Over the past decade, the European Union has spent billions of euros in public funds on policing, border control and counter-terrorism. This has shaped how European residents experience safety, privacy and travel, and has significantly impacted the journeys of migrants and refugees seeking to reach EU territory.
Yet most of these projects occur outside of the public eye, obscured by bureaucratic opacity, EU jargon and a byzantine institutional architecture. Few are subject to any form of meaningful political or ethical debate.
Investigative journalists Zach Campbell, Caitlin L. Chandler and Chris Jones have experienced first-hand how challenging it is to access up-to-date information on EU security funding.
With support from the IJ4EU fund, they collated data from open sources and submitted dozens of freedom of information requests to national capitals and EU institutions to map three of the most significant security funding programmes.
They then built Open Security Data Europe, with help from data journalist Simon Wörpel, to serve as a resource for other journalists, public officials, civil society organisations, researchers and curious members of the public.
The public platform tracks and displays how the EU spends money on security-related projects. It shows that EU budgets have been used to develop controversial technologies such as drones, biometrics and automated behavioural analysis.
The money has also gone to develop pan-European police networks and border surveillance systems. Some companies and organisations have received tens of millions of euros through these funding schemes.
Search the platform at opensecuritydata.eu. And stay tuned for stories related to the investigation.
New project! @CaitLChandler @earsinfingers @simonwoerpel and I built a thing: You can use https://t.co/fCbkWaWye9 to search for recipients of European Union security funding, for specific projects or for data by topic or country.
Here are some ideas: pic.twitter.com/Tli9cUBWXP
— Zach Campbell (@notzachcampbell) April 6, 2021
Cover image by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash
- Open Security Data Europe ( Public platform for tracking EU spending on security-related projects, launched 6 April 2021 )
- Sci-fi surveillance: Europe's secretive push into biometric technology ( The Guardian, UK, 10 December 2021 )
- Hard power: Europe’s military drift causes alarm ( The Guardian, UK, 19 May 2021 )