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European Security and Defence Policy

Latest news about EU initiatives relating to a common security policy for Europe.

Nuclear decommissioning costs mount for eastern states
The cost of decommissioning Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia will be at least EUR 5.7 billion, and could be double that, according to the European Court of Auditors.

Decommissioning of nuclear facilities
The decommissioning of a nuclear installation such as a power plant or research reactor is the final step in its life cycle. It involves all activities from shut-down and removal of nuclear material to the environmental restoration of the site. The whole process can extend over a period of up to 30 years. By 2025, it is estimated that over a third of the EU's currently operational reactors will be at the end of their life cycle and in need of shut-down.

Security: EU plan to strengthen external borders
The European Commission set out on 14 September how the European Union can enhance security in Europe by improving the exchange of information in the fight against terrorism and strengthening external borders.

Single certificate to tighten EU airport security
Tighter security for Europe's airports is promised as a result of a new EU proposal for a single Europe-wide certification procedure for aviation security screening equipment unveiled on Wednesday.

EU measures to support security and development in partner countries
The European Commission and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini presented measures on 5 July to enhance the European Union's effectiveness in supporting stability, security and development in third countries. The measures were outlined in a Joint Communication on security sector reform in partner countries and a legislative proposal to extend the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).

EU action to combat terrorism and illegal trafficking of firearms and explosives
The European Commission adopted on 2 December a package of measures to step up the fight against terrorism and the illegal trafficking of firearms and explosives.

EU Navfor Med
The European Union is concerned with the effect of Somali-based piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean. Somali-based piracy is characterised by criminals taking control of vessels transiting the High Risk Area in the Region and extorting ransom money for the crew, the vessel and cargo: this bears all the features of organised crime. Crews held hostage by pirates often face a prolonged period of captivity, the average being 5 months, although some hostages have been held for almost three years. Moreover, piracy impacts on international trade and maritime security and on the economic activities and security of countries in the region. Under EU Council Joint Action 851, which is based on various UN resolutions, Operation ATALANTA: Protects vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other vulnerable shipping. Deters and disrupts piracy and armed robbery at sea. Monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia. Supports other EU missions and international organisations working to strengthen maritime security and capacity in the region.

Frontex Operation Triton
Frontex has finalised all preparations for the launch of Joint Operation Triton on November 1st 2014. With a monthly budget of EUR 2,9 million the agency will coordinate the deployment of three open sea patrol vessels, two coastal patrol vessels, two coastal patrol boats, two aircraft, and one helicopter in the Central Mediterranean. The operational area of Triton will cover the territorial waters of Italy as well as parts of the search and rescue (SAR) zones of the both countries. Frontex will operate under the command of the Italian Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with Guardia di Finanza, as well as the Italian Coast Guard.

New Deal for European Defence
The European Commission has presented on 24 June a roadmap for measures to strengthen the Single Market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster synergies between civil and military research including details and timelines for the actions.

European Union Maritime Security Strategy
The European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have adopted today a Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council "For an open and secure global maritime domain: elements for a European Union maritime security strategy".

Towards a more competitive and efficient European defence and security sector
A more influential Europe needs a strong and active common foreign and security policy, which in turn demands a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector. The successive waves of cuts in defence budgets and the persisting fragmentation of defence markets in Europe threaten Europe's capacity to sustain effective defence capabilities and a competitive defence industry. This also jeopardises Europe's capacity to meet the new security challenges in an autonomous and effective way. This, says the European Commission, is why it has presented a Communication which contains an Action Plan to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Europe's defence and security sector. The Communication foresees measures to strengthen the internal market for defence, to promote a more competitive defence industry and to foster synergies between civil and military research. Besides these, the Communication also explores options in other areas such as energy, space and dual-use capabilities. The Commission invites Heads of State and Government to discuss this Communication at the European Council in December 2013, together with the report prepared by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Nuclear stress tests - EU Communication
The standards of safety of nuclear power plants in Europe are generally high but further improvements in the safety features of almost all European nuclear power plants are recommended. Nevertheless national safety authorities came to the conclusion that no closure of Nuclear Power Plants was warranted. This is the main message of the European Commission communication on results of the nuclear stress tests, published on 4 October. These tests have established that not all safety standards promoted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and not all international best practices are applied in all Member States. The Commission will follow closely the implementation of the recommendations and will at the same time propose legislative measures to further enhance nuclear safety in Europe.

Doing business in Germany: Environmental rules
The devolution of competences to the Länder means that the Federal Government is responsible for some aspects of environmental protection while the Länder handle others.

