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European Union

Summary

Israel is an associated state of the EU and enjoys close economic and diplomatic ties. Through Research & Innovation funds, the EU invested billions in Israeli companies and organizations, among them also arms manufacturers like Elbit, Verint Systems and IAI. Between 2018-2020 border security agencies of the EU purchased Israeli drones for maritime surveillance missions at the Mediterranean sea, to provide migrants from crossing to European land.

Background

Israel is an associated state of the EU. The relations between Israel and the EU are framed in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean.[1] Legal ties are set by the Association Agreement from 1995 that entered into force in 2000.[2] The agreement with Israel incorporates free trade arrangements for industrial goods and concessionary arrangements for trade in agricultural products.[3] The agreement established the EU-Israel Association Council and the EU-Israel Association Committee.

The EU has as ambassador in Tel Aviv Israel and Israel maintains the Mission of Israel to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.[4]

The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner with total trade amounting to €36.2 billion in 2017. Export from Israel to the EU amounted to €14.7 billion in 2017 and was dominated by chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, as well as other manufactured goods.[5]

The European Commission signed an agreement with Israel in 2004 allowing for its participation in the Galileo Project, for a global navigation satellite system.[6] Israel is a member of the European Science Organization and of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Military Relations

In 2008, the EU decided to upgrade its relations with Israel within the European Common Foreign and Security Policy-CFSP and also to organize a diplomatic-strategic dialogue between Israel and the EU.[7] Israel joined the EU’s Research and Development-R&D program and has gained more access to political and defense policy committees.[8] [9]

In 2010, Israel and the EU held a dialogue on weapons control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).[10]

Other visible aspects of Israeli-EU security and defense relations are displayed in mutual visits of high ranking personalities [11] and through joint military training exercises such as the joint Israeli-Italian, Israeli-Greek Israeli-Polish and Israeli-Italian air force exercises in the years 2009 to 2019[12] [13] [14] [15]. There were also common drills with other European state within the framework of NATO’s military drills.[16]

Research and Innovation – FP7, Horizon 2020

Israel has been associated to EU Research & Innovation programs since 1996. During the FP7-program (2007-2013), Israeli companies participated and benefitted from programs worth €39.7 billion. During the FP7-program focus was on ICT, space and nanotechnology. €26 million in 49 projects went to Israeli companies in Israeli defense and national security sectors. 23 Israeli companies have been involved in one or several European security research projects among them Elbit, IAI, Aeronautics and Opgal.[17]

Between 2007-2018, Israeli weapons companies Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) have been allowed to participate in EU funded research projects worth €244 million ($313.6 million).[18]

During the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (2014-2020) more than 780 Israeli companies were granted with a total of €381 million[19]. Among others the companies: Elbit, IAI, Rafael and Elta.[20] [21] [22]. Since Israel joined the European Research Area, IAI has landed at least 69 EU research grants. Because the European Commission is ostensibly prohibited from funding military R&D, most of these grants have come from the transport and aerospace budgets, where military and defense contractors play a leading role in developing new materials for aircraft and more efficient engines as part of the EU’s “clean skies” program.[23] The EU has also ploughed money into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones) [24] and unmanned ground vehicles[25].

In 2008 the EU granted IAI with €2.9 million for the development of an unmanned patrol vehicle for land border surveillance under polish coordination, the project, named TALOS, ended in 2012.[26] 

In 2013 the Israeli companies IAI, Rotem Technological Solutions and the Ministry of Public security of Israel were involved in a  research project of the EU called AEROCEPTER, which sought to develop a UAV for the interception of non-cooperative land and sea vehicles to stop irregular migration. The project got an EU contribution of €3.47 million[27] [28].

