MEPs call for EU rules on private security companies 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 
 
 
  • 40 000 security companies in Europe
  • Lack of accountability
  • Set minimum EU standards and avoid military combat tasks

Private security companies must respect minimum requirements on accountability, screening staff and reporting on misconduct, while staying away from combat tasks, MEPs say.

““European citizens demand that we do more to guarantee their security. We need to recognise that it is time to regulate what private security companies can be used for, what they can do and within what framework they can operate. We want proper and robust standards relating to their activities."

Parliament’s rapporteur Hilde Vautmans (ALDE, BE) said, 

Private security companies (PSCs), which are used by the EU member states to compensate for shrinking armed forces or to avoid limitations on the use of troops, have been accused of human rights violations and even of causing casualties. This has revealed gaps in accountability and has negative implications for the EU’s foreign policy aims.

 

MEPs advocate EU-wide rules on PSCs as well as an international legally binding instrument. The resolution adopted by 530 votes to 147, with 19 abstentions suggests drawing up a list of contractors complying with EU standards on transparency, criminal records, financial and economic capacity, licences, strict vetting of personnel, and adhering to an international code of conduct.

 

Private security companies should not be given tasks which would imply the use of force or active participation in hostilities, MEPs say. They suggest limiting their tasks to logistical support and the protection of buildings and infrastructure and want only EU-based private security companies to be contracted for protection tasks abroad.

 

Quick facts

 

The EU numbers some 40 000 private security companies, employing more than 1.5 million people and supplying services that range from logistical support, running prisons or providing protection, to combat support and supplying military technology (2013 figures). They are also used to guard EU delegations in countries outside the EU and provide security for the premises of EU missions and operations.