The European Union in the Security of Europe - From Cold War to Terror War
This book examines the European Union’s contribution to providing security in Europe amidst an increasingly complex and challenging environment. In this new and comprehensive guide to the EU's role in security since the end of the Cold War, the authors offer an explanation of EU internal and external security regimes, and argue that the Union has become an important exporter of security within its region. However, the Union’s rhetorical ambitions and commitments continue to outstrip its capabilities and it lacks both a common conceptualisation of security and a meaningful, shared strategic culture. Drawing extensively on primary sources the book examines the Union’s relations with the US and Russia in a time of shifting geostrategic calculations and priorities. With the EU capacity for enlargement slowing, this text presents a detailed assessment of EU security policies towards Central Europe, the Mediterranean, the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus. European Union Security will be of interest to students and scholars of the EU, security studies, and international relations.

European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group
The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) is an independent, authoritative expert body created in 2007 following a decision of the European Commission. It is composed of senior officials from the national nuclear safety, radioactive waste safety or radiation protection regulatory authorities and senior civil servants with competence in these fields from all 27 Member States in the European Union and representatives of the European Commission. ENSREG’s role is to help to establish the conditions for continuous improvement and to reach a common understanding in the areas of nuclear safety and radioactive waste management.

Nuclear stress tests - Commission Interim Report
Following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, the EU reacted swiftly and agreed on voluntary tests for all of its 143 nuclear power plants based on a set of common criteria. In its Communication published on 24 November, the Commission looks at first findings of these stress tests and points to some policy areas where the new EU nuclear safety framework can be strengthened through common standards.

European Securities and Markets Authorities update of the Committee of European Securities Regulators recommendations
As of 1 January 2011 a new European Supervisory Authority (the European Securities and Markets Authority) was established. ESMA took over all existing and on-going tasks from the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) and is the legal successor of CESR. In particular, guidelines, recommendations, and standards issued by CESR continue in force. ESMA has reissued CESR’s recommendations for the consistent implementation of the European Commission’s Regulation on Prospectuses nº 809/2004 with an update of some of the paragraphs of the recommendations included in the previous document.

Health & Consumer Voice Newsletter - April 2011
"Health & Consumer Voice" is the newsletter on food safety, health and consumer policy from the European Commission’s Health and Consumers DG.

Mitigating Systemic Risk - A Role for Securities Regulators
This Discussion Paper of the Technical Committee of IOSCO addresses the role that securities regulators play in promoting financial system stability. In particular, the paper provides insight and guidance on the tools that can be used by securities regulators to identify, monitor, mitigate and manage systemic risk.

Task Force on Unregulated Financial Markets and Products
This report by the Technical Committee of IOSCO makes recommendations about regulatory approaches to be considered by financial market regulators and then implemented as appropriate with respect to securitisation and credit default swap markets.

Survey of Regimes for the Protection, Distribution and/or Transfer of Client Assets
This report has been prepared by the Technical Committee of the International Organization of the Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to increase access to information concerning the protections that participating SC3 Regimes offer to Client Assets.

Towards more responsibility and competitiveness in the European financial sector
This booklet, prepared by the European Commission in charge of Internal Market and Services, explains the measures already taken and those that are currently being discussed to strenghten the European financial sector and to make it more transparent and responsible.

EC proposals to boost Europe's defences against cyber-attacks - guide
The European Commission today unveiled two new measures to ensure that Europe can defend itself from attacks against its key information (IT) systems. A proposal for a Directive to deal with new cyber crimes, such as large-scale cyber attacks, is complemented by a proposal for a Regulation to strengthen and modernise the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). The two initiatives are foreseen by the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Stockholm Programme to boost trust and network security. Under the proposed Directive, the perpetrators of cyber attacks and the producers of related and malicious software could be prosecuted, and would face heavier criminal sanctions. Member States would be also obliged to quickly respond to urgent requests for help in the case of cyber-attacks, rendering European justice and police cooperation in this area more effective. Strengthening and modernising ENISA would also help the EU, Member States and private stakeholders develop their capabilities and preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-security challenges. Both proposals will be forwarded to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers for adoption.

Airport scanners receive conditional support from EC
The deployment and operation of airport scanners must be based on common standards, says the European Commission in a Communication out today. In a statement of conditional support for the scanners, it makes clear that EU Member States must also ensure compliance with European fundamental rights and health provisions.

EU updates aviation security rules
New measures to streamline and simplify the EU framework for aviation security, first put in place in 2002 after the September 11 attacks, came into force today.