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This NDA international conference looked at the EU’s strategy for collective security and whether it is on track. After several hours of intense debate, it was clear that the EU has the makings of a security strategy. The voices of the European institutions, Europe’s defence industry and the US were all heard loud and clear. Perhaps more could have been seen of the member states, particularly as several speakers declared that they were the ones in the driving seat when it came to implementation.
If one topic of the conference could be identified as “more work to be done”, it was in the area of co-operation and consolidation. Commissioner Günter Verheugen called for greater coordination of Europe’s defence industry, an increased focus on R&D and more support for European centres of excellence. Commissioner Franco Frattini spotlighted the need for greater interoperability between the intelligence services and the law enforcement agencies, and called for an open and frank dialogue with Muslim countries.
The European Commission’s Jorge Bento Silva prescribed an investment-oriented growth approach based on an alliance with the private sector. He wanted it to go beyond the standard public-private partnerships, to ensure security of all the EU’s vital sectors. However, the private sector was not totally happy with the situation, as EADS’ Markus Hellenthal wanted the implementation of both national and EU-wide policies that avoided fragmentation. Commissioner Verheugen was not in high spirits either, and insisted that he would not stand for inefficient defence spending. Defining the EU’s role, de Vries said he wanted it to support the member states, not supplant them, while EADS’ Jean-Louis Gergorin argued that the degree of cooperation was “insufficient” across the board.
Commissioner Verheugen insisted that it was not his job to reorganise industry, but rather to provide a framework that allowed whatever rationalisation was necessary. Northrop Grumman International’s James Moseman listed some of the deals that already been done and pointedly added, “If you’re going to buy it, you may as well use it”. The Director of the EU Risk Analysis Centre Ilkka Laitinen outlined the fundamental objectives of a border management system and reminded the audience that technology was not a panacea, the solution required “systematic management systems and risk analysis from the local to the EU level”.
Several speakers, including de Vries, the European Parliament’s Elmar Brok and Commissioner Frattini, claimed that an approved Constitution would help the fight against terror in terms of bringing the various institutions together. In that regard, the Brookings Institution’s Richard Falkenrath argued forcefully that the US had successfully taken down the “wall” between law enforcement and the intelligence services, post 9/11. Falkenrath was also at a loss to see why the EU planned to spend 1 billion euros per year on research, when it was avoiding taking some of the obvious necessary steps to combat terrorism. It was certainly not all plain sailing and Geoffrey Van Orden, speaking in his role as the UK Conservative Party’s spokesman in the European Parliament on defence and security policy, accused the EU of simply creating work for itself. In terms of security and defence, he saw no reason for the EU to take any action whatsoever, as NATO had all the tools required. Karl von Wogau dismissed this as a minority view, in the European Parliament at least, and argued for an external border policy that went beyond Schengen.
As the discussion raged, Commissioner Verheugen bemoaned the level of debate in Europe, which he described as “intellectually poor”, while NATO’s Diego Ruiz Palmer was of the opinion that a strategy could not be defined on the back of an envelope. Falkenrath wanted to know who was in charge in Europe and Moseman insisted that Europe had a choice, it could either duplicate the US’s actions or complement them. Both Falkenrath and Ruiz Palmer agreed that Europe faced a very real threat, and other visitors to the podium sought to identify the root causes of terrorism. Gergorin identified ways by which recruitment could be reduced, while Brok saw the seeds of the problem in colonial history, where the Islamic culture had not been respected.
Looking at the transatlantic picture, Falkenrath listed several actions that the US had taken post 9/11 and Commissioner Verheugen warned against Europe criticising the US without first examining its own activities. NATO’s Jamie Shea went straight to the point and identified how NATO could assist in the big picture – it was doing fine, but could do better. Perhaps, though, Commissioner Verheugen made the most pointed remark, early in the conference, when he warned that if Europe did not accurately understand its role and responsibilities, it could never decide want was needed in order to achieve those objectives.
Winding up the conference, the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator, Gijs de Vries, listed his priorities:
· Defence of Europe’s critical infrastructure · Disaster management and civil protection · Identification of the root causes of the radicalisation of terrorists · Examination of the reasons for “stagnating societies”
Keynote Address: Günter Verheugen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
Commissioner Verheugen was quick to make a strategic point; due to enlargement and other “dramatic changes” in Europe, he argued that the character of European integration had changed. Insisting that a deepening of the EU was not a problem, as it was the consequence of its widening, Commissioner Verheugen gave two pertinent examples:
· Turkey, with negotiations planned for 2005: its integration within the EU could only work if a genuine and comprehensive foreign and security policy was in place
· The recent Ukraine crisis: where the EU was represented by Poland’s President Kwasniewski and Lithuania’s President Adamkus; this showed that the EU’s responsibilities were widening and that countries to the east (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova – and especially - Russia, etc.) could never again be ignored
The Commissioner concluded that Europe was on the way to becoming “a global power”. Assuring his audience that Europe did not need to be a global power of the US variety, Commissioner Verheugen looked forward to a strategic partnership between the EU and the US. In that regard, he dismissed observers who criticised the US, preferring EU actors to look at their own activities in order to determine why the partnership was not functioning correctly. Looking to the future, Commissioner Verheugen argued that the EU needed to add more “robust power” to its soft powers, and be more active in peacekeeping both internally and externally. Furthermore, he wanted a serious debate on a new transatlantic agenda, in order to clarify what Europe could bring to the party. Commissioner Verheugen was sure that the contribution could be substantial as Europe was: - “the most important partner for the developing world, by far”
- the leading region in the world in terms of the implementation of internationally-agreed environmental policies
- the largest trading bloc in the world
- a world leader in many technologies
The Commissioner expressed some disappointment that US had not reacted more positively to the EU’s enlargement, because he emphasised that it had brought stability to a significant part of Eastern Europe. However, Commissioner Verheugen was 100% convinced that, with the combination of European and American capacities, the threats of global terrorism and the systematic violation of human rights could be successfully tackled. Moving on to what Europe could do, Commissioner Verheugen highlighted the need to increase co-operation among the member states in fields ranging from intelligence sharing to law enforcement and the monitoring of financial assets. He also described the need to address the economy’s dependence on its interconnected infrastructure in transport and energy, and the importance of supporting the industrial base necessary to provide adequate security systems, military equipment and civil crisis management capabilities. With his new responsibilities in mind, the Commissioner looked at the collective security picture in Europe from an industry perspective:
· a “dynamic and competitive European defence industry” had to created by the implementation of “concrete measures”, e.g. the creation of the European Defence Agency
· “high-tech security solutions” were required; with the Preparatory Action for Security Research (PASR) due to play a significant role in that regard, e.g. new intelligence systems that safeguarded civil liberties, the protection of networked systems, improved situation awareness, etc.
