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The new EU security strategy

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In Expansión, Vicente Moret analyses the European Union's new security strategy, which aims to ensure the rights and lives of European citizens

On 24th July, the new EU Security Strategy for the period 2020-2025 was approved. This is a document which, although it has not received much media attention, is important for understanding how the European Commission proposes to ensure the rights and lives of European citizens. In the current environment we are living in, uncertainty affects almost all spheres and this generates insecurity and uncertainty in a VUCA framework that has spread throughout the world due to many causes, the Covid-19 pandemic being the most global of them all.

The relevance of the Strategy lies in the setting of priorities that will be translated into new European regulations and policies, which in turn will be implemented by the States, which remain primarily responsible for the public security of citizens.

In analysing the content of the Strategy, it can be said that two great ideas are extracted from it. The first is that the digital and physical spheres are put on an equal footing when it comes to guaranteeing security given the tremendous dependence on networks and systems. This dependence of our societies has been clearly highlighted during the pandemic. The second big idea is that internal and external security can no longer be separated sharply, as the interconnections are such that they form an inseparable whole.

In addition, the areas in which the EU will immediately prioritise its actions are identified. Critical infrastructure will be the subject of action to modify and deepen the existing regulatory framework. New protection and resilience obligations will be imposed on the operators of these physical and digital infrastructures, including in terms of the deployment of 5G networks in line with the recommendations already published by the Commission. An initiative on financial sector resilience and a new regulatory framework for drones to prevent their criminal use are also identified as priorities. Closer cooperation between public and private players will also be promoted to ensure greater protection of public spaces.

The concern to raise the level of cybersecurity is a constant that permeates almost all the Strategy. In fact, one of the priority proposals is the revision of the regulatory framework created by the NIS Directive in 2016, a process that has already been initiated through public consultation, and which was incorporated into our legislation by RD-Law 12/2018. In our country, the regulation implementing this standard is still pending approval.

Also, in the area of cybercrime, the Strategy sets out to adopt a number of measures relating to the central issue of identity on the Internet as a priority. A revision of the eIDAS Regulation is envisaged to help reduce identity theft, and thus prevent the growing impact of online fraud. The Strategy also points out the seriousness of the hybrid threats that seek to erode the social cohesion of our societies, as well as the importance of organised crime as an enemy to be combated, identifying three priority fronts; drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking. These three priorities will have specific action plans. In addition, among other measures, travel documents will be modified to strengthen security measures.

In short, the aim is to generate European capabilities, supply chains and technological solutions in the face of rapidly evolving and transforming threats. It cannot be otherwise, because an appropriate level of public security is essential to the stability, development and progress of citizens and states. The crisis triggered by the Covid-19, which comes on top of a previous highly unstable geopolitical environment, has shown the need to learn to expect the unexpected and be prepared to face it, without losing the characteristics that make Europe that environment of individual rights, economic activity and stability that is a benchmark of freedom and prosperity vis-à-vis other forms of legal-political organisation throughout the world.

The article can be read in Expansión.

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