Euralarm arrives in Brussels!
Euralarm President Hansjürg Mahler (pictured) reviews the recent MEPs breakfast meeting, Euralarm's activities and challenges in Europe, and the need for action on CertAlarm.
On March 22nd a Euralarm delegation was invited to a breakfast meeting with MEPs and representatives of the EU Commission in the EU Parliament (see separate News report in this newsletter).
The event was a complete success and included three of the most important people for our industry in Brussels – Dr. Christian Ehler, rapporteur for Security in the EU Parliament and driver behind EU funding for the Security initiative, Malcolm Harbour, head of the committee responsible for the Service Directive, and Dr. Paul Weissenberg, the deputy Director General of DG.
The mood was constructive and optimistic. Paul Weissenberg complimented Euralarm on its track record on standardization work and was very keen on the concept and status of CertAlarm. Dr Ehler, meanwhile, encouraged participation of our industry in the conception and implementation of the EU
Euralarm's strategy and goals are largely congruent with the European agenda and we are welcome as a strong partner representing the civil security industry. Euralarm is perceived as a large trade association with strong internal coherence, an enormous accumulated know-how, and a high coverage of all facets of our industry.
This event was an important milestone in the Euralarm quest to boost visibility and to become a preferred partner to EU decision makers – a process which began with the GESA conference on emergency response in June 2011.
The expert coaching and networking support provided by Burson-Marsteller and Glen Dale as our valued operational contact representatives in Brussels are instrumental for successful lobbying – and there is no lack of challenges ahead of us…
Meanwhile, CertAlarm is in a critical phase: its financial resources will be depleted by the end of this year, there are management problems, a shortage of contracted certifiers and inadequate industry commitment. On the other hand, DG E&I is very interested in the CertAlarm concept to overcome market fragmentation and a few good certifiers are anxious to become CertAlarm partners (see July 2011 Newsletter President's report). Decisions and actions are required; the industry must take the lead. This will therefore be one of the main topics of the upcoming industry meeting.
EU Security initiatives
We will also discuss the participation of Euralarm and our industry in EU-Commission programmes funding R&D or application projects and public-private partnership activities. We have an opportunity to actively contribute to the growth of our industry, eg., in emergency response systems. Inactivity in these top-down programmes would deprive us of the chance to set the future rules.
The EU Commission (DG E&I) is formulating a security industry policy to boost the efficiency and competitiveness of the fire and security industry, eg., by accelerating the standardisation process and by fostering a European Quality Label (Mark). This will enable us to gain political support for some of our main strategic goals, in a win-win situation.
Euralarm's 2012 GA –
Netherlands venue sneak preview
Dirk Gesenhues looks forward to this year's annual General Assembly with an advance guide to the venue, conference theme and local area sights.
The 2012 Euralarm General Assembly will be taking place this year on May 19th-22nd in Noordwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. VEBON and UNETO, our Dutch members' associations, will be Euralarm's hosts in the Grandhotel Huis ter Duin located close to the sea.
This year's theme will be the important topic of 'More efficiency and getting closer to our members'. Details will be appearing shortly in the Conference programme, which will be distributed to all Euralarm members in advance of the event.
In addition to the main conference business, our hosts VEBON and UNETO will be offering valuable opportunities for networking during the preceding weekend, as well as a chance to discover the beauty of the region around Noordwijk. The published programme will guide you to one of the most beautiful areas of the Netherlands, the 'dunes and bulb region'.
The dunes along the North Sea offer an attractive natural landscape, but are also a significant factor in the Dutch battle against seawater and the Netherlands' water supply. In spring, the bulb region is the one of the most colourful sights in the Netherlands.
The dunes and bulb region fills the entire north-western area of Zuid-Holland. The dunes near Wassenaar are a paradise for walkers and cyclists and also offer an attractive chance to linger along the beaches and boulevards of Katwijk, Scheveningen and Noordwijk. Between the seaside resorts is Space Expo, the visitors' centre for the European space organisation ESA-ESTEC.
In the north of the region are colourful flower fields and the world famous Keukenhof spring park. The university city of Leiden, with its rich history, offers a variety of museums and curiosities from a cultural-historical point of view, while in the south of the region is the Green Heart rural area with its vast peat meadows and cheese farms.
So please put the 19th-22nd May date in your diary now, when Vebon and Euralarm look forward to meeting all members and their guests attending this year's GA in Noordwijk aan Zee.
MEPs' Brussels meeting –
'Security: wider perspective'
Tony Makosinski attended the late-March MEPs breakfast meeting held in Brussels and provides a flavour of its interesting outcomes.
On March 22nd, at the impressive European Parliament building in Brussels, MEPs Dr. Christian Ehler and Malcolm Harbour co-hosted a special breakfast meeting. This was held in the European Parliament Members' Salon for Euralarm's Euralarm President, Lobbying committee members and other officials, and entitled 'Security: a wider perspective'.
Over 20 participants from Euralarm, the European Commission and the European Parliament were present to discuss issues facing the security industry today. Principal guest was Paul Weissenberg, Deputy Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry in the European Commission. Mr Weissenberg spoke of security as a business enabler, and not as a cost factor for businesses, as is widely misconceived. He noted that a key challenge for the European security industry is to remain competitive in the global market, and to keep up with the pace of technology throughout the world. Such reasoning is behind the upcoming European Commission Communication on an Industrial Policy for the Security Sector, due to be presented by the summer of 2012 (see separate report in this Newsletter).
Mr. Weissenberg praised Euralarm for its active participation in the preparation of the Communication and identified standardisation and certification as two main challenges. He also praised the way Euralarm has created the CertAlarm scheme as a positive route forward and an example to others of how an industry can work together.
Hansjuerg Mahler, President of Euralarm, then presented the organisation's objectives, most notably to extend the role of standardisation to the field of services and to create a true single European quality mark for security.
Marc Chabaud, Vice-President of Euralarm, spoke about the role of services in the security industry, and the importance that quality services and maintenance have on the quality and performance of products themselves, underlining the fact that products and services are intrinsically linked. Marc also recalled the distinction between public and private security and pointed out the need to distinguish the specific category of 'civil security', where Euralarm and its members operate. He also referred to the potential impact of the Services Directive on the security sector.
Dr. Christian Ehler, MEP, emphasised the difficulties involved in moving forward with standardisation, and the mismatch that often occurs between the technical and the political elements. He also noted that the European Union must move beyond an array of national security standards. He added that an impetus is needed for European standards development, to avoid third country standards being imposed on market players.
Euralarm members should be prepared to challenge national certification schemes in favour of the adoption of a single, pan-European approval regime with a single EU Quality mark.
With regard to the Services Directive, MEP Malcolm Harbour noted that work on the framework for security services is unfinished and needs examination. He also underlined the importance of the EU standardisation system's ongoing reform, which will likely result in the inclusion of services within the scope of EU standardisation. He encouraged Euralarm to work both on the issues of services and standardisation, as well as aspects of ICT and the digital economy, in which Euralarm could engage with stakeholders – including the European Parliament. He also mentioned that the new EU research programme, Horizon 2020, will be an important instrument to develop projects in the field of security.
Vigorous discussions then followed, during which participants agreed that the fragmentation of the security industry and the inertia of standardisation must be overcome, and that EU member states must be brought on board to help provide the necessary impetus for the sector. The importance of bringing together the security and defence sectors, for example by trying to establish a dialogue between national Ministers of Interior and Ministers of Industry, was also mentioned.