Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - SECURINT (European Union Internal Security Governance)

Since the entry of the Treaty of Amsterdam into force in 1999, the European Union has the mandate to establish the EU as an 'area of freedom, security and justice' and to provide citizens with a 'high level of security'. This mandate was reaffirmed by both 2005 and 2010 Hague Programme and the Treaty of Lisbon which was signed in 2007. The emergence of the Union as an actor in the internal security field could be regarded as one of the most significant recent developments of the European integration process as it touches upon one of the core functions of the state, the provision of internal security to citizens.

The SECURINT Marie Curie chair in EU internal security governance at the Université Robert Schuman (URS) carried out in-depth research, provided research training and taught advanced courses on EU internal security governance, focussing on four main tasks:
1. the identification of the limitations of the current EU internal security concept due to its subsidiary role regarding national internal security, its limitation to serious forms of cross-border crime and the continuing predominance of national internal security threat assessments behind the common EU threat assessments provided by Europol and other EU structures;
2. the critical assessment of the benefits of EU action in this field, consisting of the gradual emergence of common priorities, reduced obstacles to cross-border cooperation, development of common criminal law and procedure elements and build-up of common structures and operational capabilities, as well as of its costs, such as the ever increasing complexity because of the 'opt-outs' and 'opt-ins', the serious implementation problems because of the differences between national systems, the proliferation of often poorly coordinated structures and the negative legal and procedural implications of the 'pillar' structure;
3. the analysis of EU governance instruments in the internal security domain which showed an overall 'cooperative' rather than 'integrative' orientation with an extensive use of non-binding target-setting and convergence support instruments, a preference for 'softer' rather than 'harder' governance, which was also reflected in a reluctance to engage in substantive harmonisation, and the transfer of real operational powers to agencies such Europol, Eurojust and Frontex. While this tended to reduce the effectiveness of EU measures on the implementation side it facilitated, on the other hand, the extension of EU governance to more and more aspects of internal security governance which were formerly considered as a purely national domain.
4. the evaluation of parliamentary and judicial control procedures showed a clear but limited increase of the powers of the European Parliament since the introduction of co-decision to some of the fields of internal security governance and a growing, but still fragmentary, assertion of the role of the Court of Justice as protector of fundamental rights and civil liberties in the 'area of freedom, security and justice'. The persisting control deficits would be reduced to a considerable extent by the Treaty of Lisbon, whose potential was extensively assessed during the final project phase.

The project aimed at generating interest among younger researchers and creating new cross-border and cross-disciplinary networks and contacts in this still relatively new field of research. It therefore involved a range of 'outreach' activities both within and outside the EU. Overall, the project provided the basis for more than 40 publications, the establishment of a SECURINT research data-base on EU justice and home affairs' documents and a documentation centre at the URS, the organisation of 9 international conferences, seminars and expert meetings, the organisation of 11 public lectures by senior EU and national government representatives given in Strasbourg, 21 special public lectures given by the chair holder in 18 EU and non-EU countries and, finally, for a total of 16 courses and modules offered at the URS over the three years of the project duration.

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