The European security industry

Technocratic politics, internal security cooperation, and the emergence of military R&D in the EU

Authored by: Sebastian Larsson

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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Several critical scholars and NGOs have noted how a “new market” and industry for security technologies has materialised in Europe in recent decades (Guittet and Jeandesboz 2010; Hoijtink 2014). This industry was propelled into existence in steps by the European Commission and certain business organisations, perhaps most notably through the gradual establishment of EU institutional support and funding instruments for research and development (R&D) of security related products. In the middle of the 2000s, these efforts culminated into what would become labelled the European Security Research Programme (ESRP), a programme for feeding millions of public funds into the development of controversial technologies for doing so-called “internal” or “civil” security, including products for large-scale digital surveillance, policing and crime control, counterterrorism, migration management, and border control. R&D consortiums came to involve applied research institutes and private security firms focusing on, for example, multi-sensors, ICT technology, and cybersecurity. Peculiarly, however, they also came to involve several multinational arms companies with a core interest not in civil security, but military innovation.

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