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Understanding the EU's approach to cyber diplomacy and cyber defence

28-05-2020

Despite its expertise in cyber public awareness campaigns, research and development, and educational programmes, the EU is still subject to constant cyber attacks. The EU's response to a sophisticated cyber threat spectrum is comprehensive, but perhaps the most European aspect of its toolbox is cyber diplomacy. Cyber diplomacy aims to secure multilateral agreements on cyber norms, responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace, and effective global digital governance. The goal is to create ...

Despite its expertise in cyber public awareness campaigns, research and development, and educational programmes, the EU is still subject to constant cyber attacks. The EU's response to a sophisticated cyber threat spectrum is comprehensive, but perhaps the most European aspect of its toolbox is cyber diplomacy. Cyber diplomacy aims to secure multilateral agreements on cyber norms, responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace, and effective global digital governance. The goal is to create an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace anchored in international law through alliances between like-minded countries, organisations, the private sector, civil society and experts. Cyber diplomacy coexists with its sister strands of cyber defence, cyber deterrence and cybersecurity. Offensive cyber actors are growing in diversity, sophistication and number. Disruptive technologies powered by machine-learning and artificial intelligence pose both risks and opportunities for cyber defences: while attacks are likely to increase in complexity and make attribution ever more problematic, responses and defences will equally become more robust. Burning issues demanding the international community's attention include an emerging digital arms race and the need to regulate dual-use export control regimes and clarify the rules of engagement in cyber warfare. Multilateral cyber initiatives are abundant, but they are developing simultaneously with a growing push for sovereignty in the digital realm. The race for cyber superiority, if left unchecked, could develop into a greater security paradox. The EU's cyber diplomacy toolbox and its bi- and multilateral engagements are already contributing to a safer and more principled cyberspace. Its effectiveness however hinges on genuine European and global cooperation for the common cyber good. Ultimately, the EU's ambition to become more capable, by becoming 'strategically autonomous' or 'technologically sovereign', also rests on credible cyber defence and diplomacy.

Recommendations for a transparent and detailed reporting system on arms exports within the EU and to third countries

08-05-2020

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently ...

The EU’s annual report on arms export control presently lags behind the national reports of many countries. The introduction of a searchable online database will be a substantial step in increasing the user-friendliness of the report. This paper makes recommendations with regard to readability, comprehensiveness and comparability. Perhaps the principal recommendation is that steps be taken to harmonise the data provided under the categories ‘licensed value’ and ‘actual exports’, which are presently not consistently interpreted across the EU. The main argument of this paper is that the EU should move towards using data visualisation to complement the lengthy statistical tables in the annual report and thus make it more readable. The EU and its Member States should also explore opportunities to enhance the data contained in the report to include additional identified data fields, narrative sections to complement the statistical data, and disaggregated data on licence denials. In identifying additional data fields that could be included, the paper also examines the challenges associated with the provision of the data in each case.

Údar seachtarach

Dr Ian J. STEWART, Dr Benedict WILKINSON, Prof. Christoph O. MEYER, King's College, London, UK

The role of armed forces in the fight against coronavirus

28-04-2020

While armed forces may find it difficult to distance themselves from what is perceived as their primary mission, the coronavirus pandemic largely challenges society's vision of their role. This has been showcased through the vital contributions of the military to civilian authorities' responses to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus. Exchanging guns for bags of food supplies and disinfectant spray, military personnel have been among the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. Whether ...

While armed forces may find it difficult to distance themselves from what is perceived as their primary mission, the coronavirus pandemic largely challenges society's vision of their role. This has been showcased through the vital contributions of the military to civilian authorities' responses to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus. Exchanging guns for bags of food supplies and disinfectant spray, military personnel have been among the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. Whether distributing food, building hospitals or shelters for the homeless, European armed forces were mobilised early. Trained to react quickly in highly dangerous conditions, the military carried out missions of repatriation and evacuation of citizens and transported medical supplies and protective equipment. Almost all European Union (EU) Member States have mobilised their armed forces in one way or another. Discouraging post-crisis economic projections indicate that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will not spare the defence sector, nor will it weaken geopolitical tensions. With resources further under strain, countries' abilities to meet the EU's defence ambitions with the required investments is under question. However, current EU defence initiatives, if appropriately financed, could see the EU being better prepared to face future pandemics among other threats. Examples include various projects under the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) mechanism, as well as the European Defence Fund, whose precursor already envisioned pandemic-relevant projects. While EU missions and operations abroad continue, they too have seen their activities limited. However, this has not stopped the EU from deploying staff to help locals in host countries to tackle the virus. In coordination with the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has also provided vital assistance to Allies and partners. Its disaster relief coordination centre, as well as the strategic lift platform and rapid air mobility mechanism, successfully ensured the swift provision of essential equipment and supplies. Around the world, armed forces have demonstrated their added value by closely assisting authorities and citizens in battling the pandemic.

Key issues in the European Council - State of play in March 2020

26-03-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council.

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council.

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

26-03-2020

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. This overview of European Council conclusions is the latest edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

What place for the UK in Europe's defence labyrinth?

16-03-2020

There is at least one point of agreement in the debates about the future relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU): European security is British security. The UK's departure from the EU will not alter geography and the UK will inevitably share interests and challenges with its continental neighbours. The UK and the EU nations share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically ...

There is at least one point of agreement in the debates about the future relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU): European security is British security. The UK's departure from the EU will not alter geography and the UK will inevitably share interests and challenges with its continental neighbours. The UK and the EU nations share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there is general consensus on the need to nurture this link. This view is reflected in official documents from both sides. Having now left the Union, the UK has become a third country to the EU, albeit a distinctive one, and future cooperation will evolve on that basis. While the EU's common security and defence policy has an established precedent of close cooperation with third countries on missions and operations, the EU's new defence integration initiatives are currently tracing new contours for third-party cooperation. Possibilities for going beyond existing EU rules for third-country participation and more precise parameters for security and defence cooperation between the EU and the UK will likely be decided after the transition period ends. The UK played a foundational role in shaping the EU's security and defence policy. Though long sceptical of EU-level supranational military integration, the UK nevertheless remains deeply interconnected with the remaining EU Member States in this area. As one of Europe's biggest military powers, the UK brings a particularly valuable contribution to the field, from top-notch military strategists and innovative capabilities to a highly performing army with varied expeditionary know-how. While it will continue to bring this contribution through NATO and intergovernmental formats, the UK and the EU both have an interest in close alignment, strategically, politically and militarily. They had, indeed, both expressed a commitment to securing an unparalleled partnership in foreign, security and defence policy. Regardless of anticipated difficulties in negotiating the future relationship, the two parties' security interests are largely shared. As threats pay no heed to a country's memberships, and great power competition is showing no sign of abating, a strongly knitted UK-EU relationship is essential.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: EU and international action

12-03-2020

The Gulf of Guinea is framed by 6 000 km of west African coastline, from Senegal to Angola. Its sea basin is an important resource for fisheries and is part of a key sea route for the transport of goods between central and southern Africa and the rest of the world. Its geo-political and geo-economic importance has grown since it has become a strategic hub in global and regional energy trade. Every day, nearly 1 500 fishing vessels, cargo ships and tankers navigate its waters. The security of this ...

The Gulf of Guinea is framed by 6 000 km of west African coastline, from Senegal to Angola. Its sea basin is an important resource for fisheries and is part of a key sea route for the transport of goods between central and southern Africa and the rest of the world. Its geo-political and geo-economic importance has grown since it has become a strategic hub in global and regional energy trade. Every day, nearly 1 500 fishing vessels, cargo ships and tankers navigate its waters. The security of this maritime area is threatened by the rise of piracy, illegal fishing, and other maritime crimes. Regional actors have committed to cooperate on tackling the issue through the 'Yaoundé Code of Conduct' and the related cooperation mechanism and bodies. The international community has also pledged to track and condemn acts of piracy at sea. The European Union (EU), which has a strong interest in safeguarding its maritime trade and in addressing piracy's root causes, supports regional and international initiatives. The EU is also implementing its own maritime security strategy, which includes, among other features, a regional component for the Gulf of Guinea; this entails EU bodies' and Member States' cooperation in countering acts of piracy, as well as capacity-building projects. This briefing draws from and updates the sections on the Gulf of Guinea in 'Piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Africa', EPRS, March 2019.

Military mobility: Infrastructure for the defence of Europe

25-02-2020

To 'unite and strengthen Europe' is one of the goals expressed by the newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, believed that only 'a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external.' European infrastructure that enables connectivity and ensures a rapid response in case of a crisis is a prerequisite for these visions. Since 2017, awareness has been increasing about the obstacles preventing ...

To 'unite and strengthen Europe' is one of the goals expressed by the newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, believed that only 'a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external.' European infrastructure that enables connectivity and ensures a rapid response in case of a crisis is a prerequisite for these visions. Since 2017, awareness has been increasing about the obstacles preventing armed forces from moving effectively and swiftly across borders in crisis conditions. The measures taken to correct this strategic vulnerability are known under the term military mobility. Existing regulatory, administrative, and infrastructure inconsistencies and impediments across the territory of the European Union (EU) significantly hamper military exercises and training. Military mobility aims to harmonise rules across EU Member States and to explore the potential of a civilian-military approach to infrastructure development. Through measures such as funding dual use transport infrastructure, and simplifying diplomatic clearances and customs rules, the European Commission aims to improve military mobility across as well as beyond the EU, in support of missions and operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy. The unique EU contribution is its ability to leverage existing policies in the civilian realm to create added value for the military. This goal can be achieved only if a whole-of-government approach is applied, which in turn requires close collaboration between different bodies at the EU level, between them and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and between them and various actors at the Member State level. So far, military mobility has enjoyed a high degree of commitment from all stakeholders, which has in turn ensured swift policy implementation. It is becoming increasingly clear that military mobility is an essential piece in the EU's ambition to become a stronger global actor.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - February 2020

10-02-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

05-02-2020

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

Imeachtaí atá ar na bacáin

03-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square
Imeacht eile -
EPRS
11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
Éisteacht -
CONT
11-06-2020
STOA Roundtable on Digital Sovereign Identity
Ceardlann -
STOA

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