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SOURCE - Virtual centre of excellence for research support and coordination on societal security

Final Report Summary - SOURCE (SOURCE - Virtual centre of excellence for research support and coordination on societal security)

Executive Summary:
The SOURCE project was conceived as a means of addressing the new security reality emerging at the end of the 2000’s in Europe and the world. This new security reality had many components: It was driven by a new perception of insecurity in Europe carried by a series of terrorist attacks on European soil in 2004, which stimulated new public investment into policing, surveillance, security and overall security governance on the European level. The spectacle of terrorism on European soil was complicated by what came to be known as a European migration crisis linked to geopolitical instability beyond Europe’s borders.

Within the confine of the European Union, security evolved from a national-political problem to a societal one. Questions of European cultural and social identity, linked to the new trends in both migration and terrorism, sharpened the need for societal approaches to security. At the same time, security research and development entered a new era. New forms of public-private partnerships brought the security industry to a closer collaboration with public research and development and funding agencies, spawning new security technologies. In short ‘security’ was mainstreamed but in a historically unique form, widely dispersed and irregular.

The SOURCE project took the form of an ambitious attempt to harmonise these divergent strands of the European security complex around the hypothetical concept of societal security. Built upon a broad vision of reducing security fragmentation in Europe, SOURCE launched a number of research-based, transversal measures and strategies. The ultimate aim was to establish a hub for scientific, industrial, political and societal interaction: the SOURCE Virtual Centre of Excellence (VCE).

Established in the final year of the SOURCE project, the SOURCE VCE builds firmly on the networking, research, policy-building, documentation, and education activities of the project in order to institutionalise, facilitate and thus prepare for the continuation of the SOURCE vision. 5 years on, the European security reality continues to evolve. SOURCE has evolved with it. The SOURCE VCE offers a platform for its continued evolution.

After 5 years of SOURCE networking activities, the SOURCE VCE is equipped to continue to grow the modest Primary Network through a range of networking tools and techniques. These resources, which include a handbook for workshopping societal security issues across sectors, a number of models and examples, documented through a range of outputs, and carried forward in by the participants in SOURCE activities.

Moreover, the SOURCE VCE has at its disposal a significant amount of research and documentation, gathered over the course of the project. These resources, collected sectors of security research, development, governance and policy, offer usable links among security sectors, through knowledge usable across sectors. The VCE has prepared training and teaching modules at all levels and across all sectors, linking actors through a shared understanding security as a societal challenge of interest to all members of society, from one end of the spectrum to the other.

The SOURCE VCE institutionalises the vision of a common ground for growing security collaboration in Europe as a matter of enhancing, preserving and exploiting societal resources. The SOURCE project has clarified its potential range this vision and its clear limitations. Its distinct legacy is a set of experiences, a range of new knowledge, and a stock tools and methodologies for its support of its future evolution.
Project Context and Objectives:
The SOURCE project was conceived and developed in a different era of security research and development, at the moment when the 7th Framework Programme was taking shapes, and a new set of ideas was in circulation about the role played by society in assuring the security of European citizens. The main technical systems that set the tone for present security research and development, EUROSUR and EURODAC, were not yet fully realised. The regulatory environment was also somewhat different. Working groups on societal security were actively collaborating with the European Commission and ambitions were high for, on the one hand, integrating societal concerns into security research and development and, on the other hand, understanding security as a fundamentally societal challenge.

The point of departure of the SOURCE project is an easily observable paradox: security is widely regarded as a universal need and even a general right, and yet citizen and stakeholder perceptions of security, security research and development, security policy formation and security practice are fragmented. European officials, national governments, international organisations, local and regional officials, and individuals continue to be in disagreement, if not disarray, about how to understand, communicate and above all address the new insecurities that confront modern societies.

The aim of the SOURCE Network of Excellence is to address this fragmentation by bringing together those actors concerned with societal dimensions of security research, development and operationalization, and forming a network capable of building understanding and coordination between them.

The approach to reaching this goal is to develop tools and methods for bringing together the different actors implicated in security research, integrating their diverse perspectives, premises, needs, expectations, experiences and concrete challenges. SOURCE seeks to develop and implement systems, tools and resources of information-gathering and dissemination in order to provide a common basis for understanding and closer collaboration of the range of societal security actors working on security in Europe today. The ultimate aim of SOURCE is to set up the institutions and infrastructure necessary to assure a lasting and sustainable network in the form of a Virtual Centre of Excellence. It is toward this aim that the diverse activities of the project seek to converge.

The SOURCE Network of Excellence is based on 5 types of activities:

Network-building (WP2) is the core activity of the SOURCE network with the aim of finding a common ground and shared standards of communication and knowledge sharing between 5 highly diverse sectors— the scholarly research sector, the industrial sector, law-makers and policy makers, civil society, and end-users—each of which has an essential and unique contribution to make to the security of European society. The network-building activities have as their primary aim to test strategies for bringing these sectors together, establishing avenues of communication and understanding, of what each and the other does, how they work, and the values they advance.

Education and training activities (WP7) address these same 5 sectors by developing educational and training materials in order to strengthen the common ground between the sectors. These include a PhD course for students seeking academic careers in security research, training modules for engineers and designers, course material for policy makers and a handbook and video for first responders and the police and security agencies.

Joint research activities (WP3-6) aim at gathering and collating state-of-the-art knowledge on societal security as a basis for guiding the priorities of the network and assuring the relevance of its activities. The research WPs cover 4 different topics: perceptions on societal security (WP3), practices of security professionals (WP4), relation between societal security and financial security (WP5) and the ethical and legal frameworks and implications of societal security (WP6).

Documentation activities (WP8) are centred around an online information hub, based on the SOURCE webpage. Based on the result of the other WPs, the hub continuously gathers four types of raw information which feeds into the development of a web cartography of the online debate on societal security: results of scientific research, bibliographical indexing, media data and general web data.

Dissemination activities (WP9) transmit the results of the project are transmitted to both relevant stakeholders and the public at large. These consist primarily of a dedicated website, newsletters and briefs, policy seminars, international conferences, a journal, films and scenarios and a visualisation tool.
Project Results:
SOURCE activities have converged, with the various tools and resources being developed to this aim, towards the creation of a Virtual Centre of Excellence which was formally achieved by the end of 2017, providing a framework for further development beyond the project’s scope and in line with needs and priorities of the security research and development in a security reality beyond the one in which SOURCE was designed and brought into being. The many SOURCE seminar, conference and meeting activities have continuously contributed to spreading information about the network and raising interest in it.

