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EU cyber sanctions: Moving beyond words

25-09-2020

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce ...

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce the EU's cyber policy action.

Disruption by technology: Impacts on politics, economics and society

21-09-2020

Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations ...

Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations, and the legal and regulatory system. It also presents surveillance as an example of how technological disruption across these domains can converge to propel other phenomena. The key disruptive force of 2020 is non-technological, namely coronavirus. The pandemic is used here as an opportunity to examine how technological disruption interacts with other forms of disruption.

PESCO: Ahead of the strategic review

16-09-2020

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States. It operates on the basis of concrete projects and binding commitments, several of which are geared towards strengthening the EU defence sector. PESCO members are committed to increasing national defence budgets and defence investment expenditure, and to investing more in defence research and technology. In addition, they have pledged to develop and provide 'strategically relevant' ...

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) was launched in December 2017 with the participation of 25 EU Member States. It operates on the basis of concrete projects and binding commitments, several of which are geared towards strengthening the EU defence sector. PESCO members are committed to increasing national defence budgets and defence investment expenditure, and to investing more in defence research and technology. In addition, they have pledged to develop and provide 'strategically relevant' defence capabilities and to act jointly and make use of the financial and practical support provided by the European Defence Fund. Finally, they are committed to contributing to projects that boost the European defence industry and the European defence technological and industrial base. Discussions on long-awaited rules on third-country participation in PESCO projects are ongoing in September 2020. A strategic review of PESCO should take place by the end of 2020. The review will assess PESCO's strengths and weaknesses and it is expected to provide new information aimed at improving the implementation and development of new EU defence capabilities and capacities through PESCO. Critics argue that the end goal of PESCO projects has still to be contextualised within the wider debate on an EU strategic culture and a concrete vision about the ambition of EU security and defence policy. They also emphasise the need to align PESCO priorities with those identified by parallel EU defence initiatives, as well as with the capability needs of the EU. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a resolution on PESCO in October 2020.

NATO’s response in the fight against coronavirus

10-06-2020

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) might not be the first organisation that comes to mind for fighting pandemics. As the coronavirus crisis hit the world indiscriminately, NATO was fast to react, and used all the instruments in its toolbox to assist Allied countries and partners. From coordinating the transport of medicines and supplies, to launching scientific programmes to study the virus, NATO has again proven its value in times of crisis. Close European Union (EU) and NATO coordination ...

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) might not be the first organisation that comes to mind for fighting pandemics. As the coronavirus crisis hit the world indiscriminately, NATO was fast to react, and used all the instruments in its toolbox to assist Allied countries and partners. From coordinating the transport of medicines and supplies, to launching scientific programmes to study the virus, NATO has again proven its value in times of crisis. Close European Union (EU) and NATO coordination during the crisis was equally helpful in ensuring a coherent, civil-military approach.

Understanding the EU's approach to cyber diplomacy and cyber defence

28-05-2020

Despite its expertise in cyber public awareness campaigns, research and development, and educational programmes, the EU is still subject to constant cyber attacks. The EU's response to a sophisticated cyber threat spectrum is comprehensive, but perhaps the most European aspect of its toolbox is cyber diplomacy. Cyber diplomacy aims to secure multilateral agreements on cyber norms, responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace, and effective global digital governance. The goal is to create ...

Despite its expertise in cyber public awareness campaigns, research and development, and educational programmes, the EU is still subject to constant cyber attacks. The EU's response to a sophisticated cyber threat spectrum is comprehensive, but perhaps the most European aspect of its toolbox is cyber diplomacy. Cyber diplomacy aims to secure multilateral agreements on cyber norms, responsible state and non-state behaviour in cyberspace, and effective global digital governance. The goal is to create an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace anchored in international law through alliances between like-minded countries, organisations, the private sector, civil society and experts. Cyber diplomacy coexists with its sister strands of cyber defence, cyber deterrence and cybersecurity. Offensive cyber actors are growing in diversity, sophistication and number. Disruptive technologies powered by machine-learning and artificial intelligence pose both risks and opportunities for cyber defences: while attacks are likely to increase in complexity and make attribution ever more problematic, responses and defences will equally become more robust. Burning issues demanding the international community's attention include an emerging digital arms race and the need to regulate dual-use export control regimes and clarify the rules of engagement in cyber warfare. Multilateral cyber initiatives are abundant, but they are developing simultaneously with a growing push for sovereignty in the digital realm. The race for cyber superiority, if left unchecked, could develop into a greater security paradox. The EU's cyber diplomacy toolbox and its bi- and multilateral engagements are already contributing to a safer and more principled cyberspace. Its effectiveness however hinges on genuine European and global cooperation for the common cyber good. Ultimately, the EU's ambition to become more capable, by becoming 'strategically autonomous' or 'technologically sovereign', also rests on credible cyber defence and diplomacy.