· space programmes: the Global Monitoring of Environment and Security programme (GMES) could contribute to securing the provision of critical information
· civil-military synergies: Europe needed increased R&D investments not only in defence and security, but also in civil technologies
But the Commissioner wanted to be clear; business had to take the decisions to invest in R&D, to train its workers and to develop new products. The EU and other public authorities could only help to create the right framework in which business could operate. In this regard, the Commissioner stated that this had been a key principle of the communication issued on the new Lisbon Agenda (February 2, 2005). Outlining the Commission’s work on impact assessment studies and a green paper (in the defence sector), the Commissioner stressed the industry’s importance (with a turnover of more than $55 billion), including the role played by its many SME’s. The flexibility and innovation of the latter group were important assets in facing new security threats. Acknowledging that the European defence industry had much lower defence budgets than the US, Commissioner Verheugen said he could accept that fact, but he could not accept that Europe was not spending money in the most efficient way. That had to be changed “immediately”, which implied greater coordination, an increased focus on R&D and more support for European centres of excellence. The Commissioner warned that the European defence industry would lose market share if it could not develop military capabilities similar to its competitors. He had no time for protectionism, dismissing the use of Article 296 of Treaty , and called for consolidation and restructuring - on both the supply and demand sides – across Europe. In particular, he described the need for restructuring, especially in land-based equipment and shipbuilding. As for R&D, the Commissioner saw the European Defence Agency playing a key role by encouraging procurement and research activities at the European level. The Commissioner concluded by listing what Europe needed in terms of industrial capabilities in the civil, security and defence areas.
· A dynamic industry to support the necessary innovative solutions
· A competitive industry to provide affordable capabilities for conflict prevention, humanitarian and peace missions and the fight against terrorism
· A strong industry to create a zone of stability and help the emergence of a more secure and equitable international order
The Commissioner said he was optimistic that Europe was beginning to accept the need to provide the conditions for its defence industry to make a full contribution to its security aims. By focusing on market and competitiveness issues, he argued that the Commission was committed to playing its part in the collective endeavour and he hoped for a more secure Europe in a more secure world. The Commissioner added that the NDA could inspire a more public and more global debate in this area. He thought that was desperately needed as the “strategic debate was intellectually poor”. Commissioner Verheugen was moved to ask, “If we do not know what the roles and responsibilities of Europe are in the world, we cannot make a proper decision on what is needed in order to achieve those goals?”
Q&A with Commissioner Verheugen:
EADS’ Michel Troubetzkoy wanted to know if all of the PASR’s budget would be spent and was interested in hearing the Commissioner’s comments on research expenditure within the 7th Framework programme (FP7).
Commissioner Verheugen was confident that the money in the PASR’s budget would be spent, as it would receive a high priority within the Commission. As for the FP7, the Commissioner said he had reached agreement with Commissioner Potocnik (Science and Research) and he was certain that sufficient research money would be available. However, that was based on the assumption that the framework programme itself would be supported as expected. Commissioner Verheugen noted that some member states did not want the European Commission to spend more than 1% of the average of Europe’s GNI. Any reductions, he explained, would have to come from structural funds, research or the development programme. Commissioner Verheugen could see problems ahead – but he had agreed with Commissioner Potocnik that the money available for security research would be ring-fenced. But he did insist that any research had to be linked to applications, as he wanted European taxpayers’ money to be spent effectively.
The defence market and the role of the European Commission
The WEU’s Paulo Brito agreed that the European Commission could make proposals but it would eventually be left to the member states to implement any actions, as they had the purchasing power. He could also see problems if the European defence markets were opened up, as US companies would doubtless aim to purchase “European champions”. Brito wanted fair competition and wondered if the Commissioner agreed with that feeling.
Commissioner Verheugen certainly agreed that a level playing field was essential. As for the defence market, he saw it like he saw any other. The Commission’s role was to create a framework by producing internal market rules for the sector, common procurement rules and by standardising. These actions would make the defence market more competitive and more efficient.
But Commissioner Verheugen insisted that any reorganisation of the defence sector could only take place after policies had been agreed. Once policies were in place, industry was capable of reorganising itself. The Commissioner insisted that he would never restructure European industry, as that was not his job or the role of the Commission. He would create a framework within which industry could develop its creativity and competitiveness.
Keynote Address: Franco Frattini, Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission
A holistic approach
Commissioner Frattin i looked at two approaches to fighting terrorism: a military one (including post-intervention scenarios, peace-keeping capabilities, etc.) and a criminal justice approach within a law enforcement framework. He added, though, that they were only two of the methods in use, as the EU was also examining the “social, psychological and anthropological causes of radicalisation and terrorist recruitment in Europe”. Quoting from the Declaration on Human Rights, Commissioner Frattini stated that the fight against terrorism had to be conducted fully within the law, as the greatest strength of democratic societies resided in democracy itself. He listed three fundamental pre-requisites that had to be followed to win the fight against terrorism: a) the civic and democratic support of societies and citizens, b) a resolve to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and c) a unity of purpose and action within Europe and the world at large. The Commissioner confirmed the EU’s support for the UN’s efforts to ensure universal adherence to, and full implementation of, Security Council Resolutions. He added that the EU systematically included counter-terrorism clauses in EU agreements with third countries.
