The European Union (EU) in the 21st century consists of 500 million people across the 27 countries which make up the Union. Security has become a key factor in ensuring a high quality of life in European society, and in protecting our critical infrastructure through preventing and tackling common threats.

In this context EU internal security means protecting the people and values of freedom and democracy, so that everyone can enjoy their daily lives without fear. The Lisbon Treaty and the Stockholm Programme enable the EU to take ambitious and concerted steps in developing Europe as an area of freedom, security and justice.

Within an increasingly complex world, there are a number of significant threats:

Terrorism, in any form, has an absolute disregard for human life and democratic values. It’s global reach, its devastating consequences, its ability to recruit through radicalisation and disseminate propaganda over the Internet, and the different means through which it is financed, make terrorism a significant and ever-evolving threat to our security.

Natural disasters such as forest fires, earthquakes, floods and storms, pose safety and security challenges. In this day and age, civil protection systems should represent an essential element of any modern and advanced security system.

Fires, road traffic accidents and major emergencies There are a number of other common phenomena which pose safety and security concerns to people across Europe, for example road traffic accidents take the lives of more than tens of thousands of European citizens every year.

The Fire & Rescue Services across Europe provide society with a safety net to reduce life loss and harm. We care passionately and are professional in our planning, training and delivery of prevention and emergency responses. We work with respective Governments and through the EU machinery of Government want to play an active part in advising policy makers in order to ensure the professional voice of the Fire & Rescue Services are heard in order to collectively develop a ‘Safer Europe for all’.

Specifically, this strategy, prepared by the Federation of European Union Fire Officer Associations, will provide the framework to assist DG ECHO (responsible for programmes of prevention and response) and DG HOME (responsible for the internal security Strategy with a civil protection element) mitigate the above risks.

This FEU strategy, also directly contributes to the strategy “Towards a stronger European Disaster Response”. This strategy represents the first step in the development of a reinforced EU disaster response capacity. It will help maximize the impact of the EU's contribution to alleviating the suffering of the victims of disasters inside the EU and across the world.

The Lisbon Treaty also introduced a Solidarity Clause, which established the obligation for Member States to assist each other in the event of a natural or manmade disaster on EU territory. The European Commission and the High Representative are developing further arrangements associated with the Solidarity Clause.

In addition, implementing the Internal Security Strategy will become one of the priority tasks of the Committee for Internal Security (COSI). Other issues such as Working Time, Driving Hours and Hotel Safety are within other DG and our contributions will continue to be made in these areas.

If successful, the outcomes of this strategy will be improved safety for residents within and visitors to the European Union.

This strategy has been agreed by all 22 member states represented within the Federation of European Union Fire Officer Associations (we are an independent professional body and not a trade union).

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Federation of the European Union Fire Officers Associations