The role of armed forces in the fight against coronavirus

28-04-2020

While armed forces may find it difficult to distance themselves from what is perceived as their primary mission, the coronavirus pandemic largely challenges society's vision of their role. This has been showcased through the vital contributions of the military to civilian authorities' responses to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus. Exchanging guns for bags of food supplies and disinfectant spray, military personnel have been among the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. Whether ...

While armed forces may find it difficult to distance themselves from what is perceived as their primary mission, the coronavirus pandemic largely challenges society's vision of their role. This has been showcased through the vital contributions of the military to civilian authorities' responses to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus. Exchanging guns for bags of food supplies and disinfectant spray, military personnel have been among the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. Whether distributing food, building hospitals or shelters for the homeless, European armed forces were mobilised early. Trained to react quickly in highly dangerous conditions, the military carried out missions of repatriation and evacuation of citizens and transported medical supplies and protective equipment. Almost all European Union (EU) Member States have mobilised their armed forces in one way or another. Discouraging post-crisis economic projections indicate that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will not spare the defence sector, nor will it weaken geopolitical tensions. With resources further under strain, countries' abilities to meet the EU's defence ambitions with the required investments is under question. However, current EU defence initiatives, if appropriately financed, could see the EU being better prepared to face future pandemics among other threats. Examples include various projects under the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) mechanism, as well as the European Defence Fund, whose precursor already envisioned pandemic-relevant projects. While EU missions and operations abroad continue, they too have seen their activities limited. However, this has not stopped the EU from deploying staff to help locals in host countries to tackle the virus. In coordination with the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has also provided vital assistance to Allies and partners. Its disaster relief coordination centre, as well as the strategic lift platform and rapid air mobility mechanism, successfully ensured the swift provision of essential equipment and supplies. Around the world, armed forces have demonstrated their added value by closely assisting authorities and citizens in battling the pandemic.

What place for the UK in Europe's defence labyrinth?

16-03-2020

There is at least one point of agreement in the debates about the future relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU): European security is British security. The UK's departure from the EU will not alter geography and the UK will inevitably share interests and challenges with its continental neighbours. The UK and the EU nations share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically ...

There is at least one point of agreement in the debates about the future relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU): European security is British security. The UK's departure from the EU will not alter geography and the UK will inevitably share interests and challenges with its continental neighbours. The UK and the EU nations share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there is general consensus on the need to nurture this link. This view is reflected in official documents from both sides. Having now left the Union, the UK has become a third country to the EU, albeit a distinctive one, and future cooperation will evolve on that basis. While the EU's common security and defence policy has an established precedent of close cooperation with third countries on missions and operations, the EU's new defence integration initiatives are currently tracing new contours for third-party cooperation. Possibilities for going beyond existing EU rules for third-country participation and more precise parameters for security and defence cooperation between the EU and the UK will likely be decided after the transition period ends. The UK played a foundational role in shaping the EU's security and defence policy. Though long sceptical of EU-level supranational military integration, the UK nevertheless remains deeply interconnected with the remaining EU Member States in this area. As one of Europe's biggest military powers, the UK brings a particularly valuable contribution to the field, from top-notch military strategists and innovative capabilities to a highly performing army with varied expeditionary know-how. While it will continue to bring this contribution through NATO and intergovernmental formats, the UK and the EU both have an interest in close alignment, strategically, politically and militarily. They had, indeed, both expressed a commitment to securing an unparalleled partnership in foreign, security and defence policy. Regardless of anticipated difficulties in negotiating the future relationship, the two parties' security interests are largely shared. As threats pay no heed to a country's memberships, and great power competition is showing no sign of abating, a strongly knitted UK-EU relationship is essential.

