase will help ensure that a future Programme will be optimally designed and appropriately funded. The first call for proposals for the Preparatory Action will be published in March 2004. Over the coming year, €15 million has been allocated to fund six to eight projects and other supporting activities. The overall budget of the preparatory action amounts to €65 million.

For more information:


The Report of the Group of Personalities in the field of Security Research gives the following twelve recommendations:

    A EU-funded ESRP that ensures the involvement of all Member States should be launched as early as 2007. Its minimum funding should be set at €1 billion per year in addition to existing funding. This spending level should be rapidly achieved, with the possibility to increase it further to bring the combined European security research investment level closer to that of the U.S.

    An ESRP should fund research projects that boost Europe's security capability for applications particularly relating to Internal Security in the EU and for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)/European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)-missions.

    In closing the gap between civil and defence research, an ESRP should seek to maximize the benefits of different aspects of technology. In order to stimulate synergies, it should encourage transformation, integration of applications and technology transfer from one sector to the other.

    An ESRP should focus on interoperability and connectivity as key elements of cross-border and inter-service co-operation, so as to ensure communication between different security agencies across Europe in case of emergencies. In this context, a set of rules and standards should be worked out at an early stage.

    The rules governing an ESRP must suit the specificities of security research. The Commission should develop the necessary rules for intellectual property rights (IPRs) and technology transfer in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

    Recognising that many requirements will be specified by governments, new financing instruments should be created to enable research funding to be allocated, when appropriate, to cover 100% of costs.

    A 'Security Research Advisory Board' should be established to draw strategic guidelines to prepare the research agenda of an ESRP as well as to advise on the principles and mechanisms for its implementation. Moreover, it should identify critical technology areas where Europe should aim for an independent competitive capability. The Board should consist of high-level experts including public and private customers, industry, research organizations and any other relevant stakeholders.

    A definition of customer needs will be key for the successful implementation of an ESRP. A mechanism should therefore be established at EU level to identify, in consultation with potential customers, future capability needs for Internal Security missions.

    Effective co-ordination must make sure that the ESRP does not duplicate, but instead complements other European research activities whether funded at the EU, national or intergovernmental level.

    The Commission and the Council of Ministers should ensure an effective and efficient liaison between an ESRP and the future 'Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments'.

    The ESRP should take into account and, where appropriate, co-ordinate the research efforts of international organizations with the responsibilities associated with global or regional security issues.

    An ESRP should aim at fostering competitiveness in European security industries and stimulating the market development of public and private security products and systems. Implementing the Proposals for Action put forward in the Commission's Communication 'Towards a European defence equipment market' would greatly help to achieve this objective and maximize the benefits of an ESRP.


The Group of Personalities in the field of Security Research

Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden

Philippe Busquin, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Research

Jan Dekker, President TNO Management Board (until November 2003)

Thomas Diehl, President and CEO, Diehl Stiftung & Co.

Pier-Francesco Guarguaglini, Chairman and CEO, Finmeccanica

François Heisbourg, Director, Fondation Recherche Stratégique

Rainer Hertrich, CEO, EADS

Philippe Kourilsky, President, Institut Pasteur

Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society

Erik Löwenadler, President, Ericsson Microwave Systems

Eryl McNally, Member of the European Parliament

Javier Monzón, Chairman and CEO, INDRA

Ilias Pentazos, Director General, Defence Industry, Research & Technology, Hellenic Ministry of Defence

Denis Ranque, Chairman and CEO, THALES

Maria João Rodrigues, President ISCTE, Lisbon

Christian Rovsing, Member of the European Parliament

Mike Turner, CEO, BAE Systems

Elly Plooij- van Gorsel, Member of the European Parliament

Marc Vankeirsbilck, Belgian Ministry of Defence

Karl von Wogau, Member of the European Parliament

Claus Weyrich, Senior Vice President, Siemens

Victor Aguado, Director General, EUROCONTROL

Nazzareno Cardinali, Director, OCCAR

Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General, European Space Agency

Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

Ernst Van Hoek, Chairman, WEAG/WEAO

DN: IP/04/335 Date: 15/03/2004

Please login or register to read this article.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments