A new step towards security during major events in Europe
The first joint European call for ideas for the security technology market
Safety and security during major events were the keywords of the meeting that took place on the 25th and 26th of October at The Hague (the Netherlands), hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Justice.
The organization of large events can represent a major concern for countries. Despite the fact that Major Events often uphold principles of freedom and peace, their safety and security are undermined by many threats. Above all, a major event can be seen by terrorists as an opportunity to intimidate the population or to influence government policy. The recent alleged Al Qaida plot to bomb a Premiership football game LIVE on British TV is a confirmation of this potential threat.
The meeting that took place in The Hague was organized in the framework of the project "Coordinating National Research Programmes on Security during Major Events in Europe"(EU-SEC).
In 2004, ten EU Member States and EUROPOL, coordinated by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), gathered the comprehensive Consortium of the EU-SEC project. The project is funded by the European Commission.
Based on the assumption that Major Events benefit a lot from international cooperation and their legacy is of outstanding importance to the best security planning across Europe, EU-SEC is devoted to the coordination of the existing national research programmes in the field of security at Major Events. It is testimony to the commitment of the United Nations to the regional dimension of the European Union and its intention to contribute to the configuration of an effective European Research Area in the field of security during Major Events.
Final beneficiaries of the projects are national authorities in charge of planning security and organizing big international and national sports meetings such as the Olympic Games or the football World Cup, important commemoration ceremonies, large religious or political meetings and political demonstrations.
After three years of activities, the EU-SEC Consortium was in the position to launch its first joint action: a call for ideas which applies a consolidated methodology to particularly innovative topics. It aims to identify the best ideas and expertise from European public and private laboratories to develop two electronic tools.
The Specialist Technical Equipment Pool (STEP), open to and filled by security planners, will facilitate the effective exchange and updated awareness of the technical resources available in the EU area.
The European Major Events Register (EMER), by giving major events national recognition of European status, will improve the immediate levels of international cooperation and assistance among countries.
Moreover, these initiatives will also entail benefits for the European security technology market.
According to the Director of UNICRI, Mr. Sandro Calvani, "The results so far achieved through the EU-SEC project prove the strong cohesion within the European Union in identifying and sharing common instruments to protect citizens during Major Events. The call for ideas launched today will maximize further the benefits of international cooperation in this field."
The text of the call for ideas, including more information about its scope and methodology is available on the website of the EU-SEC project (www.eu-sec.org). The deadline for responding to it is 26th of November 2007 at 13.00 CET.
Contingent on the success of EU-SEC, EU-SEC II aims to widen its scope with an enlarged consortium of 24 EU Member States. The principal aim of EU-SEC II is to coordinate national research programmes and policies in the field of security at Major Events, with a view to harmonizing the common research needs and priorities of the partners of its Consortium. Moreover, the project will concretely contribute to the elaboration of a strategic research roadmap to orientate the European research agenda and the related allocation of funds.
During the meeting of the 26th of October, UNICRI also presented the IPO Security Planning Model - a unique instrument to be used to assist national authorities to aid the planning and implementation of security at Major Events. Additionally, the planning model highlights the strategies, questions, linkages and other challenges that security planners should take into account. The document is grounded in international experience and best practices gathered and collated by the UNICRI International Permanent Observatory (IPO) while assisting and cooperating with several countries in the planning of security during Major Events.
Finally, UNICRI presented innovative research into intelligence sharing and cooperation in the European Union to combat terrorism, elaborated within the framework of the European Foreign and Security Policy Studies (EFSPS) funded by the Compagnia di San Paolo, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, and VolkswagenStiftung. Recognising that the transnational nature of contemporary terrorism makes it a threat common to all EU Member States, the research offers a critical analysis of existing European structures and policies for intelligence sharing, and gives multiple recommendations for the improvement of information flows among States.