Also Israeli cybersecurity companies were funded through the EU FP7 and Horizon 2020 programs including among others XM Cyber and Verint Systems. In 2012 Israel’s Verint Systems was chosen to lead a project to provide “Total Airport Security” to European airports with an overall budget of €1.2 million[29] [30] [31], its consortium includes Elbit Systems. Other recipients of EU security grants include Aeronautics Defense Systems and the Israel Counter-Terrorism and Security Academy which are helping the EU with its “counter-radicalization” strategy.[32]

For more information about research projects by the EU since 1990, you can use the EU-research database CORDIS.[33]

European Security Agencies

Among dozens of EU-funded UAV projects since 2007, IAI and Elbit landed contracts to develop drones for European security agencies to “autonomously” stop “illegal migrants” and “non-cooperative vehicles”.[34] In 2018 Elbit won a contract for up to $68 million to provide maritime unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) patrol services to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The contract, that was executed with Portugal-based CEiiA between 2018-2020 with an option for additional two years included the lease and operation of Hermes 900 drones and its ground control station.[35]

After conducting test flights between 2018-2020 IAI has been awarded a leasing-contract in 2020 to provide the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) with the HERON drone for maritime patrols. Under the contract IAI will lease the Heron 1 for a period of four years in a deal estimated to be worth several tens of millions of dollars.[36] [37] Another company included in Frontex operations is Israel Shipyards.[38]

Frontex is the key institution for managing the EU’s external borders and was created in 2004.[39] Most of the maritime operations to stop migration to Europe are coordinated by Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency).[40] Frontex has put at least €676.4m into its maritime operations from 2006-2017[41]. For its next multiyear budget (2021-2027) the European Commission has earmarked €11.27 billion of which around €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets[42] [43]. Around €100 million is for the set up of standing corps of 10k guards for Frontex[44]. For EUROSUR – the European Border Surveillance System) at least €1.9 billion was earmarked for the period of 2000-2027.[45]

In 2018 the Israeli government concluded a working agreement with the EU police agency EUROPOL. The treaty provides for cooperation to combat cross-border crime, including cybercrime, fraud and terrorism. [46] [47]

Usage of Arms in Destination Country

Heron 1 (IAI) – was used by Frontex for operational test flights from Crete for to monitor the Mediterranean Sea from 2018-2020[48]. Under new deal from 2020 is planned to be stationed in Greece, Italy or Malta for Border surveillance above the Mediterranean Sea.

Hermes 900 (Elbit) – flights were carried out by EMSA in the Mediterranean Sea. The flight were conducted for Frontex, information from the drones were transmitted in real time to Frontex’s situation centers. They fed into the surveillance network EUROSUR. In addition the Icelandic government made use of the Hermes 900 under EMSA[49]. Other interested countries in the EMSA-drones according to the EU commission: Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.[50]

TAAS (Verint Systems) – the multi-segment, multi-level intelligence and surveillance system was tested at Athens International Airport in Greece, Faro Airport in Portugal and Heathrow Airport in London.[51]

Combat suites (Elbit)– supplied for patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard. Used mainly by Greece, but assigned to Frontex operations outside Greek waters for four months per year.[52]

Violations of human rights

Militarization of European Borders:

Every year thousands of migrants and refugees try to reach Europe. Some are driven by the need to escape grinding poverty; others are seeking refuge from violence and persecution. At least 23,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives trying to reach Europe between 2000-2014. And those who make it to the borders of the European Union (EU) find that safety remains beyond their grasp.[53] The EU and its member states have constructed an increasingly impenetrable fortress to keep irregular migrants out – irrespective of their motives, regardless of the desperate measures that many are prepared to take to reach its shores. In order to “defend” its borders, the EU has funded sophisticated surveillance systems (EUROSUR), given financial support to member states at its external borders, such as Bulgaria and Greece, to fortify their borders and created an agency to coordinate a Europe-wide team of border guards to patrol EU frontiers (FRONTEX).[54]

EU border and migration policies are based on a framework in which migration and refugees are treated as a security threat, to be dealt with by ‘fight against illegal immigration’, and increasingly by using (para)military personnel and equipment. Arms and security industries helped shape European border security policy. The same industry selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa, fueling the conflicts, repression and human rights violations that have led to forcible displacement, is also the main beneficiary of EU border security contracts. [55]

Since 1992 and even more aggressively since 2005, the EU has developed a policy of externalizing Europe’s border so that forcibly displaced people never get to Europe’s borders in the first place. These policies involve agreements with Europe’s neighboring countries to accept deported persons and adopt the same policies of border control, improved tracking of people and fortified borders as Europe. Because they are so far from Europe’s shores and media, the impacts are almost completely invisible to EU citizens.[56]