1.3.1. Network building

As expected, the objective of building bridges between 5 distinct and relatively autonomous societal security sectors has been a challenge throughout the course. Nonetheless, new relations have been formed, new ways constellations of the actors have been discovered, and a path has been cleared for the development of a ‘long-arch’ approach to keeping up with the continuous and sometimes very rapid evolution of the interaction between divergent security actors. As a complement, partial networks and bi-lateral relationships with stakeholder groups have been successfully established:
- As part of the activities of WP2 primary network members were solicited for and involved in a range of events, most notably conferences and workshops. Considerable impact was generated through SOURCE Partners bringing together eminent European scholars from different perspectives and disciplines, but also experts from policy makers, industry representatives and technology specialists, civil society and end-users (see D 2.6).
- As a result, the aim of finding common ground and shared standards of communication and knowledge sharing between stakeholder groups, all these meetings and discussions allowed to provide a “cross-sector” Guidebook for Knowledge Sharing on Societal Security (D 2.7).
- The consortium created, as planned, a Virtual Centre of Excellence that will pursue this main aim of building a cross-sector bridge between the five societal security sectors (D 2.9 and D 2.10). Two workshops were organised by the SOURCE VCE during the last year of the project of which one resulted in a policy brief. Several initiatives are already planned for the first year after the end of EU-funded project SOURCE. For example, the SOURCE VCE has been invited to join as a partner in the preparation of a EC grant proposal related to cybersecurity and societal security to be submitted to the next Horizon 2020 Secure Societies call due in August 2019.
- In the framework of the Topic Working Group (TWG) on Heterodox Political Groups, a good cooperation was established with members of the Austrian and German intelligence community and with colleagues from the US (Univ. of California LA) working on similar topics. Also, the involved partners participated in several meetings of the ILEA-Net project, presenting their work and discussing options for future cooperation with European LEA after the end of SOURCE.
- In the framework of WP4 activities, bilateral relations were developed with high level civil servants in charge of the Schengen negotiations and the acquis, as well as with civil servants from Justice and Home Affairs, with members of the European Parliament, with major think-tanks.
- In WP5, the fields of financial and political security have been conceptualised as dimensions of societal security and discussed in reports, workshops and a policy brief. In this way, theoretical bridgework between two extensive fields of practice across the five sectors has been made. While distinguishing between social and societal security, the studies in WP5 have also contributed to understandings of the connections between these concepts. These understandings were reflected in the empirical work on perceptions of security in WP3.
- Practitioners, industry, civil society, researchers and policy-makers working in the field of security politics are confronted with a range of ethical questions and dilemmas, and they are often very aware of this. In the EU, ethical values have a central role in political debates, and this is reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The tasks in WP6 were designed for clarifying exactly how values are at play in the various sectors of European security politics. Instead of starting from normative perspectives of how security politics ought to be organised, the studies have been drawing on empirical studies of the role of values in practice, in consultation with representatives from the five sectors. By conceptualising these roles and their political implications in the fields of threat analysis and risk assessment, biometric technologies, extremism and counter-extremism, and security preparedness, across the civil and military domains, the studies have prepared the ground for further research and debate on ethical questions and dilemmas across the divides of research, policy and practice.
- The courses carried out in SOURCE have allowed to bring new actors in the network. The PhD course held in October 2018 (T7.1) thus gathered 15 PhD students conducting their research in the field of societal security, who then formally joined SOURCE Primary Network. Similarly, the online course for engineers and designers (T7.2) introduced the SOURCE network and the relevance of societal security to their work field, and the conference and online course for policy and law makers (T7.3) brought together expert academics and policy experts for a day of a conference. By turning that event into an online course, the reach is even broader.
- The e-handbook on Societal Security for first responders targets local police and first responders from all over Europe through easily accessible relevant cases studies on crises and crises response (T7.4-5). Each case study made was based on video interviews with actors in the field, linking the project directly with first responders and police in Europe.
- More generally, SOURCE online content (project website, knowledge base, MediaWatch) has been made available to a large group of potential stakeholders.

As a result, SOURCE partners have gained considerable insights:
- About the non-transferability of security practices: A major assumption of the SOURCE project was that security practices could, under the right material, institutional and intellectual conditions, be transferred simply and easily from one sector to another.
- A spin off this issue has led SOURCE to theorise and analyse the internal heterogeneity of individual security sectors. Certain sectors maintain quite diverse concepts and priorities of security, security technologies and security research and development, and security governance.
- A fundamental discovery of the SOURCE project is that not only are not all security actors compatible with each other in terms of their visions, values, and practices, but also that such a compatibility would not necessarily be desirable.
- The same discovery applies to the formulation of security values. Such values are not necessarily shared, yet importantly such an absolute shared set of security values would guarantee overall security.
- SOURCE has detailed the insight that sharing knowledge inevitably involves a certain kind of politics. By this we mean a certain negotiation of power and influence not only surround who is secure or insecure, but about what being secure actually means.

1.3.2. Joint research activities

The joint research activities carried out in SOURCE aimed at forming the state-of-the-art knowledge on societal security and focused on four different topics: the perceptions on societal security, the institutions working with societal security, the relation between societal security and economics and finally the ethical and legal frameworks surrounding societal security.

The lessons learnt on societal security policies and practices complement the significant achievements of these research activities which have led to the following conclusions:
- Perceptions of societal security needs tend away from, not toward, a unified, power-intensive experience of security. Security is a complex concept and has to be approached from different perspectives with different methods. The idea of societal security can be elaborated into a comprehensive framework, providing the basis for a reconciliation of different partial views and professional interpretations of security. Developing the analytical vocabulary of societal security and demonstrating the prismatic nature of security discourses can bring the debate about security of citizens in Europe to a new level.
- A complex array of professional networks and institutional interconnection structure and determine the function of ‘societal security’ in Europe. The label ‘societal security’ has been centrally a question of economic development for the industry of internal security and has used a lot of EU funds. However, the question of integration of research and ethics into this framework have been far from optimal. This is due to segmentation between the different DGs.
- Financial systems tend to link the societal security of citizens to the volatility of markets instead of shielding them from it, as risk has been associated with profit. With the financial crisis in 2008, however, safety was increasingly valued as an asset, and perspectives from security politics were integrated in theories of financial security. Likewise, the significance of financial markets for the security of individuals, societies and states was increasingly recognised in security studies. By including both of these dimensions, the notion of societal security serves to generate a conversation across these distinct fields of research and practice, as reflected in the studies of WP5.
- European research ethics are inseparable from their political embedding. Like in medical research, where gene technology is regulated on an ethical basis, applied research on security is confronted with fundamental ethical problems like surveillance and state coercion – often conceived as a matter of national security vs. human rights. In conversation with the other WPs, studies in WP6 have contributed to better understandings of how ethics is at stake in security research and practice, and how these stakes relate to underlying political questions and positions. Perceptions on societal security