Interoperability – intelligence and the law enforcement services
Commissioner Frattini added two further essential instruments to be used in the fight against terrorism - effective intelligence and law enforcement. They had to be closely linked (within member states and at a European level) and developed in close co-operation with the EU’s counterparts in third countries. The Commissioner argued that the new constitution would make it easier to make progress in integrating these European intelligence and law enforcement efforts.
Moving on to the EU’s “successful co-operation” with the US, the Commissioner highlighted the six agreements concluded since 9/11 in three areas:
· police co-operation: two agreements were concluded between Europol and US law enforcement agencies (the facilitation of inter-alia exchange of liaison officers and one allowing the exchange of personal data)
· judicial criminal co-operation: innovative agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance
· border controls, travel document security and migration management: agreements on container security (CSI) and one on the transfer of passenger data (PNR)
Commissioner Frattini also detailed the agreements made at the EU-US Summit (June 2004), where a comprehensive “Joint Declaration on Combating Terrorism” was adopted. This emphasised counter measures against terrorism financing, improved sharing of information between the law enforcement and intelligence communities and the introduction of secure travel documents (biometrics). On the subject of visa requirements, he added that the EU would press for reciprocal visa free travel for short stays between the US and the EU.
After describing the EU’s links with the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, Commissioner Frattini highlighted the role of NATO, either in a military capacity or in the aftermath as a peacekeeper. He also described the possible co-operation in the area of civil protection against CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) terrorism.
Addressing the root causes of terrorism On the subject of the root causes of terrorism, Commissioner Frattini referred to the preparation of a comprehensive policy document that would include the promotion of cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and which would mainly focus on problems relating to Islamic fundamentalism. He insisted however, that the EU’s “migrant Community integration“ policy would not be put at risk. Describing a comprehensive approach, Commissioner Frattini stated that the Commission would focus on “the understanding and prevention of radicalisation and on ‘protecting fundamental rights from those who aim to attack them by violence’”.
Q & A with Commissioner Frattini
The Commission’s role
The WEU’s Paulo Brito asked the Commissioner for details on the role of the Commission in the fight against terrorism; how would it differ from the actions taken by the Council? Specifically, Brito asked about cross-border initiatives, the European Arrest Warrant (considering Italy’s grave doubts) and the possibility of the Schengen Agreement being enlarged.
The Commissioner stressed the importance of coordination across member states, based on “mutual trust”, in all areas - not just on cross-border issues. He cited the European Arrest Warrant as the first example where all member states had agreed that greater co-operation was essential in the fight against all types of criminality. Giving detail of the Commission’s plans to report to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers on the implementation of the principles of European co-operation, the Commissioner added that Italy was close to definitively approving these principles.
Aid in danger?
For the Friends of Europe, Eberhard Rhein wanted reassurance about development assistance, as he thought there was a danger it would be fragmented.
Here, the Commissioner stressed the need for co-operation with third countries. This would have two facets: a) develop of a package of development aid under the auspices of the Barcelona Agreement and b) agreement on a comprehensive re-admission policy, i.e. full co-operation on illegal immigration.
Is the EU prepared?
Defense News’ Brooks Tigner was concerned about the actions to be taken following an attack. Tigner was of the opinion that the EU lacked a unified policy that brought together the military and civilian ICT systems and intelligence. He thought there could be chaos in the event of a cross-border chemical or biological attack. Shouldn’t there be greater co-ordination of civil and military systems on an EU level?
The Commissioner said that military and civilian databases were being jointly used. Referring to the Commission’s crisis management policy, developed in conjunction with the Council of Ministers, he said that a “comprehensive strategy” did exist. However, he added that it needed strengthening and further proposals were being developed.
Co-ordination across DGs
Thales’ Luigi Rebuffi asked if the Justice, Freedom and Security DG would play a role in coordinating the total Commission security policy in respect to other DGs.
Commissioner Frattini said co-operation with other DGs was essential, especially given the need for the protection of critical infrastructure, e.g. transport and energy. He added that he was working closely with the commissioners responsible for those areas.
Attacking the root causes of terrorism
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Levent Gümrükçü welcomed the Commissioner’s optimism on the improved co-operation with the US and the need to eliminate the root causes of terrorism, and asked for more information on the tools to be employed.
Commissioner Frattini said he wanted more involvement with Muslim countries. A model (for democracy) could not be imposed, but an “open and frank dialogue” was essential.
Session 1: WHAT ARE THE THREATS, AND HOW SHOULD THE EU BE TACKLING THEM?
After the NDA’s Director Giles Merritt welcomed everyone to the conference, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Peter Weilemann outlined the key objectives of the day. After insisting on the need for a common foreign and security policy in Europe - essential for the future of the EU – and acknowledging the “tremendous progress” that had been made, Weilemann called for more debate on the need for a “broad European security culture”. He also argued that any agreed European strategy had to form part of a wider transatlantic approach, with both the EU and NATO playing their part.
At that stage, the European Parliament’s Karl von Wogau took over the reins and touched on Europe’s contribution to defence, where he highlighted three main aspects:
· The Helsinki intervention force: active in Macedonia, the Congo (Operation Artemis) and in Bosnia-Herzegovina
· The battle groups concept: with forces to be ready at short notice
· A contribution to capabilities: following the US’s criticism of Europe’s inefficient expenditure, van Wogau referred to the importance of: a) the EDA, and b) the recommendation to implement an annual research budget of 1 billion euro
Richard Falkenrath, Visiting Fellow, Brookings Institution and former Deputy Assistant and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor to the US President
Richard Falkenrath opened his remarks by comparing the situation in Europe with that in the US. Quoting the examples of the Madrid bombings and the various arrests of suspected terrorists, Falkenrath argued that European citizens were at much greater risk from terrorists’ attacks than their US counterparts. He felt that this was due to the actions that had been taken in the US, post 9/11, which included greater restrictions on travel.