The boosting and militarization of border security has led to a higher death toll for forcibly displaced persons. In general, measures on one migration route force people to take more dangerous routes. In 2017 one out of every 57 migrants crossing the Mediterranean died, compared to one out of every 267 migrants in 2015[57]. Exact statistics of deaths of migrants recorded along Mediterranean routes is difficult to measure because of the large unknow numbers of disappearances in the sea. Data combined from IOM, national authorities and media sources estimate a number around 18,000 deaths in the Mediterranean Sea between 2014-2019. Between January and December 2020 according to reports 981 migrants died while attempting to cross the sea to Europe.[58]

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, increasingly works together with third countries. It started negotiations with countries neighboring the EU on the possibility of joint operations on their territories. Cooperation on deportations has developed quickly. From 2010 to 2016 Frontex coordinated 400 joint return flights to third countries, 153 of which in 2016. Since 2014 some of those flights have been so-called ‘Collecting Joint Return Operations’, where the airplane and escorts at the flight are from the country of destination. Next to this, EU member states increasingly invite third country delegations to identify ‘deportable’ persons as having their nationality. In several cases this has led to deported persons being arrested and tortured.[59]

In 2020 humanitarian groups claims the EU is using aerial surveillance to spot stranded migrants in Mediterranean Sea but only alerting Libya’s coast guard to intervene, a move that facilitates illegal pushbacks while preventing non-governmental rescue operations from reaching migrants. [60] [61] Intercepted migrants are placed in arbitrary detention facilities in Libya, where they face human rights violations including torture, sexual violence and lack of health care, as well as risk of contracting Covid-19.[62] Also on the border between Greece and Turkey, human rights organization documented push-backs of refugees to turkey by official coast guard agencies, among them Frontex and national coast guards. [63]

Sales Records Table:

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc

Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
Total Airport Security System (TASS)- intelligence and surveillance system
Verint Systems
2010
€1.2m
Link
Hermes-900 drones
Elbit
2018
$68m
for EMSA, contract with CEiiA, included ground control stations. Ended in 2020.
Link
Heron 1 drones
IAI
2020
for Frontex
Link
Hermes 900 drones
Elbit
2020
€50m
for Frontex
Link
Heron 1 drones
IAI
2018
€4.75m
for Frontex for testing in Greece, for border surveillance
Link
Combat suites and integrate systems
Elbit
2019
part of $55.56m deal
combat suites include weapons, sensors, radars and electro-optical systems, for three patrol vessels of Hellenic Coast Guard, 90% financed by Frontex.
Link

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/israel/

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226100936/http://www.delisr.ec.europa.eu/

[3] https://web.archive.org/web/20071226100936/http://www.delisr.ec.europa.eu/

[4] https://embassies.gov.il/eu/Pages/default.aspx

[5] https://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/israel/

[6] https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-becomes-major-partner-in-eu-satellite-program/

[7] Shaon Pardo and Joel Peters, Uneasy Neighbors: Israel and the European Union, Lexington Books, 2010, pp. 66-67. http://books.google.co.il/books?

[8] http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2008/Pages/

[9] http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2008/Pages/

[10] http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2010/Pages/

[11] http://www.idfblog.com/2013/11/07/idf-chief-general-staff-makes-historic-visit-germany/

[12] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/

[13] http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/israeli-greek-air-forces-to-stage-more-joint-exercises-367146/

[14] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4203138,00.html

[15] http://www.idf.il/1283-18266-EN/Dover.aspx

[16] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/

[17] https://cordis.europa.eu/projects/en

[18] https://peoplesdispatch.org/2018/07/06/eu-urged-to-exclude-israeli-arms-firms-from-research-funds/

[19] https://www.innovationisrael.org.il/ISERD/sites/default/files/IL_Statistics_20200921.pdf

[20] https://www.innovationisrael.org.il/ISERD/sites/default/files/h2020_winners_iserd_2015_2014.jpg

[21] https://www.innovationisrael.org.il/ISERD/sites/default/files/inline-files/

[22] https://www.innovationisrael.org.il/ISERD/sites/default/files/Horizon_2020_2018_Israeli_Winners.pdf

[23] https://www.cleansky.eu/

[24] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/how-eu-subsidises-israels-military-industrial-complex/