The primary objective of the work led by VICESSE and carried out under WP3, was to generate comprehensive, survey-based knowledge on European perceptions of societal security that would provide the SOURCE Network of Excellence with empirical data and insights. This objective was to be reached by integrating existing knowledge on public perceptions of societal security across sectors. On this basis, a solid scientific survey methodology would be developed to cover gaps in existing knowledge.
In the first year of the project, the basic methodological, conceptual and logistical problems for the societal security survey were addressed and solved (D3.1 to 3.3). It was decided to use an approach combining multiple data sources, based on reactive and non-reactive methods of data collection and covering different dimensions of societal security. A methodology paper then provided the basic empirical approach on the fieldwork to be conducted in the course of the next years; including the basic envisaged sampling strategy and the draft questionnaire. Especially the questionnaire was excessively informed by systematic desk research on existing surveys, survey methodologies and standards to identify major topics, key issues and good practise.

The first SOURCE Annual Societal Security Report (ASSR), produced by VICESSE, thus provided the basis for the next four annual reports and represented the prototype for the upcoming surveys:
- The second ASSR (VICESSE – D3.5) presents data for security relevant topics, focussing on events covered in media discourse, citizens’ perception of mundane everyday security and experts’ assessment of security relevant developments in contemporary societies. Data from a variety of sources are used to cover a wide array of topics.
- The third ASSR (VICESSE, FOI, TNO – D3.6) investigates European and national policy initiatives and public reactions to the influx of refugees into the European Union in the second half of 2015. Looking at the reactions to this situation demonstrates how a genuinely humanitarian problem is reframed as a problem of security and a threat to National welfare systems and cultural traditions. Investigating these reactions, it can be demonstrated how the idea of societal security is spelt out in a defensive way, i.e. public and publicized opinion and a significant number of national policy actors perceived of refugees from war torn crisis areas in the Middle East as a threat to the status quo, that had to be defended against outside intruders. As opposed to a reading of societal security, highlighting the resilience of democratic societies, honouring human rights, embracing multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity and providing support for those who urgently need it, hostile reactions and a politics of fear prevailed in national policy discourses. The events of 2015 and the often very badly coordinated reactions that followed provided the pretext for Euro-sceptic movements and political parties across the European Union to exploit public fears and xenophobic anxiety, fuelled by media. Policy initiatives at the European level addressed the situation of the refugees in a comprehensive and timely manner and developed suggestions and solutions for joint policies. However, the implementation of these measures was not sufficient and a lack of cooperation at the level of Member States proved as counter-productive. The influx of a significant number of refugees into the European Union triggered important debates about the status and the fundamental principles of Europe as a political actor. It at the same time clearly demonstrated the shortcomings of the present repertoire available to handle major crisis situations in a genuine European manner. There are a number of lessons to be learnt from the events in the second half of 2015 with regard to a strengthening of Europe’s executive capabilities, having to develop a stronger and more robust set of tools and capacities to control.
- The fourth ASSR (VICESSE – D3.7) focuses on the interplay of national and European policy reactions and set out to demonstrate the strategic exploitation of the political situation created by the uncontrolled influx of asylum seekers from the Global South by nationalist populist parties, who were putting the blame for the course of the events as they developed in the summer of 2015 on the European Union. During the research for the third annual report, SOURCE partners identified citizen groups who took controversial positions on the treatment of refugees in their countries. The partners found a substantial number of outspoken anti-migration groups, who fiercely opposed any support for refugees and who were waging anti-migration campaigns. Often, these groups were loosely linked to nationalist-populist parties in their countries.
While mainstream policy and media discourses since 2015 have been focussing on presumed security threats from Islamist terrorists infiltrating Europe as refugees applying for asylum, the violent and vigilant anti-migrant actions went comparatively unnoticed and were downplayed as isolated, individual or local eruptions and actions of single frustrated citizens.
The partners suggested to take these groups and their vigilant anti-asylum actions as the tip of a hitherto unexplored iceberg of what we call "heterodox politicisation". Protesters also were addressing in a more general sense the limited capabilities of the state and public policy, questioning the legitimacy of the existing political-institutional order. Migration policy (or the failure thereof) is but one area, where new forms and narratives of political protest and activity develop. Declining trust in the institutional set-up of the modern state and a feeling and/or experience of general disenfranchisement can support very different narratives and activities outside the established arena of civic political involvement cutting across established dichotomies of left/right or authoritarian/democratic used to categorise civic political protest. A closer look at the subterranean discourses emerging below the radar of established approaches of political analysis reveals strange mixtures linking tropes of radical critique of globalisation and political economy with a metaphysics of Nature, spiced with a wide variety of conspiracy theories, populating the blogosphere and virtual space.
Since very little has been written about these groups and research so far has mainly focussed on the international growth of networks in the right-wing
- The fifth ASSR (VICESSE – D3.8) investigates European security spending and takes a critical look at the policies and strategies of funding security-related spending at European level. It also develops recommendations, to strengthen the role of societal security as a guideline for European security policy initiatives. This last report, together with the analysis led by KCL on networks of security actors in Europe (WP4), contributes to a comprehensive analysis of EU security policy. Practices of security professionals

The primary objective of the work led by KCL and carried out under WP4 was to generate and update a knowledge base and map of professional networks concerned with the provision of societal security in Europe. As security is increasingly focused on anticipating and preventing threats and risks to the fabric and cohesion of Europe, the partners involved (KCL, PRIO, FOI, FhG, CEPS, VUB, EOS, TEC) analysed how security is provided as well as what institutions and professionals are involved in securing European societies

