Sunday

20th Jan 2019

NGOs blast EU security investment cabal

A new report by two leading civil liberties groups blasts the EU for sponsoring research into surveillance and control technologies in an attempt to compete with the US' "Homeland Security'" scheme.

The study, called "Arming Big Brother" and co-authored by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute, accuses the EU of working on the creation of "a powerful new internal security-industrial complex" which will cost €1 billion per year.

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It refers to the European Security Research Programme (ESRP) which is governed by a 50-member advisory board composed of at least 14 defence companies but not no MEPs or member of the special EU group on ethics in science and new technologies.

Ben Hayes, the author of the report, commented that the whole initiative is "completely unaccountable and gives multinational corporations an unacceptable role in EU decision-making."

"The story of the ESRP is one of ‘Big Brother' meets market fundamentalism," the study indicates.

"It was personified by the establishment in 2003 of a ‘Group of Personalities' (GoP) comprised of EU officials and Europe's biggest arms and IT companies who argued that European multinationals are losing out to their US competitors because the US government is providing them with $1 billion dollars a year for security research."

The report highlights a number of projects under the ESRP budget, such as high-tech surveillance systems.

"The EU is basically funding the diversification of the 'military-industrial complex' into the highly profitable internal security field," said Hayes.

"The militarisation of policing and border controls will not prevent crime or terrorism. It does nothing to address 'root causes' while posing a massive threat to civil liberties," he added.

Germany led way on EU rights protection

Germany led the way on protection of human rights this year, but Hungary, Italy, and Poland "undermined the EU's moral standing" on the world stage, a leading NGO said.

EU court set to side with accused Latvian banker

Latvia was wrong to have suspended its central bank chief from his job over bribery allegations, an EU jurist has said, as Europe struggles to clamp down on financial crime.

Muscat's one-man rule poses challenge for EU

Malta's PM already enjoys the kind of one-man rule Hungary and Poland are trying to build, but can the EU afford another political confrontation in sensitive times?

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