[25] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/218081

[26] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/218081

[27] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

[28] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/106475/factsheet/en

[29] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/241905

[30] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121119005201/en/

[31] https://www.tni.org/my/node/14517

[32] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/241744

[33] https://cordis.europa.eu/en

[34] https://euobserver.com/justice/118951

[35] https://www.timesofisrael.com/elbit-wins-drone-contract-for-up-to-68m-to-help-monitor-europe-coast/

[36] https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3863372,00.html

[37] https://www.iai.co.il/european-border-and-coast-guard-agency-selects-airbus-and-iai-for-maritime-rpas

[38] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

[39] https://www.clingendael.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/Study-Civil-Military-Capacities-European-Security.pdf

[40] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

[41] https://www.tni.org/en/businessbuildingwalls

[42] https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-factsheet-coast-guard_en.pdf

[43] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/eu-spends-billions-border-walls/

[44] https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/

[45] https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/eu-spends-billions-border-walls/

[46] https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/

[47] https://digit.site36.net/2018/07/21/despite-territorial-clause-europol-starts-police-cooperation-with-israel/

[48] https://digit.site36.net/2018/11/22/drones-watching-fortress-europe/

[49] https://digit.site36.net/2020/01/31/against-migration-eu-drone-crashed-in-crete/

[50] https://netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2019/12/E-2946_191_Finalised_reply_Annex1_EN_V1.pdf

[51] https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/241905/reporting

[52] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

[53] https://aa.ecn.cz/img_upload/6334c0c7298d6b396d213ccd19be5999/

[54] https://aa.ecn.cz/img_upload/6334c0c7298d6b396d213ccd19be5999/

[55] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/business_of_building_walls_-_full_report.pdf

[56] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/expanding_the_fortress_-_executive_summary_-_may_11.pdf

[57] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/expanding_the_fortress_-_executive_summary_-_may_11.pdf

[58] https://missingmigrants.iom.int/region/mediterranean

[59] https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/expanding_the_fortress_-_executive_summary_-_may_11.pdf

[60] https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/25494/

[61] https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1063592

[62] https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1063592

[63] https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/18/greece-violent-pushbacks-turkey-border

European Union

Israel is an associated state of the EU and enjoys close economic and diplomatic ties. Through Research & Innovation funds, the EU invested billions in Israeli companies and organizations, among them also arms manufacturers like Elbit, Verint Systems and IAI. Between 2018-2020 border security agencies of the EU purchased Israeli drones for maritime surveillance missions at the Mediterranean sea, to provide migrants from crossing to European land.

Israel is an associated state of the EU. The relations between Israel and the EU are framed in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean.[1] Legal ties are set by the Association Agreement from 1995 that entered into force in 2000.[2] The agreement with Israel incorporates free trade arrangements for industrial goods and concessionary arrangements for trade in agricultural products.[3] The agreement established the EU-Israel Association Council and the EU-Israel Association Committee.

The EU has as ambassador in Tel Aviv Israel and Israel maintains the Mission of Israel to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.[4]

The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner with total trade amounting to €36.2 billion in 2017. Export from Israel to the EU amounted to €14.7 billion in 2017 and was dominated by chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, as well as other manufactured goods.[5]

The European Commission signed an agreement with Israel in 2004 allowing for its participation in the Galileo Project, for a global navigation satellite system.[6] Israel is a member of the European Science Organization and of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

In 2008, the EU decided to upgrade its relations with Israel within the European Common Foreign and Security Policy-CFSP and also to organize a diplomatic-strategic dialogue between Israel and the EU.[7] Israel joined the EU’s Research and Development-R&D program and has gained more access to political and defense policy committees.[8] [9]

In 2010, Israel and the EU held a dialogue on weapons control and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).[10]

Other visible aspects of Israeli-EU security and defense relations are displayed in mutual visits of high ranking personalities [11] and through joint military training exercises such as the joint Israeli-Italian, Israeli-Greek Israeli-Polish and Israeli-Italian air force exercises in the years 2009 to 2019[12] [13] [14] [15]. There were also common drills with other European state within the framework of NATO’s military drills.[16]

Research and Innovation – FP7, Horizon 2020

Israel has been associated to EU Research & Innovation programs since 1996. During the FP7-program (2007-2013), Israeli companies participated and benefitted from programs worth €39.7 billion. During the FP7-program focus was on ICT, space and nanotechnology. €26 million in 49 projects went to Israeli companies in Israeli defense and national security sectors. 23 Israeli companies have been involved in one or several European security research projects among them Elbit, IAI, Aeronautics and Opgal.[17]