This work resulted in four reports which served to generate a comprehensive map of the professional networks and institutions involved in the provision of societal security in Europe, as well as examining some of the social and political effects of these practices.
- The first report D4.1 assembled a theoretically informed methodology designed to map out the professionals and institutions in charge of societal security in Europe. It starts by surveying the theories and practices of societal security with a view to sketching out a theoretical framework that is commensurate to mapping the actors in charge of securing society in Europe. Drawing on the theoretical framework, it then moves on to providing methodological guidelines and principles for the mapping. Theoretically, we defined societal security as practices of (in)securitisation referring to any object other than the compulsory political organization with continuous operations (whose) administrative staff successfully upholds the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force over a population living in a delimitated territory. Simply put, societal security alleviates dangers that threaten anything else than the State: human population, cultural values, economic wealth, critical infrastructures, scientific potential, etc. This broad approach to societal security aims at bridging a gap that we mark out in the first part of this deliverable. The Copenhagen School framing of societal security as “the ability of a society to persist in its essential character under changing conditions and possible or actual threats” proves too narrow to capture what actors say and do about the security of society in Europe. We present of preliminary analysis of policy-oriented discourses showing that agencies of civil security define societal security as the resilience of society in critical situations, whereas corporate actors reframe it as the acceptance of the devices of security that they develop with the support of DG Enterprise. Most importantly, the apparently most state-centred security institutions such as intelligence services claim to protect other targets that the State, but they do so without resorting to terminology of “societal security”, “societal” or even “society”.
- The second report, D4.4 confirms that Task 4.2 “Mapping networks of security professionals” received the approval from the national data protection authorities to start its activities.
- The third report, D4.3 focused on analysing the institutional transformations taking place amongst providers of ‘societal security’ in Europe and the wider effects of these transformations. In particular, it looks at the impact of on tracing changing understandings of societal security through contestations and political controversies amongst professionals and institutions. This allowed for a critical reflection on the impact of institutional transformation –and by consequence, on changing security understandings and practices -for societal cohesion and identity in Europe.
This report began by contextualising this research problematique, placing this set of practices within the wider picture of the transformation of the provision of security within the area of justice, freedom and security; what we have called a ‘freedom-technology-surveillance’ paradox. This first manifested during the birth of Schengen over thirty years ago, and has been extended and accelerated through providers of ‘societal security’. The next part introduced our theoretical approach: International Political Sociology-as a means through which to study the ‘freedom-technology-surveillance’ paradox and situates this within the context of various frameworks theorizing internal security cooperation within the EU. We then elaborate on the particular ‘freedom-technology-surveillance’ paradox at play; both within the very early negotiations of Schengen and the five original member states, juxtaposing this with the situation today with the datafication of borders and calls by the Commission for complete interoperability of different discrete databases in order to track people on the move.
The remaining chapters of this report developed on different ways this ‘freedom-technology-surveillance’ paradox manifested. It looked in detail at the sociogenesis of the label ‘societal security’ in Scandinavia and its proliferation across Europe; archival research into how ‘freedom of movement’ within Schengen-land came to be ‘offset’ by surveillance technologies; a sociological mapping of the EU security research funding programmes which resulted in this move towards more technological approaches to security and a security-first logic; research on the development of the different data bases in police and migration matters and the projects to make them ‘interoperable’, and lastly ethnographic research on the effects of these surveillance technologies on people trapped at the EU borderlands.
- The final report, D4.2 implemented the theoretical and methodological principles developed in D4.1 and links with the research conducted in D4.3 on what we have labelled a ‘freedom-technology-surveillance paradox’ within the field of EU Internal Security. It investigates and documents which authorities, agencies, institutions, and professionals are involved with the debates on societal security in Europe. Through surveys, interviews and archival research, it examines the internal working cultures, norms and understandings of security in the area of justice, freedom and security. This research sheds light on the potential as well as the limits of the knowledge production in societal security. Through in-depth interviews and a technique of ‘snow-balling’ between individuals in linked networks, this report charts the tensions and flows of information through the European system. This knowledge about security professionals, institutions, understandings of societal security and flows of information is mapped and represented through various computer-assisted visualizations, specifically timelines, networks and multiple correspondence analysis.
Research carried out within WP4, specifically ethnographic fieldwork on the effects of border technologies on ‘Third Country Nationals’ on the Spain-Morocco border has contributed to the ERC Relation between societal security and financial security

The main objective of the work led by PRIO under WP5 was to clarify the relationship between societal security and the global financial system. To achieve this objective, PRIO in collaboration with FOI, VUB, VICESSE and TECNALIA set out to map, document and analyse the relation between financial institutions involved in the security of society; clarify the role of financial security in relation to the availability and flow of industrial security resources; and clarify the evolving role of financial actors in the politics of security.

The work resulted in three reports presenting significant advances in the conceptualisation of the relation between global finance and societal security:
- The first report (D5.1) presents a conceptual overview of finance-security relations with particular focus on risk methodologies. The connections between the fields of finance and security are manifold and complex. The financial sense of security may refer to collateral for a loan, a financial instrument such as bonds, smooth consumption and financial stability respectively. Yet the political sense of security is also implicated with financial markets and logics in the twin processes of the securitisation of finance and the financialisation of security. These increasingly inform regulatory responses to the liberal security problematic of securing circulation. In the 21st century, the global security problem has outgrown territorial conceptions of inside/ outside and implies a cognitive shift of thinking security in terms of circulation, complexity and contingency. This shift is often conceptualised as a move from state actors to transnational risks. Based on an in-depth assessment of risk methodologies in the fields of finance and security, this report argues that probabilistic risk has been a central part of both disciplines in the 2nd half of the 20th century and that the shift is more accurately conceived as non-probabilistic uncertainty. The use of ‘risk’ for low-probability/high-impact events may reflect a more general association of risk with governability and calculability. Different epistemic alternatives to probabilistic forms of knowledge have been pursued to optimise security under unpredictable uncertainty although the growing field of security economics continues to rely on predictive models of rational actors. The implications of these developments for societal security are as follows: First, the financial system is an integrative part of society and cannot be conceived as separate entity. In particular the process of financialisation has linked the financial security of citizens to the volatility of global financial markets. Second, securing the financial system as a critical infrastructure presents a peculiar problem since the main operational principle of financial circulation is taking risks. Third, a novel conception of the future as indeterminate and disruptive increasingly moves the emphasis for societal security from quantified prediction of threat to qualitative preparedness.
- The second report (D5.2) addresses the interrelations of financial systems and societal security deepens the analysis of the problematic of securing financial circulation. It begins with raising two issues that are at stake when conceiving of the financial system as critical infrastructure: first, while finance and banking have been a part of the critical infrastructure protection paradigm from the start, in contrast to energy grids and transport systems, a defining element of financial circulation is risk-taking; the question of financial CIP further needs to be considered not only in terms of political securitisation but also in terms of financial securitisation, that is, the making credible and making liquid of securities. Following a detailed mapping of global financial flows in terms of type and volume of flows, financial system and financial actors, the report first draws out ‘financial’ factors in securing circulation, determined by financial regulation, monetary policy, collateral and credit ratings. Here securities as legal claims are the very objects of circulation, security in the sense of collateral enables the circulation of securities, and various regulatory paradigms seek to ensure financial stability on a systemic level. It then moves on to ‘political’ factors in an analysis of financial surveillance in the two senses of macroeconomic monitoring and the fight against terrorism financing, before drawing some conclusions for the finance-security assemblage, and in turn for societal security in a post-financial crisis-post-9/11 era.
- The third report (D5.3) assesses the effect of the global financial crisis on societal security. In a first step it analyses the consequences of the crisis for financial security in Europe, measured in terms of the impact on unemployment, pensions and material deprivation. Given the significance of societal values to the concept of societal security, the next section discusses the social value of finance from a post-crisis perspective and reviews the growing sector of alternative finance. The final section assesses the post-crisis resilience of European societies in terms of the more general effect the crisis has had on social cohesion, defined in both political and social terms. The report finds significant short- and medium-term effects of the financial crisis on societal security in terms of material consequences for financial security, the perceived value to society of the financial sector and increasing cohesive cleavages in European societies.