Continuing his comparison, Falkenrath said it was essential to have one person responsible for security. He could not see who was in charge in Europe, and he was in two minds as to whether “Brussels” was a force for improving the security situation or a hindrance to the member states.
So what could be done in Europe?
Falkenrath had time to offer three suggestions:
· There should be a review of the Madrid bombings to see why they were not prevented; he argued that information had been received by Spanish intelligence services but not handed over to those responsible for law enforcement.
· Falkenrath referred to this as the “wall”, and he argued that it had been removed in the US
· A Europe-wide “watch-list” was required, to include both names and biometric data
· Improved screening had to be performed against the watch-list, at key points within the infrastructure
All this lead to Falkenrath’s overall conclusion: terrorists would continue to concentrate on Europe, where it would be much easier to carry out attacks.
Markus Hellenthal, Senior Vice President, Head Line of Business Homeland Security and Member of the Executive Committee of EADS Defence and Communication Systems
Opening his remarks, Markus Hellenthal looked at the two questions on the table: what were the threats and how could the EU deal with them?
Hellenthal outlined the threats (terrorism, toxic poisons, WMDs, regional conflicts, natural disasters, etc.), which opposed civil freedom and liberty. Given that scope, the effective management of the threats was becoming increasingly complex, as vulnerable spots had to managed simultaneously. These included:
· Borders: green and blue, internal and external, airports, ports, etc.
· Mass transportation systems: rail, air, etc.
· Critical infrastructure: energy, telecoms, etc.
· Cyber security: intrusions into key computer networks · Protection at key events: Olympics, World Cup, G8 summits, etc.
Hellenthal added a further factor – the total unpredictability of attacks. This meant that a high level of awareness was essential, linked to appropriate command and control centres, e.g. police, hospitals, military etc. In essence, Hellenthal defined the need for a totally integrated response.
Unfortunately, the picture on the ground was far from ideal. Hellenthal described a situation in the EU that consisted of fragmented approaches at all levels, a lack of coordination, information overkill due to outdated computer systems and poor intelligence sharing. Hellenthal concluded there was much work to be done.
What could be done to meet the threats?
Although he saw the need to improve communications systems, Hellenthal argued that this had to be done as part of a comprehensive security approach that provided real-time collaboration between all agencies, processes and services.
Hellenthal recommended the following actions:
1. Make the European research programme a reality by providing the necessary funding
2. Implement coherent national and EU-wide systems, as fragmented projects could not be allowed
3. The European Border Patrol Agency had to be made effective, despite problems in funding and staffing
And he added that certain issues remained to be tackled by the EU:
1. The creation of common prevention and preparedness policies in law enforcement
2. The creation of interoperable systems, e.g. in data and communication, across boundaries
3. The pooling and coordination of existing and future systems, including intelligence sharing
4. The need to be ready to tackle external crises, and here again, forces had to be able to seamlessly collaborate in real-time.
Diego Ruiz Palmer, Head of Planning Section at the Operations Division, International Staff, NATO
Speaking on a personal basis, Diego Ruiz Palmer viewed the dramatic changes of recent years and saw Brussels – both NATO and the EU - as being a nexus of politics, economics and military capability. The movement of its borders to the east meant that the EU had to come to terms with a greater number of opportunities for engagement and an increasingly complex array of risks. In that respect, he placed mass terror, often with a nihilist dimension, at the top of the list. Ruiz Palmer described a world where people, goods and money, together with epidemics, terrorists and criminals, could travel almost freely from “Vilnius to Vancouver, and perhaps as far as Vladivostok”. This allowed terrorists and their sympathisers to thrive.
Ruiz Palmer described 9/11 as strategic in its scope and global intent. He saw the terrorists who managed the attacks as being functionally stateless and nationless, using mobile phones and the Internet as their global planning tools.
So what could the EU do against such a threat? Ruiz Palmer saw four critical crisis management issues facing the EU. These challenges were:
· The capability challenge: the EU has a myriad of civil and military capabilities, but fragmentation ruled – he asked if the political will existed to reform the welfare state arrangements of the 1960s and 70s to generate the necessary resources for crisis management
· The mental challenge: (the most difficult) – how could the crisis management mindset be created in diplomats, civil servants and military officers? (as it’s a 24/7 business)
· The intellectual challenge: how can intellectual awareness be created ahead of any crisis?
· The organisational challenge: how can such ambition be translated into “lean and robust structures and procedures” that can withstand pressures at times of crisis
In conclusion, Ruiz Palmer referred to NATO’s recently concluded “Crisis Management Exercise”. He had seen that structures and procedures had worked well, with the greatest ga p being the human factor, i.e. how to bring together hundreds of people from 35 countries so that worked in an efficient and focussed manner.
Ruiz Palmer argued that crisis management could not be conducted on the back of an envelope, especially in an organisation such as NATO (or the EU), and that focussing on the interface between people and the institutions was the only way to create the correct mindset in the main actors
Geoffrey Van Orden, UK Conservative party spokesman on defence and security policy
Geoffrey Van Orden had a problem with the session’s title – “What are the threats, and how should the EU be tackling them? Van Orden felt that this was a case of “Brussels” finding a role for itself. He gave the EU’s reaction to 9/11 as an example; saying that the EU simply issued declarations, whereas it would have been preferable for the member states to sign up and implement a whole range of international instruments relating to the suppression of terrorism.
