Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

Security and defence to top EU summit

  • EU leaders will be meeting in Brussels on 22 and 23 June. (Photo: Council of the European Union)

EU heads of state and government will be focusing on security and defence at a summit in Brussels next week on Thursday and Friday.

Draft summit conclusions seen by EUobserver on Thursday (15 June) demand social media giants to develop "new technology and tools" to automatically remove any content that promotes incitement to violence.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The proposal follows a joint UK-French campaign launched earlier this week to crack down on any content that promotes hate and terrorism.

French president Emmanuel Macron and UK prime minister Theresa May had also suggested possible legal liabilities for firms that refuse to comply.

Germany had already approved a bill in April that would impose fines of up to €50 million on social networking sites that fail to remove the offending content swiftly enough.

The draft conclusions do not mention fines, but the push for industry to be more proactive will likely be a priority among EU leaders, given that the suggestion to efface the online content is listed as the first of 16 summit conclusions.

Leaders are also asking the European Commission to come up with draft legislation based on the conclusions of a report from the so-called high-level expert group on interoperability.

That report, published in May, suggests creating a European search portal, a shared biometric matching service, and a common identity repository.

The European search portal would help police and customs officers to access several EU information systems simultaneously – receiving combined results on one single screen.

The shared biometric matching service would allow authorities to search fingerprint data held in all information systems with a single search.

The common identity repository means core identity data, such as the name, date of birth, or gender, would not be duplicated across the different databases.

"This is not about creating an enormous database where everything is interconnected," Julian King, the EU commissioner for security, had told MEPs last month.

King had also noted that the EU commission would soon float a bill on greatly increasing the size of a Tallinn-based EU agency, which hosts large-scale IT security systems.

External security and defence

The draft summit conclusions also have leaders demanding a swift agreement on the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.

The programme is part of the recently-launched European Defence Fund that seeks to use EU money to help finance defence research among EU member states.

It also asks EU states to draw up a list of security and defence commitments, within three months, that they could share in the so-called Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco).

Pesco gives a core group of participating EU member states the ability to launch joint security projects.

Migration

Leaders are also expected, according to the draft conclusions, to pile on the pressure to get countries in places like Africa to start accepting citizens who have been ordered to leave the EU.

For years, the EU has been trying, with little success, to get foreign governments to accept special EU-drafted travel documents for people without IDs.

They also want to step up the training of the Libyan naval coastguard, as a measure to prevent people from leaving the coast towards Italy.

The Libyan coastguard has already returned an estimated 23,000 people since 2016, whereas in 2015, they only managed 1,000.

Those rescued are then taken to any number of detention centres, where they are likely to face abuse and exploitation.

Austria is pushing to set up reception centres in Egypt and Tunisia to screen asylum hopefuls, but EU officials have rejected such plans.

Efforts are however underway to start sending people, who are stuck in Libya, back to their home countries under an assisted voluntary return scheme that is run by the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The aim is to send at least 10,000 back to their home countries from Libya by the end of the year. So far, nearly 5,000 have already been dispatched from Libya this year under the IOM-run programme. Most are sent back to Nigeria, Senegal, and Mali.

No Brexit talk and other items

The draft conclusions make no mention of the brewing debate on the UK to leave the European Union, given that those discussions will take place in a separate meeting over dinner on Thursday (22 June) among the EU27 leaders.

Britain has been pushing to start free trade negotiations in parallel to divorce talks. Trade does figure in the summit conclusions, but only in broad terms and asks, among other things, for the co-legislators to agree on "WTO-compatible trade defence instruments."

The Paris agreement on climate change, the digital single market, and digital Europe also get special mentions.

EU steps up global counter-terrorism drive

EU foreign ministers vowed to increase the number of projects and financial support in different parts of the world ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, where leaders will focus on security and defence.

Border management going virtual

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels are set to endorse new border control measures, while the head of a Tallinn-based EU agency predicts a future where border management goes virtual.

Agenda

EU summit and Brexit This WEEK

Security and defence, along with Brexit and migration, are among the big issues to be discussed as leaders from all 28 EU states converge in Brussels for meetings and a summit.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

News in Brief

  1. National Front charged over EU Parliament 'fake jobs'
  2. Senior EU finance ministers come out against US tax reform
  3. Croats honour 'Hague suicide' war criminal
  4. EU opens new accession talks with Serbia, Montenegro
  5. EU to Israel: Don't expect us to move embassies
  6. EU Commission condemns anti-semitic 'Jerusalem' protests
  7. Ministers have 'lots of questions' on new CAP plans
  8. Commission: Brexit agreement is 'deal between gentlemen'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  2. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  3. New Polish PM brings same old government
  4. EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty
  5. Alignment with EU is 'last resort', May tells MPs
  6. Iceland: further from EU membership than ever
  7. Israel presses Jerusalem claim in EU capital
  8. From dark coal toward a brighter future

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  3. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  4. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  5. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  6. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  7. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  8. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  9. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives
  10. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level