Research from WP5 provided as well the conceptual basis for several events contributing to the dissemination of SOURCE results and the expansion of the network:
- A PhD course “Interconnections of Finance and Security” was thus held in October 2015 at the PRIO Research School on Peace and Conflict ( The course took the form of a hybrid between PhD course and workshop and featured six of the leading scholars working on the interlinkages of finance and security, including a roundtable on how to theorise these interconnections. Research from the workshop was published in a special issue on finance-security relations in the new open access, peer-reviewed journal Finance and Society in 2017.
- A workshop “Living the “new normal”: Post-crisis politics of money, debt and time” was held at the 2016 European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS). This workshop expanded upon the analyses in WP5 by exploring the specific effects of the crisis and crisis governance on economic normality and configurations of the public.
- A workshop “Exploring the Cashless Society: Money, Security, Technology, Value(s)” was held in February 2018, in association with the Finance and Society Network and nordSTEVA. Following up on research conducted under WP5 as well as WP6, the workshop aimed to identify the most pressing questions and problematics that confront us in the emerging cashless society with a focus on new relations between money and security. Ethical and legal frameworks and implications of societal security

The main objective of the work led by PRIO under WP6 was to provide the documentary and analytic foundation for on-going research on the dependencies between Societal Security and ethical values. PRIO in close collaboration with FOI, TNO, CES, VUB, VICESSE, KCL and EOS produced four reports addressing several aspects of the topic:
- The first report (D6.1) aims to clarify the role of values in the conceptualisation of security in threat analyses in the different sectors of the overall security landscape in Europe. This is done on the basis of analyses of official documents, policy pronouncements, literature reviews and interviews. It is argued that the connection between values and threats often remains unclear in security strategies and risk assessments referring to values like human rights, democracy and the rule of law for their justification. In want of common operationalisations of these values, it results in a great variety of risk assessments where the value impact of risks is evaluated differently. As a basis for security policy, there is therefore a need for making the normative judgments involved in the analyses more explicit. The authors of this report highlight three basic dimensions of such value judgments, related to questions of universalism vs. relativism and individualism vs. collectivism. These are exemplified by cases of refugee management and everyday security. Against this background, the landscape of European threat analysis is then reviewed, including a new type of national risk assessments prescribed by EU regulations on disaster risk management.
- The second report (D6.2) addresses the widespread ethical issues raised by the increasing use of biometric technologies. It concentrates on the social and political effects of novel governmental schemes of policing, surveillance and identity management that combine biometric information with cloud based computing and the automated analysis of big data. In doing so, the report aims in particular to analyse the implicit value assumptions in the deployment of biometric technologies and the legal and rights issues these are raising. To date, ethical analyses of biometric technologies have tended to focus on the impact on individuals, with an emphasis on privacy. This report complements this focus by highlighting societal dimensions of the ethics of biometric technologies.
- The third report (D6.3) examines different understandings of the role of values, culture and society in violent extremism and how these are reflected in ethical, legal and political responses by European states and the European Union. Three frameworks of understanding are presented and compared: cultural, social-psychologic and political. It is demonstrated how these imply diverging policy prescriptions. The report draws on findings from a series of activities, including a review of literature on radicalisation, extremism and terrorism in sociology, political psychology and political science and consultations with experts and scholars from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. The appendix includes a complementary report on ethical problems of globalising policies of Countering Violent Extremism.
- The fourth report (D6.4) analyses ethical and human rights issues raised by actions taken in preparation for security threats, taking into account the internal/external dimension of security. It raises ten ethical problems in security preparedness and discusses these from different ethical perspectives. Then, two sets of prescriptive principles for preparedness are considered against the background of the ethical problems and perspectives. Finally, a framework for ethical reflection on security preparedness is proposed, with a view to harmonising policies and practices with fundamental principles of human rights. The report was presented at the United Nations in New York in October 2018.

The four reports resulted from a range of activities, including workshops and consultations, desk-top research and interviews, basic research on underlying dimensions like the role of ethics in EU security research, and dissemination to a wider audience.

1.3.3. Education and training

The primary objective of the work led by VUB under WP7 was to develop and administer high-level and state-of-the art curricula, courses materials and teaching to professionals across all relevant sectors of the societal security environment.

To this aim, VUB in collaboration with FOI, TNO, VICESSE, EOS, TECNALIA and PRIO produced novel and unique educational content and curricula thus ensuring knowledge sharing on societal security oriented towards different target groups of stakeholders by identification of their needs. These activities also served to expand SOURCE network.

