Working towards a safer Europe for all Europeans

Julian King
Commissioner for the Security Union, European Commission

The security landscape in Europe has evolved rapidly in recent years. We face with a wide variety of threats hence it is only by working together that we can keep our citizens safe.

The two main threats we currently face come from terrorism and cyber. On the first, following the spate of deadly terror attacks in recent years, we have taken a two-pronged approach – to deny terrorists the means with which to harm us by closing down the space they need, in terms of movement, money, munitions and manpower; and by building resilience both against attacks and in terms of how we respond when they do happen.

On cyber, we have made significant progress in the past year by tabling a new EU cybersecurity strategy based around building resilience, reinforcing deterrence and strengthening defence and international cooperation. We are now close to agreeing the creation of a European Cybersecurity Agency. At the same time we have focused attention and brought forward proposals on the growing cyber-enabled threat of mis-, dis- and malinformation, including fake news and the manipulation of data and behaviour. This is particularly relevant in view of election security, which is of the utmost importance given the clear and established pattern of attempted outside interference on our democratic processes.

The insurance industry is all about the 'what if': what if there is a natural disaster, or a fire, or a car accident. It functions around the idea of minimising risk, whilst accepting that it is impossible to completely neutralise that risk. Our approach is similar in part: we will never be able to guarantee 100% that we can prevent those who wish us harm from attacking us, either on- or offline, so we work to ensure both that the opportunity to commit attacks is closed down and at the same time we are properly prepared when attacks do happen.

We believe that by working together, Europe – the EU, its Member States and our partners – can make a big difference to strengthening the security of our citizens.