Open letter from Efus members to the representatives of the European institutions

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Efus (European Forum for Urban Security) General Assembly of local authorities met in Karlsruhe (Germany) on 13 May and published an open letter to the representatives of European institutions presenting their needs and expectations regarding future Justice and Security policies.

Karlsruhe, 13 May 2014

To the representatives of the European institutions,

We, the local and regional authorities members of the European Forum for Urban Security have been working together for 26 years to make cities and regions in Europe safer and more just. As expressed in our Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis “Security, Democracy and Cities” (2012) we are convinced that security policies should be built on the balance between sanction and prevention, and mobilize all the stakeholders of urban life as well as different levels of governance. Our experience demonstrates that exchange and cooperation at the European level are necessary to empower local stakeholders. Indeed, they play a central role in making Europe a place where citizens feel safe.

Convinced by the European project, we are collaborating closely and regularly with European institutions in the areas of freedom, security and justice, and have done so for many years.

Gathered at our 2014 General Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, we acknowledge the progress made with the Stockholm programme but we also note some deficiencies that we hope will be solved with the programme that will succeed Stockholm.

Following our debate, local decision makers and practitioners express the following needs and expectations:

  1. Europe needs to further recognise the role of local and regional authorities in its future security and justice policies.
  2. EU budgets must reflect the importance of the role of local and regional authorities in the implementation of EU security and justice policies.
  3. The efforts for safety and security in Europe need to be based on a preventive approach because it is more cost effective and sustainable.
  4. The experience of local authorities shows it is necessary to adopt a global approach on issues of insecurity: the EU must take a holistic approach by associating all relevant Directorates-General.
  5. Europe must provide a clear and broad policy framework which is flexible enough to address emerging problems that require swift action at the local level.
  6. Such a European policy framework should support methods and tools that contribute to a pan-European methodology, and in particular to building a European knowledge base which will serve to better inform security policies and to strengthen their efficient implementation.
  7. In order to develop evidence based crime prevention, the European Union should enable the European exchange of knowledge and practices to go beyond short term programmes and support networks which are able to work on the long term.
  8. European security policies should still be further developed around the citizens’ needs and make use of the proximity of local and regional authorities to better reach citizens.
  9. A new EU policy framework should take into account the particularities and specificities of the urban environment with regards to security policies.
  10. Security must always be linked with freedom. This approach based on the respect of human rights must be at the heart of the new EU framework programme.
  11. Local authorities are on the frontline when it comes to dealing with humanitarian and security consequences of migration: they must be supported as such.
  12. Given the plans for a better integration of EU’s internal and external policies, the EU should promote the above mentioned principles of a crime prevention that is holistic, based on the respect of human rights, and oriented towards citizens.

We, the local and regional authorities of the European Forum for Urban Security, call you, the representatives of the European institutions, to fully integrate the needs of local decision-makers and practitioners in security policies. We will keep supporting you in the creation of an area of justice, freedom and security.

For the European Forum for Urban Security
Guilherme Pinto