Three courses were thus developed, serving as a source of dissemination of research outputs from SOURCE at a university and stakeholder levels:
- A curriculum for a PhD course on societal security, with an emphasis on technology, led by PRIO in close collaboration with VUB, was developed based on research and capacities in the SOURCE project (D7.1). The course was offered in Oslo and Brussels, with great interest. Both versions of the course were filmed, feeding into other educational material in SOURCE as well as an open online course version with readings and the lectures (
- An educational curriculum on societal security tailored for designers and engineers was developed by VUB in close cooperation with SOURCE partners having expertise in the area of security, technology and design to provide insightful materials for the target audience (D7.2). The course was introduced online in the format of self-paced course ( It corresponds with all pedagogical standards, including self-assessment and active learning tools, in addition to the elements targeted at increasing critical thinking in the field in question.
- As present and future policy actors are in constant need of upgrading their knowledge on today’s realities corresponding with the rapidly changing world, VUB organised in 2016 a conference at the EC titled: “Managing Societal security: policymakers as securitising actors”. To give the educational conference a longer lifespan, it was filmed and turned into an interactive online course. Following the event, the recorded conference was split into modules that were put online. The modules were complimented by educational assignments and discussion forums to meet pedagogical requirements. The online course (D7.3) was placed online at the Canvas e-learning platform featuring the most recent innovative solutions for distant learning. The link to the course was then shared on the SOURCE website, distributed to conference speakers and to the SOURCE project partners ( In late 2017, the IES board took a decision to run the course as an elective in the framework of the institute’s postgraduate certificate program.

In addition, VUB in close collaboration with EOS, TECNALIA, VICESSE and FOI produced a e-handbook on Societal Security Crises and Emergency Response in Europe (D7.4-5) which has been widely disseminated and is available on SOUCE website ( This e-handbook includes video package and educational materials for the first-line practitioners and police that could also be interesting for educators, academics, researchers or any individual looking to enhance their knowledge of specific cases of societal security. The e-handbook focuses on complex scenarios challenging human safety, public order and societal stability. The e-handbook features six stories developed by task partners and VUB, in the format of case-studies and videos from different parts of Europe (Austria, Sweden, Belgium and Spain), where strategies and actions of first response professionals during national emergencies are explored in an involving manner. All six case-studies are built upon the analysis of real events that occurred in the 2000s. The electronic design and professional layout make the content easily accessible and users with internet connection can read the text, play the embedded videos and complete the assignments. The content provides general guidance and exposes the user to the questions that first responders face in their every-day work.

1.3.4. Documentation

The primary objective of the work led by VUB and carried out under WP8 was to gather and organize information and research of relevance to research and development on societal security, its conceptualization and implementation. The collection and first-level sorting of information of relevance for the study and operationalization of societal security (scholarly, technical, legal and mass media trends) would be recorded and coordinated in the observatory and documentation hub.

The secondary objectives included:
- To track and document changes in legal regimes of relevance to societal security in Europe
- To continuously map the state of the play of technological evolution in the security sector
- To create and maintain an index of current and past scholarly research of relevance for societal security
- To monitor media responses to threats and insecurity
- To maintain a database with a reasoned storage and indexing function.

To this aim, VUB in collaboration with Fraunhofer, CEPS, VICESSE, EOS, TECNALIA, ENS, TNO, KCL and PRIO created the SOURCE Observatory with the ambition to create one meaningful space where knowledge is identified, collected and inserted, organised and shared. The Observatory consisted of two regularly updated sources of information relevant to Societal Security, including news, scientific documents, legal and policy information, video interviews, podcasts, blogs and websites:
- The MediaWatch ( an online database of international news (in English) relevant to societal security (D8.4) continuously scanned over 350 news outlets and collected relevant news surrounding societal security. The data could be used to identify key issues of relevance for societal security research, policy, development and regulation over time. Over the duration of SOURCE, VUB continuously performed quality checks and scanning of the functioning of the media sources, added new media sources and removed inactive links as well. By the end of the project, the MediaWatch contained 644,736 references and links to news articles in a highly sortable and easy to filter presentation.
- The Knowledge database ( aimed to be one stop shop for selected societal security relevant content (other than news articles covered in the MediaWatch) that is freely available (D8.6). This included scientific publications, policy documents, research projects, blogs, video interviews and presentations, research projects, reports and links. This was also where users can access all SOURCE related publications. Content was added manually, and the knowledge base was frequently updated by all SOURCE partners. By the end of the project, it contained 310 documents. The content of the knowledge base serves as the basis for D8.3 Index of international scholarly research.

In addition, the partners documented developments in technology and national/European legal trends relevant to societal security in the form of “Legal” and “Technology Cards”:
- The documented legal trends, in the form of “Legal cards” (D8.1) aimed at providing readers with in-depth insight in relevant developments in societal security that have implications for the legal regulations that frame them, as well as of changes in legal thinking, legislation and policy that could have consequences for societal security. The Legal Cards have been developed in light of key legal and European policy developments affecting the wider scope of societal security. A total of nine Legal Cards have been produced, with subjects ranging from key European legislation and legislative proposals to broader European policy agenda’s. The topics for the legal cards have been selected on the basis of their importance for and impact on European and national legislation and policy. The Legal Cards present the background, content and (relevant) critical reflections on these key legal and policy developments.
- Since societal security is understood as situated between society and technology, current knowledge and information about technological development is crucial. For this purpose, relevant technological trends were continuously scanned and monitored during the whole project, using desk research and bibliometric tools. Criteria for the selection of technologies were: the relevance of the topic for societal security, their importance (impact) and if they are of general interest to a large proportion of people. In total 25 technologies were highlighted during the project, and developed in “Technology Cards” (D8.2). However, the list cannot be seen as exhaustive and represents only a selection of technologies, as societal security is influenced by a wide range of technological factors.

Lastly, a visualisation of web cartography of the post Snowden debates was produced as well by the Sciences Po médialab. A map of the actors of the online debates on security was produced and explored using complex network analysis techniques. The results were then visualised using the médialab developed tool Manylines. A scientometric study of the death of migrants and refugees at sea was also carried out. The medialab's visualisation work performed under WP8 and in collaboration with KCL has been particularly interesting to compare the views of political scientists and information designers to make the data produced understandable. The partners were able to discuss at length how to collect the data, to organize them within the model of the Heurist database and then to make certain phenomena visible rather than others as part of the dynamic visualisations. This collaboration has been very successful on both sides and the links created through the SOURCE project will hopefully lead to future research collaborations.