Van Orden also saw no point in the EU pursuing an “autonomous EU military capability” instead of giving its full support to the NATO Alliance. This was dismissed as “duplication” of the perfectly fine NATO arrangements.
Van Orden did not want the EU to issue “tough statements”. He did not want open borders and free movement of people in the current environment, Van Orden wanted “tighter controls on the admission of aliens to (European) countries”. He therefore wanted stronger border controls; a million immigrants had reached the UK in the past seven-eight years, half of them with no historic links to the United Kingdom. Van Orden believed that the influx of refugees concealed radicals who sought safer havens to continue their activities.
He also showed extreme concern about the concept of human security, that was recently being discussed within the Foreign Affairs Committee. Describing this as “social engineering of the military forces”, Van Orden saw this as another example of the EU finding something to do rather then doing something useful.
So what should the EU do about the threats?
Van Orden did see one area – that of “failed states”, where he saw the EU being able to contribute towards nation building. However, in his one example – that of Zimbabwe – he felt that the EU had totally failed to make a positive contribution. Van Orden could only conclude that the EU was finding itself work that it could do, rather then assisting member states to produce a realistic response to the serious security threats.
In his role as moderator, Karl von Wogau seized the opportunity to air his own views, which he insisted were more representative of the majority of the members of the European Parliament. He agreed that the omission of homeland defence in the Solana Paper was a mistake that had to be rectified. Another issue of concern to van Wogau was the need for an external border policy that produced a safe and flexible situation. Schengen standards at EU’s external borders were not the answer, as he saw the need for an improved system, using common equipment at the borders.
First session – Q&A
Total –security – realistic?
After hearing Falkenrath, Ernst Guelcher, a member of the European Parliament’s Green Group, asked if it was really possible to safeguard a rail network that carried thousands of passengers. He also asked Van Orden if it would be his intention to fingerprint the whole Muslim population of certain nations. Belgium, for example, where many Muslims were Belgian nationals.
Richard Falkenrath agreed that rail security could never be made fully secure, but that should not be an excuse for doing anything. In reply to Guelcher, Geoffrey Van Orden said that there had to be a way of ensuring that the situation did not worsen.
The US vs. EU picture
The WEU’s Paulo Brito did not agree with Falkenrath’s comparative views on the situation in US and Europe. For example, Brito argued that there had been no major attacks on London, Paris or Rome. He did not agree with Falkenrath’s assessment of the Madrid bombings as the focus had been on ETA – that’s why they had missed the Islamic terrorists. At least, added Brito, the government of Spain had resigned – unlike in the US where no one had accepted the blame for 9/11.
On the subject of Spain, Falkenrath reiterated his view that the Spanish intelligence services did have the information in regard to the Al Qaida supporters / bombers, but the data was not passed to law enforcement officers due to a bureaucratic “wall”, that existed in most European countries. Falkenrath argued that the US “wall” had been the single main problem that had impacted 9/11, rather than the actions of any individual.
Guelcher also wanted to know how the speakers could bring their recommended actions in line with the need to protect civil liberties.
Falkenrath saw the protection of individual freedoms as something that was often used as an excuse for doing nothing – and he did not accept that. Solutions could be designed that took full regard to the essential civil liberties of each member state. Van Orden said it was a question of balance when one used “special powers”. Overall, he wanted the EU to stop making things worse; it had to create an environment that would allow the correct measures to be taken.
Session 2: Harnessing technology to Europe’s Security
Jean Fournet, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO, opened the second session, which brought together the institutions and representatives of the defence industry. To start the session, Fournet gave the floor to Victor Aguado.
Victor Aguado, Director General, EUROCONTROL
After describing the EUROCONTROL organisation, Victor Aguado singled out aviation as an attractive target for terrorists due to its international dimension. He added that aviation incidents of any kind always warranted the attention of the media, even though the number of such incidents was relatively few in comparison to the total number of fatalities (rail, road, sea and air) in the world. Describing the aviation network as “fragile”, Aguado argued that a minor event (at an airport or related facility) could have a major impact throughout the world.
Taking an historical stance, Aguado looked at the history of hijacks from the thirties through to 9/11. As for that incident, he asked if Europe, like the US, would be genuinely willing to close its airspace and asked who would take that decision. Aguado described the work of EUROCONTROL’s Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU), which gathered together all European flight information. At the time of 9/11, Aguado explained that the CFMU was able to stop any flights departing to the US within four minutes of receiving the request.
Referring to the many types of threats that faced Europe, and giving special emphasis to cyber-attacks as the aviation industry was dependent on technology for air traffic management (ATM), Aguado was another speaker to call for greater intelligence sharing.
From an ATM perspective, Aguado emphasised the need for both safety and security in today’s working environment, and referred to programmes such as Galileo and SESAME . Unlike their predecessors, these programmes would have embedded security.
Aguado concluded that Europe was a fragmented and complex continent, with its liberal markets and open borders. He argued that Europe needed more pan-European functions, greater intelligence sharing and more inter-related networks of information. He added that technologies were enablers for such networks and that EUROCONTROL was ready to assist the decision-makers as an information provider.
Ilkka Laitinen, Head of International Affairs, Frontier Guard Headquarters, Ministry of the Interior, Finland, and Director of EU Risk Analysis Centre (RAC)
Ilkka Laitinen looked at the realm of border management, covering migration, crime prevention and counter-terrorism. In his mind, Laitinen considered border management to be an instrument to be used against certain threats. At the same time, he acknowledged the need to find the right balance between freedom and security.
Turning to Europe, Laitinen considered that three elements had to be kept together:
· The political side: the Constitution has introduced the term “integrated border management system” - the long-term goal of the member states
· The legislative side: the Schengen agreement is being reviewed in the Council in regard to border management
· The co-operation/operational side: the so-called Border Security Agency , will coordinate national measures and cannot be seen as a total solution
Returning to the concept of an integrated border management system, Laitinen listed its six main elements:
1. The legislation itself
2. Compatible equipment across borders
3. Training, where a common curriculum has received political commitment
4. Burden sharing: the possibilities for joint funding and combined teams
5. Joint operations: that have taken place based on a common risk analysis
6. The common risk analysis itself
Referring back to Hellenthal’s call for an integrated security management system, Laitinen saw a significant role in that initiative for an integrated border management system.
Reminding the conference that member states had the ultimate responsibility for border security, Laitinen described the border security model that had been agreed by all EU member states. It had a four-tier structure:
· Actions with third countries: usually by consular officials in conjunction with host-nation staff
· Operational co-operation across borders: with the intention of keeping criminals from crossing borders
· Measures at the borders: including checks (biometric, document checks), surveillance (including night-vision capability, long-range satellite, etc.)
· Risk analysis: to asses threats and to ensure the border situation is understood, including identification of loopholes
Laitinen concluded that technology was not a panacea. There was a requirement for systematic management systems and a rich analysis at local, national and pan-EU levels. This had to include fluent co-operation between all law enforcement bodies.
James Moseman, Director Europe and NATO, Northrop Grumman International
James Moseman spoke from the perspective of products, that were available or under development, to be employed to meet the various threats. As the concept of security widened, Moseman saw the demand widening to cover the requirements of, among others, police, armed forces, border guards, emergency service personnel and citizens travelling across borders.
He described the spectrum of technologies on offer, or under development, as falling within four groups:
· Military systems: command & control, surveillance systems
· Technology designed for cross-border security: some of it derived from military research
· Scanning and testing (verification against databases) tools: mainly employed at ports of entry
· Information technologies: where interoperability between nations and states is essential
On the subject of military systems, Moseman gave a plug for NATO’s plans to acquire ground surveillance systems (70% European and transatlantic in nature). He added that this technology would be available to EU member states under the Berlin+ arrangements. Moseman also described the successful use of unmanned vehicles on the US’s southern borders, where tons of contraband had been seized and many intruders detected.
The key element in making progress on these categories (military and cross-border systems), according to Moseman, was investment. He urged the EU to use the available tools as they had actually paid for much of the research. However, in the areas of verification systems at ports of entry and interoperable systems, Moseman described fundamental problems that were hampering progress. These included:
· Uneven spending by member states
· A lack of coordinated requirements
· Proliferation of standards
· Proliferation of procurement, that could inhibit competition
He forecast that this would lead to products that were, a) late and b) expensive. Moseman also re-introduced the problem of personal privacy and the differences in individual EU national laws (in the areas of effectiveness, ease of transit and the protection of private data). Similarly, Moseman argued that these differences in member states’ views would lead to added complexity and cost.
Overall, Moseman painted a picture where industry was ready to support co-operative action, but where, in reality, interoperable systems could not be developed. He wanted to see the creation of open architectures that would allow the production of collaborative systems with a common definition of gateways and bridges across borders.
Finally, Moseman touched on the subject of the US investment, which had led to significant progress in the development of security technology. He saw the position clearly; European funding (via FP7) could either be used to duplicate US technology in a protected market or to complement the efforts of US companies.
Jorge Bento Silva, Principal Administrator, Fight against terrorism, Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security, European Commission
Jorge Bento Silva gave a comprehensive overview of his DG’s work and the general approach of the Commission in the security sector. Listing the achievements, he mentioned the Action Plan on Terrorism – “a living document” that would be scrutinised regularly, the monitoring role of the Council of Ministers, the appointment of Gijs de Vries as the EU’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the Commission review of priorities.
Looking back at some of the difficulties faced (fighting the financing of terrorism, the protection of critical infrastructure and crisis management implementation – all in co-operation with the Council of Ministers and on-going), he described future actions as moving on to the “sheer impossible”.
Bento Silva also listed several issues that cut across boundaries and were therefore high on the list of actions where a high degree of coordination was necessary. These included:
· The importance of intelligence and risk analysis
· The importance of communication between the intelligence services / law enforcement services and the “real world”
· The role (and empowerment) of the private sector – fundamental, to include the protection of critical infrastructure
· The need for technology research
Bento Silva then placed that need for coordinated action (the private sector, the European institutions and the member states) in the context of the main concerns of the typical EU citizen – described as “jobs, security and – in thi rd place - freedom”.
Bento Silva did not see these aims as being mutually exclusive. Summing up all aspects of the situation, he declared that the EU had to aim for greater standardisation in close co-operation with the private sector, in an integrated way that generated a serious investment in security (avoiding a “toys for the boys” approach) based on the identification of crucial requirements (threats, vulnerabilities, costs, etc.).
He therefore called for co-operation with the private sector that went beyond the type of public-private partnership that was used to tackle organised crime. By this, Bento Silva meant the need for the “security enhancement of goods and services” – that would impact everyone and, in parallel, create jobs and improve the economic situation (after making the necessary investment possible). It was “security enhancement as a vehicle for industrial growth”.
Second session – Q&A
What’s the cost of security?
Friends of Europe’s Eberhard Rhein asked Bento Silva to provide some idea of the cost for the EU to be able to make its citizens feel safe and secure.
Bento Silva could not provide exact figures but he welcomed the fact that the Commission was now talking in billions (of euros) and not in millions. He saw the challenge as being how to provide the correct policies now that there was a spotlight on security within the EU. Perhaps the EU could learn from others’ mistakes, by making effective use of both the political will and the agreed funding.
In order to reduce costs, Victor Aguado recommended that security requirements be incorporated at the beginning of a project.
Military equipment for civil use – realistic?
Freelance journalist Frederick Bonnart wanted to know if systems, such as NATO’s ground surveillance system, could be used for civilian purposes – was that really a realistic proposition?