Between 2007-2018, Israeli weapons companies Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) have been allowed to participate in EU funded research projects worth €244 million ($313.6 million).[18]

During the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (2014-2020) more than 780 Israeli companies were granted with a total of €381 million[19]. Among others the companies: Elbit, IAI, Rafael and Elta.[20] [21] [22]. Since Israel joined the European Research Area, IAI has landed at least 69 EU research grants. Because the European Commission is ostensibly prohibited from funding military R&D, most of these grants have come from the transport and aerospace budgets, where military and defense contractors play a leading role in developing new materials for aircraft and more efficient engines as part of the EU’s “clean skies” program.[23] The EU has also ploughed money into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs/drones) [24] and unmanned ground vehicles[25].

In 2008 the EU granted IAI with €2.9 million for the development of an unmanned patrol vehicle for land border surveillance under polish coordination, the project, named TALOS, ended in 2012.[26] 

In 2013 the Israeli companies IAI, Rotem Technological Solutions and the Ministry of Public security of Israel were involved in a  research project of the EU called AEROCEPTER, which sought to develop a UAV for the interception of non-cooperative land and sea vehicles to stop irregular migration. The project got an EU contribution of €3.47 million[27] [28].

Also Israeli cybersecurity companies were funded through the EU FP7 and Horizon 2020 programs including among others XM Cyber and Verint Systems. In 2012 Israel’s Verint Systems was chosen to lead a project to provide “Total Airport Security” to European airports with an overall budget of €1.2 million[29] [30] [31], its consortium includes Elbit Systems. Other recipients of EU security grants include Aeronautics Defense Systems and the Israel Counter-Terrorism and Security Academy which are helping the EU with its “counter-radicalization” strategy.[32]

For more information about research projects by the EU since 1990, you can use the EU-research database CORDIS.[33]

European Security Agencies

Among dozens of EU-funded UAV projects since 2007, IAI and Elbit landed contracts to develop drones for European security agencies to “autonomously” stop “illegal migrants” and “non-cooperative vehicles”.[34] In 2018 Elbit won a contract for up to $68 million to provide maritime unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) patrol services to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The contract, that was executed with Portugal-based CEiiA between 2018-2020 with an option for additional two years included the lease and operation of Hermes 900 drones and its ground control station.[35]

After conducting test flights between 2018-2020 IAI has been awarded a leasing-contract in 2020 to provide the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) with the HERON drone for maritime patrols. Under the contract IAI will lease the Heron 1 for a period of four years in a deal estimated to be worth several tens of millions of dollars.[36] [37] Another company included in Frontex operations is Israel Shipyards.[38]

Frontex is the key institution for managing the EU’s external borders and was created in 2004.[39] Most of the maritime operations to stop migration to Europe are coordinated by Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency).[40] Frontex has put at least €676.4m into its maritime operations from 2006-2017[41]. For its next multiyear budget (2021-2027) the European Commission has earmarked €11.27 billion of which around €2.2 billion will be used for acquiring, maintaining and operating air, sea and land assets[42] [43]. Around €100 million is for the set up of standing corps of 10k guards for Frontex[44]. For EUROSUR – the European Border Surveillance System) at least €1.9 billion was earmarked for the period of 2000-2027.[45]

In 2018 the Israeli government concluded a working agreement with the EU police agency EUROPOL. The treaty provides for cooperation to combat cross-border crime, including cybercrime, fraud and terrorism. [46] [47]

Heron 1 (IAI) – was used by Frontex for operational test flights from Crete for to monitor the Mediterranean Sea from 2018-2020[48]. Under new deal from 2020 is planned to be stationed in Greece, Italy or Malta for Border surveillance above the Mediterranean Sea.