Overall, the content developed, written and organised in the context of societal security under SOURCE documentation activities provides valuable up to date resource for extended network working in the field of societal security. SOURCE website including the Observatory will remain open until the end of 2019, and available for SOURCE VCE.
Potential Impact:
1.4.1. Potential impact

Over the course of its 5-years life the SOURCE project has had a real impact. This impact shapes the course of the project’s future potential impact. Since its inception SOURCE has contributed to shaping conversations about security research and policy in Europe and beyond. The ‘societal dimension’ of security has over the course of the project been mainstreamed, and a dawning convergence between the social science, political, cultural and ethical approaches to security and ‘hard’ security research and development is observable. The character of this convergence has evolved over the course of the project and is likely to continue to evolve.

Security policy in many of its forms has shifted to some degree toward an awareness of the added value of the societal approach. All indications are that it will continue to evolve in this way. On the other hand, it is to be noted that SOURCE has provided a set of normative concepts that will likely continue to influence debate and voices critical to mainstream European security policy. By the same token SOURCE will like impact the breadth of security debate. The concepts it has developed have over the course of the project opened the way for participants in security debate to those who would not ordinarily have participated. It will likely continue to do so.

Naturally, the SOURCE Virtual Centre of Excellence whose patent aim is to develop the SOURCE network beyond the scope of the project, will also have a distinct impact. Modestly but surely, the VCE and with it the SOURCE network is enlarging, and new collaborations are developing between scholars and policy makers for instance. The potential for re-purposing and re-deploying tools is compelling. The scope of that impact will depend on a variety of external factors, but the potential is clear.

Finally, the SOURCE network has invested considerable resources into the development and practice of the practitioner and academic courses with the aim of educating a new generation on the notion of societal security. These courses were developed as live and online materials. Their use value and impact will thus reach well beyond the end of the project, keeping the political discussion about the role of the societal dimension in security research & development, and governance. It will also contribute to nourishing the new generation of scholars that have been follow the PhD classes is also continuing to reflect and disseminate some of the result we were able to find out.

1.4.2. Dissemination activities

SOURCE partners ensured a wide and multifaceted dissemination of the project results (mainly under WP9 led by CEPS), through several events and diverse communication activities:
- 13 policy meetings and briefing seminars took place, engaging with policy- and lawmakers at different levels. These events aimed at presenting the research results on security challenges relevant to current political developments and trends and to directly discuss with key actors those current societal security challenges. They addressed a wide range of topics – including radicalisation, migration, biometrics or counterterrorism – and gathered from 40 to 120 participants each (see D9.2).
- 18 Policy Briefs were published on latest policy issues, including the implications that EU policies on migration, visas, border control, and asylum have on fundamental rights and personal freedoms, and in particular on the rights to personal liberty and security, the right to privacy and data protection, but also on the freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, and the freedom against discrimination. All Policy Briefs are open access and free downloadable from the SOURCE website ( They have been widely disseminated, reaching by the end of the project a range of 400 to more than 11,000 downloads (see D9.4).
- SOURCE partners established the online journal Security, Society and Technology and published its first issue in December 2018 (see D9.3 and The journal, which will be continued beyond the project within the SOURCE VCE, aims to:
o Provide information, documentation, updates and reviews of activities and issues on societal security of relevance to industry, policy, technology developers, civil society and academia, including legal and regulatory matters, policy developments, technological innovation, and the evolution of societal and political ideas.
o Host dialogues and debates, and scholarly analysis. Contributors will be invited to address political, ethical and societal issues raised by existing and emerging security technologies and solutions developed in response to contemporary security challenges.
o Be a resource and forum for current affairs and on-going debates about the enhancement of societal resilience through security technologies, positioning itself as essential reading for policy makers, practitioners, industry officials and technology entrepreneurs, academics and students, national legislators, end-users and journalists.
- 4 annual conferences with speakers and participants from different sectors were successfully held. The purpose of these symposia was to facilitate discussions among key stakeholders with regards to security challenges and societal impact. The invitees ranged in professional background, from researchers to industry representatives and policy makers. This multidisciplinary approach would encourage discussions from different perspectives and contextualize the topics addressed:
o Security and Societal Issues: How to Strike the Good Balance (February 8th, 2016 – Brussels – see D9.9)
o Global threats, local actors (March 21st-22nd, 2017 – Vienna – see D9.10)
o Counterterrorism without terror? Identity-threats to the nation-state (June 18th, 2018 – Paris – see D9.11)
o Responding to societal needs through security policy (November 28th, 2018 – Brussels – see D9.12)
- Video interviews were conducted by VUB with security experts from the various stakeholder groups (civil society members/European citizens, scholars and researchers, industry representatives, NGO representatives and policy makers) and published on the SOURCE project YouTube channel and on the SOURCE project website ( The focus of the interviews was to explore their opinions on Europe’s future security threats, key actors in addressing these threats and to enquire on their position concerning the role of the concept of societal security. The output of these interviews highlights the diversity of stakeholders within the field, their broad level of expertise and the exciting dynamics of the European security actors (see D9.14). The videos are still receiving new views on a regular basis, continuing their potential impact.
- In relation with SOURCE education and training activities carried under WP7, VUB also designed a methodology and scenario game to help teach and train students in the societal security mindset. The game simulates conflicting actor positions relating to security and freedom of religion in a struggle over recognition for asylum. The corresponding report (D9.15) documents the process of identifying a crisis relating to societal security, its simulation, the exercise itself, and evaluation, and gives clear guidelines on how to implement the same scenario or adapt it to another situation. The report serves as an education tool that is available to trainers and teachers.
- A short-film competition on ‘The Societal Challenges of Asylum and Migration in the 21st Century' was organized. The selected films – done/produced by young promising filmmakers on the topic of migration, asylum and borders 'crisis' in Europe – were screened on November 7th, 2018 in Brussels for a public audience and a jury consisting of stakeholder representatives. Two awards – a Jury award and an Audience award – were attributed and announced during SOURCE Final Conference, which included a viewing of the awarded films and a roundtable discussion together with the awarded filmmakers and members of the jury (see D9.13).

Over the duration of the project, audiences expanded and new actors were targeted. SOURCE partners closely engaged with other related European projects on societal security and extremism, and with policy-makers and academics through specific dissemination activities but also through other tasks such as assessment workshops (see D2.6) and dedicated courses (see D7.2 and D7.3).

