The European Union initiated a Security Strategy with the document “A Secure Europe in a Better World” subtitled “European Security Strategy” (ESS). It was approved in 2003 and reviewed in a “Progress Report” in 2008. The document provides a conceptual basis for European security across the spectrum of human activity. The challenges, risks, threats, objectives and policies are addressed in isolation from their environment. There is no discussion of whether challenges should be met, or threats contained, by land or by sea or by purely political action,for example. Piracy is singled out albeit only under the generic heading of organised crime (page 4): “a new dimension to organised crime which will merit further attention is the growth in maritime piracy”
The European Security Strategy of 2003 does not explicitly address the maritime domain, where the complex span of threats, risks, vulnerabilities and challenges requires a fundamentally different approach to strategic monitoring and governance from that which applies ashore. As an integrated space it is conducive to a comprehensive approach and must be addressed holistically if the EU is to contain the inherent vulnerability to opportunistic exploitation or asymmetric attack on its territory, interests or citizenry.Although the European Security Strategy’s 2003 objectives remain valid, there have been significant changes in the security environment.
Violence is less frequently used as an acknowledged tool of the state, but more frequently outsourced to proxies that can be supportedor denied by the state. The Lisbon Treaty’s Clause 222 has brought new solidarity obligations. Perceptions of security itself have also changed since 2003. The traditional division of responsibility between defence by military forces and security by law enforcement institutions now appears too restrictive and inflexible to cope, either at state level with the globalisation of terrorist and criminal networks and the growth of ungoverned space in weak and failing states or, at the personal level, with the additional threats that EU citizens now perceive to their environment and personal security with respect to safety,freedom and prosperity through assured access to resources including energy, food and cyberspace.
While land borders separate countries, the sea connects them in a globalised market place of investment, trade and supply chains. The security and governance of these interconnected activities have to be addressed holistically, otherwise any vulnerability is liable tobe exploited. Providing appropriate security is a political challenge involving the management of real and popularly perceived risk and a balance of investment in appropriate capabilities. The lack of visibility and understanding of maritime affairs and dependency,often referred to as sea blindness, has allowed a mismatch to develop in the balance of security investment between the land, air and sea domains which requires redress.Until the emergence of maritime terrorism and the resurgence of high profile piracy, many states and the shipping community were relatively content with the sea remaining an essentially ungoverned space. Although technology is now enabling surveillance and monitoring of that space, effective governance depends on cooperative information sharing and coordinated enforcement (preferably far from EU shores) by different assets and capabilities,which has yet to develop in the EU and more widely.Enabling that development requires a strategy, which this first attempt at a European Maritime Security Strategy seeks to propose by analysing the maritime environment, identifying the strategic objectives and how they might be achieved. The European Maritime Security Strategy key objectives are:• Ensuring stability and security• Addressing the threats• Protecting the environment• Contributing to a better world;By matching the tasks derived from the European Security Strategy with the required capabilities, some suitable approaches to the challenges, risks and threats are offered while avoiding, as a strategic level document, impinging on operational concepts and tactical