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Transnational challenges

There is a growing overlap between the EU’s internal and external security problems. Terrorism, organised crime and unregulated migration not only pose a threat to European internal security, but also have a serious impact on the stability of Europe’s immediate neighbourhood. Very often, they find their roots in conflicts and instability further abroad in Africa or Asia.

For some time, the European Union has been active in international debates on the governance of these challenges, and has created new policy instruments of its own. Already in the early 1990s, the EU successfully linked its home-affairs priorities with its Common Foreign and Security Policy. The 2015 migration crisis showed the limits of that approach, and has sparked a new wave of reforms.

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    01November 2006
    With contributions from

    In its 2003 strategy against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the EU underscores that it is ‘committed to the multilateral treaty system’ – considering it the legal and normative stepping stone for all non-proliferation efforts.

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    19October 2006

    Following its underground test on 9 October, carried out in defiance of international warnings, it is probable that North Korea has become the world’s ninth nuclear power. Whilst there were initially some doubts as to the strength or the exact nature of the detonation the presence of radioactive particles in North Korea has been now confirmed by US spy planes as well as by neighbouring Russia and Japan.

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    01October 2005

    If any Europeans observing the 9/11 atrocities in the United States had comforted themselves with the belief that Europe was immune from such attacks, this illusion was tragically shattered by the bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005) which resulted in the slaughter of many civilians.

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    01September 2005

    The European Security Strategy (ESS) issued by the EU in December 2003 devoted its first chapter to what it called ‘global challenges’. Most of those challenges –poverty, infectious disease, drought and famine, violent conflict – affect the Europe of today only indirectly and/or moderately. By contrast, some of them – global warming, infrastructural disruptions, migration flows – may affect European societies in a much more dramatic fashion in the future.

  • 15July 2005

    After four weeks of diplomatic arm-wrestling, the 2005 Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in New York ended on 27 May in failure. The final document adopted by the 153 delegations listed conference officials and how many meetings were held, but did not contain a single decision or recommendation on any important issue

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    01April 2005

    The European Union has identified the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as a key threat to its security, and considers the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a cornerstone of its strategy of fighting the spread of WMD. A successful outcome of the NPT Review Conference in May 2005 is thus of essential interest to the Union.

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    01March 2005

    The Internet has opened a new area of communication and information, enabling us to transfer enormous amounts of digital data for a great variety of applications within fractions of a second around the globe. It is therefore no surprise that it has become, within only a few years, the spinal column of modern societies. Citizens, research institutions, private business, NGOs, political parties and public services all increasingly depend in their daily life and work on interlinked information systems and networks.

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    01July 2004

    The Sarin attacks carried out by the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo in Matsumoto and Tokyo highlighted the threat posed by non-state actors equipped with non-conventional weapons. Although the number of casualties was limited, the attack signalled a cause for concern.

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    01December 2003

    Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 and the war in Iraq, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has become a top priority for European policy-makers. According to the European Security Strategy, it is potentially the greatest threat to the EU’s security, in particular if it is linked to terrorism.

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    01March 2003

    Security thinking has undergone a significant evolution since the end of the Cold War. The scope of the subject has been extended from the nation-state to societal groups and individuals, and areas covered now include health, the environment, protection against crime and economic disruption, and culture.

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