1.4.3. Exploitation of results

The main result of the SOURCE project was to bring together a variety of stakeholders concerned in a variety of ways with security across a range of sectors, using different methodologies, through very different type of epistemologies and from different national and cultural backgrounds. A network of people and institutions concerned with societal security was established, and with them the basis for the development of personal connections. Despite the challenges encountered the conditions were created to maintain and expend the network and the relationships the imply with the aim of developing the knowledge and the practice on societal security in Europe.

This network of excellence on societal security represents a resource for future exploitation. ENS – for instance – as an academic institution will like draw upon the SOURCE network in order to organise workshops and conferences, drawing on people and relationships that were developed through SOURCE dissemination activities. In this way, efforts will be made to engage with new people working on societal security but who has not been yet invited to contribute to the network, in order to continue enlarging the network.

By continuing to develop this network, general knowledge on societal security will grow and develop in all sectors (through regular knowledge-sharing), improving the quality of policy-making and practices, and contributing to the convergence and construction of a common European culture of societal security.

The Virtual Centre of Excellence will have a key role in maintaining and expanding the network by centralising and scientifically supporting all activities and initiatives. The work conducted in the network-building workpackage (WP2) linked networking approaches to user expectations and the interrelations between the various sectors will be used for the generation of new ideas and the constitution of consortia for new proposals. More specifically, lessons learnt in WP2 are applicable also in other security initiatives, like platforms and brokerage events. As an example, Tecnalia will in the future use the results of the reflection over the creation of the VCE for similar initiatives in the European Security Research Programme and beyond.

In parallel, the research work carried out in SOURCE will be furthered. Research performed under WP5 and WP6 has thus prepared the ground for basic research on financial and ethical dimensions of societal security, as well as for applied research and dissemination on these topics. The results have already generated new research initiatives and scientific publications. Results of the SOURCE project have also facilitated contributions to other relevant EU security research projects, like the project PERSONA on Impact Assessment Method for No-Gate Crossing Point Solutions. As another example, SOURCE research on interoperability of security databases led the floor for specific studies on this topic by the FRA, EDPS, the European Parliament or different think-tanks. The connection between interoperability, cyber security, transatlantic relations and privacy will be a key topic for the next ten years. SOURCE partners (mainly KCL) have all the elements to develop this line of research which is not clearly expressed in the Horizon 2020 programme. Additionally, the archival research on Schengen documents (1985-1990) KCL has carried out could be exhibited in museums as part of a history of Schengen (e.g. Normandy Region project). The data could be transformed using graphic designers and artists working with museums and itinerant exhibitions.

Furthermore, the methods developed in SOURCE – such as the possibility of visual and digital anthropological methods and visualisation of quantitative analysis of documents – could be further exploited within research centres and education institutions. The Guidebook for Knowledge Sharing on Societal Security (D2.7) will for instance help to continue to test and improve the established knowledge-sharing methodologies for societal security in future workshops, such as workshops that ENS is planning to organise, specifically in the continuity of the 4 topic working groups: the freedom-technology-surveillance paradox, heterodox political groups, internet of things and security, and ethics of countering violent extremism. Similarly, the methodology and scenario game developed in SOURCE (D9.15) were designed to help teach and train students in the societal security mindset. The report gives clear guidelines on how to implement the same scenario or adapt it to another situation and serves as an education tool that is available to trainers and teachers.

The data collected in the MediaWatch also offers an opportunity to analyse media coverage from 2015-2019, including peaks and spikes in themes, subjects and use of words. Additionally, focus on specific individuals as well as institutions allows an analysis on where societal security related issues have been dominated. The Mediawatch is available until the end of 2019. The IES may conduct a discourse analysis in this year. The content is openly available to researchers, and the same goes for all the SOURCE documents created during the project period. The legal trend cards, technology trend cards, reports, videos, and deliverables are available on the knowledge base until the end of 2019 providing input for further research and potential advise to policy makers in the field.

All the educational material created in SOURCE remains available and in use ( The PhD course on Societal Security: Critical Perspectives (D7.1) taught twice in classrooms during the project duration has been turned into an open online course hosted by PRIO, where videos and course materials from all course sessions are students will be able to continue available. enrolling to and completing the course. This online course served as a pilot for the Research School on Peace and Conflict – potentially generating further online courses in the field of peace and security. The course on Societal Security for Engineers and Designers (D7.2) was developed as a self-paced online course that allows students to enrol and complete the course at their own speed. This course that can be used directly by students or used by professors or trainers looking for new material will be available on the VUB’s Canvas online platform after the finalization of the SOURCE project. The course on Societal Security for Policy and Law-makers (D7.3) was also developed originally as a self-paced online course that allows students to enrol and complete the course at their own speed on the VUB’s Canvas platform. The course has now entered (as an elective course) in the curriculum of the Post-Graduate Certificate in EU studies Program run by VUB’s Institute for European Studies. In addition, some of the organisations that were involved in case study interviews such as the Belgian Crisis Center and the Belgian counter radicalisation unit of BRAVVO have indicated their interest in using the e-handbook and video package on societal security for first responders (D.4-5) for their internal training purposes. The handbook remains in active dissemination and is open for use by trainers of first responders and local police. The handbook is primarily designed to assist and benefit emergency response practitioners, but it has to be specified that its content offers a wide range of material that is also useful for educators, academics, researchers and anyone having the wish of enhancing their knowledge on societal security.

The reports produced in WP5 and WP6 have also been used for education purposes and for dissemination to practitioners and policy makers. Output has also been presented in policy forums such as the United Nations and the CEPS Ideas Lab, and will continue to be used for informing relevant policy processes. Several SOURCE outputs, such as the report on human values in threat analysis (D6.1) the report on societal ethics and biometric technologies (D6.2) or the Annual Societal Security Reports produced under WP3, have been or will be developed in second editions for wider dissemination and information. Overall, SOURCE partners will continue disseminating on the project results not only to enhance their visibility in the community but also to further knowledge sharing in societal security. The videos still available on the SOURCE website and on the SOURCE YouTube channel are thus still receiving new views on a regular basis, continuing their potential impact.
List of Websites:
Name of the scientific representative of the project's co-ordinator, Title and Organisation:
Sara Skogsater, Senior Consultant - ARTTIC
Tel: +33 (0)5 67 80 02 74
Fax: +33 (0)1 53 94 54 70
Project website7 address: