The Eurobarometer survey published Friday accompanies the first annual report on the implementation of the EU Internal Security Strategy. The survey provides a detailed analysis of the way in which internal security is perceived both at the EU level and within individual Member States. In the course of this survey, 26,840 European citizens aged 15 and above were interviewed in all 27 Member States of the European Union.
The main challenges to European security, identified by at least one in five Europeans, are the economic and financial crises (34%), terrorism (33%), and organised crime (21%). Poverty, irregular immigration, corruption, environmental issues/climate change, natural and nuclear disasters and the security of EU borders were also cited by around 18% of respondents. Fewer than one tenth of Europeans mentioned wars and civil wars, religious extremism, and petty crime as the most important security challenges faced by the EU.
The main challenges to national security, as identified by at least one in five Europeans, are the economic and financial crises (33%), terrorism (25%), poverty (24%), and organised crime (22%). Some 18% also mentioned corruption, irregular immigration, petty crime, natural disasters, environmental issues/climate change and cybercrime. Fewer than one tenth of respondents mentioned nuclear disasters, the security of EU borders, religious extremism, and wars and civil wars as the most important security challenges faced by their country (see table 2).
Four out of ten Europeans want the EU to do more to fight these threats. Only around half of Europeans believe that enough is being done to tackle these challenges at national and European levels. (see tables 3 and 4)
Cybercrime is seen as the challenge most likely to heighten over the next three years (63%). This is followed by organised crime (57%), and then disasters (54%) and terrorism (51%). One in four respondents (43%) thinks that EU border security will be an increasing challenge to EU security over the next three years.
Three-quarters of Europeans believe that internal EU security is linked to external events and developments, although there is considerable variation between Member States. The US is the most often cited as the EU’s main partner in security, followed by Russia, China and Turkey.
In November 2010 the European Commission presented the EU Internal Security Strategy in Action: Five steps towards a more secure Europe. This strategy sets out a shared agenda for Member States, the European Parliament and EU agencies to address the key challenges to the security of the European Union: serious organised crime, terrorism, cybercrime, border security, and the management of natural and man-made disasters.
Although most Europeans live in relative safety, challenges to peace and security are ever present. Many of these challenges, including the risk of terrorism and cybercrime, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and are not constrained by national borders. Nor are they restricted to one section of European society, but have an impact both on individual countries, and on the European Union as a whole.