Statewatch article: RefNo# 33609
EU: Police forces get ready for multi-billion euro policing and security funds
Statewatch News Online, June 2014
Europe's police forces are preparing to take advantage of the billions of euros available in EU funding over the next few years. Member States' representatives unveiled plans to coordinate their work and cooperate on funding bids at a recent meeting of the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services (ENLETS). They are hoping to access funding from the EU's €77 billion research programme Horizon 2020, which has a security theme worth €1.6 billion, as well as the Internal Security Fund, which will make just over €1 billion available to police forces for projects aimed at enhancing cooperation.


ENLETS is made up of national law enforcement technology bodies (for example, the UK is represented by the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology). The group began as an informal initiative, but was officially endorsed in July 2013 by the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council, made up of Member States' interior ministers. Earlier this year a six-year work programme was approved by the Council's Standing Committee on operational cooperation on internal security (COSI), made up of high-level policing and security officials from EU Member States.

ENLETS' membership covers 26 Member States, with a "core group" made up of Belgium, Greece, France, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and the UK. It is perhaps best-known for its interest in technology that would allow the police to stop cars remotely, and has also expressed an interest in, amongst other things, covert surveillance technology, drones, and open source intelligence (OSINT).

The conclusions of last July's JHA Council meeting said that ENLETS:

"[C]ould… become a leading European platform for strengthening the internal security authorities' involvement in security-related research and industrial policy and thus bridging the gap between the end users and providers of law enforcement technologies." [1]

To this end, one of the group's tasks is to:

"[E]xplore funding opportunities, including the Internal Security Fund and the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and use ENLETS to ensure that internal security authorities follow-them up on cooperation with research and industry."

Following the money

Minutes of an ENLETS meeting in May [2] show that some national forces have already made submissions for funding to EU programmes. The Dutch delegation, for example, informed the meeting of its bid for Horizon 2020 funding with a "proposal on robotics".

Present at the ENLETS meeting were 23 national representatives and a Europol official. They concluded that Member States "should all reach an agreement on coordinating the submission of proposals in response to the call for proposals under the topic FCT-8-2014 (Fight against crime and terrorism)."

This call was published by the Commission in December, and has a budget of €34.81 million in 2014 and €44.26 million in 2015 for projects that "improve coordination at European level of various transnational, national or regional law enforcement agencies [sic] networks in different security research domains". [3] More specifically, proposals are supposed to find ways to:

(a) exchange information on security issues in Member States and Associated Countries and define core areas of common interest in order to prevent duplication and identify synergies;
(b) exchange information about identified research needs and latest technological developments to address these needs;
(c) develop common strategies and mechanisms in the specific area(s); and
(d) explore and demonstrate coordinated and/or joint activities (for instance in paving the way for a framework to achieve the interoperability of databases and information sharing systems, like EIXM, UMF2, SIENA, IXP and I-link).

The call comes under the 'secure societies' programme, which has a total budget of €1.6 billion euro and runs from 2014 until 2020. Other 'secure societies' calls published in December cover disaster resilience, "including adapting to climate change" (€158,470,000 over 2014 and 2015); border security and external security (€60,870,000); and digital security: cybersecurity, privacy and trust (€97,350,000). Successful proposals are due to be announced in August.

The inside track

Patrick Padding, leader of the ENLETS "core group", informed May's ENLETS meeting of "the preparation of the strategic document for 2016 in the context of the Secure Societies Advisory Group." He sits on the Secure Societies Advisory Group in a "personal capacity", the role of which is to:

"[P]rovide consistent and consolidated advice to the Commission services during the preparation of the Horizon 2020 work programme… on relevant objectives and scientific, technological and innovation priorities by way of opinions, recommendations or reports".

Previous research by Statewatch has shown how the EU's security research programmes have been "shaped by prominent transnational defence and security corporations and other vested interests" [4] through informal and formal groups (for example, the Security Advisory Group, which advised the Commission on work programmes for security research under Horizon 2020's predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme).

The Secure Societies Advisory Group has 30 members, 11 of which are organisations. These include the industry lobby groups AeroSpace and Defence (ASD) and the European Organisation for Security (EOS). The European Defence Agency, Europol and Frontex also participate. Alongside Patrick Padding, there are 17 other individuals acting in a "personal capacity", a number of whom are closely connected to the military and security industries.

In mid-May the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, announced the opening of an investigation into the composition of the Commission's expert groups to:

"[I]nvestigate which expert groups may lack a balanced representation of interests, whether the appointment of members 'in a personal capacity' is problematic and whether expert groups work as transparently as possible." [5]

As well as advising the Commission on future security research work programmes, Padding has been touting ENLETS to industry groups. In January 2014, the 'Security Mission Information & Innovation Group' (SMI2G, "an initiative from ASD… Security R&T committee and EUROTECH Security Research Group) met "to exchange information on the 1st Secure Societies calls of Horizon 2020 and to stimulate networking for the creation of potential ideas and consortia." Padding's presentation said that "ENLETS is open for end-user driven proposals" for projects that would "ensure end user driven outcome" - that is, which meets the needs of policing and internal security agencies. [6]

Law enforcement cooperation

Also of interest to ENLETS is the Internal Security Fund which "will support the implementation of the Internal Security Strategy and the EU approach to law enforcement cooperation, including the management of the union's external borders." It has a total budget of €3.764 billion for 2014-2020, of which €2.76 billion is for the "Borders and Visa" programme, and €1.004 billion is for the "Police" programme.

The network's May meeting was informed that a funding proposal on "Telecommunications and Cybercrime" has also been submitted, although it is not clear by whom or whether it was made to Horizon 2020 or the Internal Security Fund. The Greek Police and Altus-LSA - a Greek company that "aims to the development of a European center of excellence in the field of services provision with UAVs, Target Drones and Integrated Security Solutions" - presented their "unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Pilot Programme on Border Surveillance", but currently it is unclear whether this is receiving EU funding.

Further reading

  • 'New police cooperation plan includes surveillance, intelligence-gathering and remote vehicle stopping technology', Statewatch News Online, January 2014
  • 'New €77 billion research fund launches; €1.6 billion for security research', Statewatch News Online, December 2013
  • 'European police step up cooperation on technological research and development', Statewatch News Online, November 2012

    [1] 'Europe's justice and interior ministers push for closer relations between internal security authorities and industry', Statewatch News Online, July 2013
    [2] Presidency, 'Report on the meeting of ENLETS held on 28-29 April 2014 in Athens', 9836/14, 14 May 2014
    [3] European Commission, 'Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015', 10 December 2013
    [4] Ben Hayes, 'Neoconopticon', 2009, p.4
    [5] European Ombudsman, 'Ombudsman opens investigation into Commission's expert groups', 14 May 2014
    [6] Patrick Padding, 'H2020 & Enlets', 17 January 2014 (PowerPoint file)

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