Moseman argued that such tools could be very useful to meet some of the requirements listed by Ilkka Laitinen. As an aside, Moseman added “you are going to buy it, so you may as well use it”.
A comprehensive security policy for the transport sector?
The European Conference of Ministers of Transport’s Mary Crass had a question for Falkenrath. She wanted to know how the US convinced its citizens, post 9/11, of the need for a comprehensive security policy that covered all modes of transport over the long-term.
Richard Falkenrath said that the US had taken care of air security, perhaps to the extent of performing “overkill”. In the maritime sector, the US had introduced new laws, including the container security initiative, deployed radiation sensors and brought in a 24-hour rule (with data being sent to the National Targeting Center). However, he commented that no programmes were in place for the ground transportation sector. Falkenrath expected action there within 2005.
Why is Europe spending so much?
But Falkenrath had a question for the second panel. He wanted to know why the EU was planning to spend $1 billion on research. Falkenrath said it appeared to be a “substitute for action” as it was proving difficult to get any agreement between member states. He argued there was a lot of “low-hanging fruit” out there, such as putting in systems that allowed terrorists to be apprehended if they travelled on their own names – “why not do the obvious things?”
Jorge Bento Silva responded in a variety of ways. First, he explained that the EU had decided to look at the issues of risk assessment and critical infrastructure protection on a pan-European basis. Funding was available and the aim was to identify the risks and the vulnerable areas, and reduce them by introducing interoperable systems and procedures using available technology.
As for whether spending $1 billion on European security research was necessary, Bento Silva thought this was a “meagre amount” and much less than the equivalent being spent in the US. On a strategic level, he explained that the research would be used to ensure the security of European citizens, to support industry and to safeguard jobs. At a tactical level, Bento Silva gave details of studies that were ongoing (on explosives, transport of dangerous substances, etc.).
Session 3: Can governments respond to global terrorism with a collective policy?
Mark Huband, Security Correspondent of the Financial Times, took over as moderator for the third session, which looked at the prospects or a global anti-terrorism policy being developed.
Jean-Louis Gergorin, Executive Vice President, Head of Strategic Coordination, EADS
Jean-Louis Gergorin initially stressed the importance for EADS of supporting the fight against terrorism, as the company was not only in the business of commercial aviation, but was also a leading defence player that believed in transatlantic co-operation as a pre-requisite for successful actions. He made two main points:
1. The need to reduce the recruitment potential of terrorists: More discussion was required in this area (fighting terrorism was not enough), especially a review of the increasing degree of sympathy for terrorists within Western Europe
· It was pointless neutralising terrorists if each one was backed by hundreds of sympathisers (potential recruits)
· Foreign policy and integration policies for European Muslim minorities were a key part of any strategy
2. Multiplicity of approaches to fighting terrorism:
This remained a concern on both sides of the Atlantic, e.g. duplication of policies between different departments.
· Within Europe, the degree of co-operation between ministries was “quite insufficient”
· The same problems existed within international organisations, especially the EU
· The key challenge was said to be the need
for “pragmatic and interactive” co-operation between the Justice, Freedom and Security DG, the office of the High Representative Solana and the respective agencies – this need to rationalise the diversified efforts was becoming more and more important
Gergorin concluded that industry had a key role to play in facilitating the interoperability between information systems that varied between departments, countries, agencies, etc. This could be industry’s way of making its contribution to an effective counter terrorism policy.
William Pope, Acting Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, US State Department
William Pope acknowledged that although Europeans disliked talking about a “war” on terrorism, it was clear that all nations were at risk. For Pope, the greatest challenge was the existence of a decentralised terrorist network that was actively enlisting recruits, raising funds and spreading propaganda. He admitted that Al Qaida was proving to be resilient and an “active and dangerous” opponent. Furthermore, its ideas were inspiring others, including many who were “well-rooted in the countries they planned to attack”.
He concluded that no single country could hope to succeed in defeating terrorism. The US was stressing the need for a global strategy and a global response that needed to be flexible both in the short- and in the long-term.
· Immediate response needed: specific terrorists, who were planning to launch attacks, had to “captured or killed” and their attacks stopped
· Long term actions (against the growth of radical Islamic threat): this would need traditional tactics (judicial, financial, military) and a “more subtle” approach based on the strength of ideas, “an ideological struggle”
Pope described the need to de-legitimise terrorism and to encourage moderates to speak out. He was far from satisfied with the current situation. Pope identified the need to convince people that the West was not the enemy and to assist those people without hope, who could see “no alternative but to embrace a cult of death”.
Moving to the US’ national strategy for combating terrorism, Pope highlighted one goal that was to diminish the conditions the terrorists sought to exploit by enlisting the aid of the international community. He insisted that Europe remained the key partner in sustaining the fight against terrorism and called for renewed co-operation, e.g. joint US-EU programmes, assistance to less capable countries, etc.
Elmar Brok, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament
Elmar Brok focussed on the definition of a security policy (that included internal and external factors). He felt that it needed to be cross-border as classical means of national security could not be victorious. Brok saw a gap between the fine speeches (post 9/11 and 3/11 – Madrid) and the actual actions that had been taken by member states. It could perhaps be described as old habits dying hard.
Brok wanted new instruments to be used – and at this point he highlighted a difference between the EU and US approaches. Stressing that terrorism could never be excused, he called for more efforts to identify the “seeds of terrorism”. He did not see military or repressive means being successful against such a many-headed foe. His answer – a better balance between preventative and repressive means.