Military mobility: Infrastructure for the defence of Europe

25-02-2020

To 'unite and strengthen Europe' is one of the goals expressed by the newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, believed that only 'a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external.' European infrastructure that enables connectivity and ensures a rapid response in case of a crisis is a prerequisite for these visions. Since 2017, awareness has been increasing about the obstacles preventing ...

To 'unite and strengthen Europe' is one of the goals expressed by the newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Her predecessor, Jean-Claude Juncker, believed that only 'a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external.' European infrastructure that enables connectivity and ensures a rapid response in case of a crisis is a prerequisite for these visions. Since 2017, awareness has been increasing about the obstacles preventing armed forces from moving effectively and swiftly across borders in crisis conditions. The measures taken to correct this strategic vulnerability are known under the term military mobility. Existing regulatory, administrative, and infrastructure inconsistencies and impediments across the territory of the European Union (EU) significantly hamper military exercises and training. Military mobility aims to harmonise rules across EU Member States and to explore the potential of a civilian-military approach to infrastructure development. Through measures such as funding dual use transport infrastructure, and simplifying diplomatic clearances and customs rules, the European Commission aims to improve military mobility across as well as beyond the EU, in support of missions and operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy. The unique EU contribution is its ability to leverage existing policies in the civilian realm to create added value for the military. This goal can be achieved only if a whole-of-government approach is applied, which in turn requires close collaboration between different bodies at the EU level, between them and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and between them and various actors at the Member State level. So far, military mobility has enjoyed a high degree of commitment from all stakeholders, which has in turn ensured swift policy implementation. It is becoming increasingly clear that military mobility is an essential piece in the EU's ambition to become a stronger global actor.

Civil and military drones: Navigating a disruptive and dynamic technological ecosystem

08-10-2019

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration ...

Often labelled as one of today's main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration of drones into business and society so as to maintain a competitive EU aviation industry. Ranging from insect-sized to several tonnes in weight, drones are extremely versatile and can perform a very large variety of functions, from filming to farming, and from medical aid to search and rescue operations. Among the advantages of civil and military drones are their relative low cost, reach, greater work productivity and capacity to reduce risk to human life. These features have led to their mass commercialisation and integration into military planning. Regulatory and oversight challenges remain, however, particularly regarding dual-use drones – civil drones that can be easily turned into armed drones or weaponised for criminal purposes. At EU level, the European Commission has been empowered to regulate civil drones and the European Aviation Safety Agency to assist with ensuring a harmonised regulatory framework for safe drone operations. The latest EU legislation has achieved the highest ever safety standards for drones. Another challenge remaining for regulators, officials and manufacturers alike is the need to build the trust of citizens and consumers. Given that drones have been in the public eye more often for their misuse than their accomplishments, transparency and effective communication are imperative to prepare citizens for the upcoming drone age.

Cyber: How big is the threat?

09-07-2019

The internet has transformed the world into a global village transcending physical borders and palpable distances. Often described as 'fog' or a 'globalised network of networks', cyberspace is extremely complex, accessible to everyone and difficult to pinpoint. While thanks to these characteristics cyberspace has opened countless social, economic and political opportunities, it has also become a source of disruption, conflict and geopolitical rivalries. The European Union has recognised that cyber-security ...

The internet has transformed the world into a global village transcending physical borders and palpable distances. Often described as 'fog' or a 'globalised network of networks', cyberspace is extremely complex, accessible to everyone and difficult to pinpoint. While thanks to these characteristics cyberspace has opened countless social, economic and political opportunities, it has also become a source of disruption, conflict and geopolitical rivalries. The European Union has recognised that cyber-security and cyber-defence are critical for both its prosperity and security, and is emerging as an increasingly capable cyber player.

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