EU’s new Security Union Strategy is a good first step
Then, in 2016, came the EU Global Strategy. In addition to these, the EU has published multiple sector-specific strategies such as the 2013 cybersecurity strategy, and the 2014 maritime security strategy, to name a few.
On 24 July, the European Commission published the latest addition to the collection of EU strategies, the new EU Security Union Strategy (SUS).
It’s a response to then-Commission president candidate Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines for the current commission, and the mandate that her mission letter to commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas gave to him to develop an integrated and comprehensive approach to security.
The SUS is a broad, cross-sectoral document that seeks to overcome old dichotomies between online and offline security, digital and physical security, and internal and external security.
It’s a response to the sophisticated cross-border and cross-sectorial threats that require more and more room on the EU’s security agenda. These include terrorism, cybercrime, hybrid attacks, and disinformation campaigns, to name a few.
The SUS is also shaped by the ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
It notes that Covid-19 has reshaped our notion of safety and security threats, and highlighted the need to guarantee security both in the physical and digital environments.
Covid-19 has also underlined the importance of secure supply chains, and reinforced the need to engage everyone in an effort to boost the EU’s resilience. The SUS is therefore also a product of its time.
Although the SUS doesn’t explicitly define what a Security Union is, it does provide suggestions on how a Security Union should be conceptualised.
Commissioner Schinas described the SUS as a new house with a single roof, within which the EU seeks to build a new security ecosystem that covers the entire policy spectrum.
This is because the SUS lays the foundations for this work by identifying four priority areas for EU-level action. These are a future proof security environment, evolving threats, terrorism and organised crime, and a European security ecosystem.