Brok then called for increased political pressure and a greater dialogue with Islam:
· Increased political activity: As an example, no terrorist act was driven by the Middle East conflict, but a solution of that conflict could facilitate the battle against terrorism
· Greater dialogue: Brok argued that Bin Laden was fighting the West as he felt his culture was not being respected, a feeling that had its roots in colonial times
· any such dialogue should be on equal terms, i.e., one that respected the opposing culture
Turning to the EU, Brok saw a role for the Barcelona process. He indicated that the US was spending three times as much on foreign aid (in order to prevent terrorism) as the US. He wanted more balance, as the EU was perhaps spending too much on prevention while the US was spending too much on repression. Noting that both sides had made mistakes, he bemoaned the lack of equal consolidation of intelligence data between the US and the EU. And turning to the issue of civil freedoms, he added that a line had to be drawn, and that line was the defence of civil liberties. If the allies crossed that line, the terrorists would have won.
Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for External Relations, Public Diplomacy Division, NATO
Jamie Shea felt that many international organisations were trying to do too much. He therefore produced Shea’s principles to be followed:
1. Concentrate on activities that bring added-value
2. Focus on counter-terrorism and avoid adding a terrorist “label” on all other actions, e.g. on peace-keeping activities
3. Don’t just make affirmations after terrorism, concentrate on delivering results
4. Fighting terrorism can break down walls, so use that by-product more effectively, e.g. in bringing together the NATO and EU consequence management activities.
So what could NATO do and was it doing it?
After touching on NATO’s indirect activities, Shea moved on to direct actions where NATO could bring added-value:
· Maritime protection: a major threat of terrorism – does the maritime force need a wider mandate?
· Airspace protection: can an agreement be reached on the renegade concept, including the question of whether such planes should be shot down?
· Consequence management (NCBR protection): programmes existed but more coordination was needed – delivery of stocks of vaccines, rapid deployment of troops, etc.
· Information sharing: On such key technologies as MANPADS (man-portable air defence systems) which are a key threat to civilian aircraft, explosive devices (where Spain has expertise), ballistic missile defence and the area of cyber crime.
· Major events protection: e.g. the Olympic Games, etc.
· Involving partners: Greater co-operation on borders, intelligence services, etc. However, he felt there could also be better co-operation with non-partners, such as training the Palestinian forces to counter Hamas, which could assist any Middle East peace process
Overall, Shea said NATO needed conceptual clarity (where and when would NATO be involved), the quantity and quality of intelligence sharing had to be improved, the EU-NATO institutional barriers had to be broken down and “arms control” had to be brought back on the table, e.g. strengthening the biological weapons convention, reforming the nuclear proliferation treaty and curtailing the production of uranium. For Shea, NATO was doing well, but could do better.
Fernando Valenzuela Marzo, Deputy Director General for CFSP, Multilateral Relations and North America, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, EEA, EFTA, Directorate General External Relations, European Commission
Fernando Valenzuela Marzo chose to comment on two aspects of the discussion.
1. the transatlantic relationship and the international agenda: security had become a significant part of the international agenda, e.g. the creation of a border and transport security dialogue (passenger name record, container security initiative),
· The EU and the US were now well-placed to look for global solutions through the international institutions
2. assistance to third countries: an inventory had been created (of actions against terrorism) - and some programmes had been re-focussed; but Valenzuela Marzo focussed on the objective of determining the root causes of terrorism (he did not want a false debate as to whether development or security should take the lead)
Closing Conference Address: Gijs de Vries, Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, European Union
Gijs de Vries opened his remarks by looking at the positive developments in the fight against terrorism. He saw several signs of progress: the removal of the Taliban on the basis of a UN international mandate, the crack-down on the Jihad in Algeria and some successes against ETA (based on co-operation between the Spanish and French authorities).
In a wider sense, de Vries welcomed the elections in Indonesia, Afghanistan and Iraq. While all these examples were steps in the direction of creating democratic states, de Vries reminded everyone that the threat of terrorism remained real and serious. This threat was global and the response had to be a global one. He saw it as a long-term crisis that would outstrip the typical timeframe of democratic governments (3-5 years between elections).
As for the EU, de Vries saw that while its role was expanding, the instruments of power remained in the hands of the national authorities. The EU would not supplant member states, but rather it would support them. Adding that it was vital to keep up the momentum, de Vries listed the priorities determined by the Council of Ministers:
· protection of Europe’s crit ical infrastructure: from energy infrastructure to telecoms and transport, there is a need for public-private co-operation
· disaster management and civil protection: coordination in the event of CBRN attacks
· identification of the causes of radicalisation / recruitment: at international level and in the member states
· restarting the Middle East peace process could reduce the role of propaganda in the terrorist recruitment process
· reviewing “stagnating societies” in the world, that remove hope from young people:
· assistance to the reform process within those Arab countries that are contemplating such a move · Islam must be reclaimed for the majority from a violent minority
Concluding by putting his focus on the Constitution, de Vries selected three main advantages that its approval could bring in the fight against terrorism:
1. Decision-making would be easier between the 25 member states (in the areas under discussion at the conference)
2. Stronger parliamentary control – the role of both the European Parliament and national parliaments would be strengthened
3. Greater human rights protection – with oversight by the European Court of Justice
For his final point, de Vries concluded that civil liberties had to be maintained during the fight against terrorism. If this was done under the auspices of a global coalition, he felt that the future could be faced with optimism.
Bringing it to an end
Giles Merritt brought the meeting to a close, adding that he had heard many unanswered questions that would certainly be debated at forthcoming NDA events:
· Who is (or who should be) in charge in Europe?
· Whose head might roll in the event of successful attacks?
· Is Europe actually duplicating or supporting US efforts?
· Are the EU member states getting burden-sharing on counter-terrorism right?
Forthcoming NDA meetings on counter-terrorism and security issues
April 25, 2005: Transatlantic Co-operation in the Fight Against Terrorism
NDA Conference – May 24, 2005 – Brussels: Reinventing NATO: Does NATO reflect the changing nature of transatlantic security?
NDA Roundtable: June 20, 2005 – Strategic priorities for protecting Europe’s critical infrastructure