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Since the launch by the EU of its European Security Strategy in 2003, the Union’s efforts in terms of security issues have taken on many new facets. Importantly, the Member States gave new powers to the European Union level through the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, and created the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – being Catherine Ashton – as well as the Union’s new European External Action Service (EEAS) to assist her in her role.

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Traditional security challenges such as terrorism are compounded in an increasingly multi-polar world by shifting economic power and trade bases combined with the challenges of climate change induced natural disasters and insecurity in water, energy and food resources with the demographic and the potential for conflict that all of this implies.  Since the Tsunami in Japan in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear accident at Fukushima, nuclear safety issues are now also being brought to the fore on the EU political agenda, which will almost certainly impact on the Union’s research agenda.
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For the research community the focus on security issues cross cuts the grand societal challenges facing the Union which are expressly tackled by the Union in its current ten year strategy, the EU 2020 Strategy.  Security related research is an important building block for supporting European freedom, security and justice generally speaking. Significantly in this context, EU research funding under FP7 can be used for developing technologies and capabilities in support of other European Community policies in areas such as transport, civil protection, energy, environment and health.  EUR 1.4 billion has been made available under FP7 for security research in the reference period 2007 to 2013.  Among the various priorities for funding is co-ordination between European and international security research efforts in the areas of civil, security and defense research.

ECRAAL - European Centre for Research in Asia, Africa and Latin America
Rond Point Schuman 6, 1040 Brussels - Scotland House
Tel: +32 2 282 84 16