Paris, October 2014 – The European Forum replied to two public consultations by the European Commission on the renewal of the internal security strategy and on the urban policy of the European Union.
As it prepares the 2015-2020 programmes, the EU wishes to collect opinions of stakeholders, in particular from civil society, who are working in the areas covered by these public consultations. As an organisation that strives to make local authorities heard at the European level on all themes related to urban security, Efus presented views and recommendations based on the opinions expressed by the network in the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, published in 2012, and the Open letter from Efus members to the representatives of the European institutions, adopted during the general assembly of Karlsruhe, in May 2014.
This type of public consultation allows the European Commission to work with a representative panel of stakeholders and to gather information from organisations that are by nature closer to the ground.
Following is a summary of the main ideas promoted by Efus in the fields of home security and urban policy. The full version of these documents is available here: Consultation Urban Agenda and Consultation Home Affairs. Furthermore, the EU will publish on its websites all the opinions received.
Consultation on the renewal of the EU Internal Security Strategy
Efus emphasises the following points:
- The strength of Europe resides in more solidarity and co-responsibility among member states. “They must strengthen collaboration on global issues […] but also […] with non-member states, in order to fight more effectively against the global phenomena that threaten European stability.”
- The need to act against social exclusion and economic inequalities, which are both the cause and the consequence of global crime (radicalisation, organised crime, terrorism, etc).
- The need for a “holistic approach based on human rights and with citizens at the centre”, and for European security policies to take into account and support local and regional authorities, including financially.
- Efus recommends improved vigilance with regard to surveillance technologies through evaluation, the training of operators, citizen participation and the pooling of methods.
- It is important to facilitate “the involvement of stakeholders in [EU’s] programmes, representing all fields involved in urban security, including the private sector”, and to protect vulnerable groups.
- Regarding EU’s foreign policy and its impact on security, Efus advocates a policy based on “prevention, shared responsibility and solidarity, which is open to the world”. This implies stronger cooperation among police and judicial authorities of non-member states and the participation of all levels of governance, including regional and local authorities.
- It is equally important for the EU to “maintain solidarity programmes for people in need and ensure that the rights of the most vulnerable are best protected”, as well as to promote the benefits of legal immigration and strengthen social integration programmes.
Consultation on “The urban dimension of EU policies – key features of an EU Urban Agenda”
Efus makes the following recommendations:
- An EU-wide urban programme would be particularly beneficial for tackling issues related to security and prevention. These issues must be taken into account as early as in the conception of such programmes, and in coherence with other areas of urban policy.
- The exchange of practices and knowledge is important in order to improve current policies.
- Security must be considered as an urban challenge on its own, and one that affects many other areas of urban policy.
- Citizens should be encouraged to take part in the conception and implementation of urban policies, in particular regarding security.
- Cities and other urban actors must be involved in the drafting of policies and in their evaluation.
- It is worthwhile to tap into networks of cities such as Efus; one of their strongpoints is that they work consistently on specific areas.
- It is fundamental that European institutions and national, regional and local authorities collaborate intensively.
Read the documents presented by Efus (full version):
Read the EU documents:
> Consultation on the renewal of the EU Internal Security Strategy: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-is-new/public-consultation/2014/consulting_0028_en.htm
> Consultation on the urban agenda: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/consultation/urb_agenda/index_en.cfm)