PositionEuropean Commission's reforems for security

The EU faces some major budgetary issues this year and next. These include the never-ending tussles over the union's regional spending, as well as the more recent and controversial move by the European Commission to reform the way state aid is handed out at national level. Not to mention the fight among national capitals to set the EU's overall budget for 2007-2013.

One policy area that the general public - and certainly business and industry - would be wise to keep an eye on for its budgetary and cost implications, however, is security. Despite gushing declarations from EU leaders and governments about the ways they intend to protect citizens from attack, the subject remains obscure because it is so wide-ranging.

If anything becomes a destructive tool in the hands of a terrorist, then everything must be made secure. No politician has been foolish enough to argue that yet, but the pale logic of such defensive reasoning quivers in the EU's ever-expanding agenda of security-oriented laws, policy decisions and cooperation among national governments.

Leaving aside the Orwellian scenarios one can extrapolate from it, this agenda's cost implications are virtually open-ended. And the first question to answer is: who is going to pay for Europe's security-enhancing decisions?

The battle lines are being drawn. Europe's airlines and airports are already screaming that they've been unfairly forced to carry too much of the post-9/11 cost burden. They want government relief...

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