Hermes 900 (Elbit) – flights were carried out by EMSA in the Mediterranean Sea. The flight were conducted for Frontex, information from the drones were transmitted in real time to Frontex’s situation centers. They fed into the surveillance network EUROSUR. In addition the Icelandic government made use of the Hermes 900 under EMSA[49]. Other interested countries in the EMSA-drones according to the EU commission: Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.[50]

TAAS (Verint Systems) – the multi-segment, multi-level intelligence and surveillance system was tested at Athens International Airport in Greece, Faro Airport in Portugal and Heathrow Airport in London.[51]

Combat suites (Elbit)– supplied for patrol vessels for the Hellenic Coast Guard. Used mainly by Greece, but assigned to Frontex operations outside Greek waters for four months per year.[52]

Militarization of European Borders:

Every year thousands of migrants and refugees try to reach Europe. Some are driven by the need to escape grinding poverty; others are seeking refuge from violence and persecution. At least 23,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives trying to reach Europe between 2000-2014. And those who make it to the borders of the European Union (EU) find that safety remains beyond their grasp.[53] The EU and its member states have constructed an increasingly impenetrable fortress to keep irregular migrants out – irrespective of their motives, regardless of the desperate measures that many are prepared to take to reach its shores. In order to “defend” its borders, the EU has funded sophisticated surveillance systems (EUROSUR), given financial support to member states at its external borders, such as Bulgaria and Greece, to fortify their borders and created an agency to coordinate a Europe-wide team of border guards to patrol EU frontiers (FRONTEX).[54]

EU border and migration policies are based on a framework in which migration and refugees are treated as a security threat, to be dealt with by ‘fight against illegal immigration’, and increasingly by using (para)military personnel and equipment. Arms and security industries helped shape European border security policy. The same industry selling arms to the Middle East and North Africa, fueling the conflicts, repression and human rights violations that have led to forcible displacement, is also the main beneficiary of EU border security contracts. [55]

Since 1992 and even more aggressively since 2005, the EU has developed a policy of externalizing Europe’s border so that forcibly displaced people never get to Europe’s borders in the first place. These policies involve agreements with Europe’s neighboring countries to accept deported persons and adopt the same policies of border control, improved tracking of people and fortified borders as Europe. Because they are so far from Europe’s shores and media, the impacts are almost completely invisible to EU citizens.[56]

The boosting and militarization of border security has led to a higher death toll for forcibly displaced persons. In general, measures on one migration route force people to take more dangerous routes. In 2017 one out of every 57 migrants crossing the Mediterranean died, compared to one out of every 267 migrants in 2015[57]. Exact statistics of deaths of migrants recorded along Mediterranean routes is difficult to measure because of the large unknow numbers of disappearances in the sea. Data combined from IOM, national authorities and media sources estimate a number around 18,000 deaths in the Mediterranean Sea between 2014-2019. Between January and December 2020 according to reports 981 migrants died while attempting to cross the sea to Europe.[58]

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, increasingly works together with third countries. It started negotiations with countries neighboring the EU on the possibility of joint operations on their territories. Cooperation on deportations has developed quickly. From 2010 to 2016 Frontex coordinated 400 joint return flights to third countries, 153 of which in 2016. Since 2014 some of those flights have been so-called ‘Collecting Joint Return Operations’, where the airplane and escorts at the flight are from the country of destination. Next to this, EU member states increasingly invite third country delegations to identify ‘deportable’ persons as having their nationality. In several cases this has led to deported persons being arrested and tortured.[59]

In 2020 humanitarian groups claims the EU is using aerial surveillance to spot stranded migrants in Mediterranean Sea but only alerting Libya’s coast guard to intervene, a move that facilitates illegal pushbacks while preventing non-governmental rescue operations from reaching migrants. [60] [61] Intercepted migrants are placed in arbitrary detention facilities in Libya, where they face human rights violations including torture, sexual violence and lack of health care, as well as risk of contracting Covid-19.[62] Also on the border between Greece and Turkey, human rights organization documented push-backs of refugees to turkey by official coast guard agencies, among them Frontex and national coast guards. [63]

Download as XLS or PDF or view the Google-Doc

Product
Company
Year
Deal Size
Comments
Source
Total Airport Security System (TASS)- intelligence and surveillance system
Verint Systems
2010
€1.2m
Link
Hermes-900 drones
Elbit
2018
$68m
for EMSA, contract with CEiiA, included ground control stations. Ended in 2020.
Link
Heron 1 drones
IAI
2020
for Frontex
Link
Hermes 900 drones
Elbit
2020
€50m
for Frontex
Link
Heron 1 drones
IAI
2018
€4.75m
for Frontex for testing in Greece, for border surveillance
Link
Combat suites and integrate systems
Elbit
2019
part of $55.56m deal
combat suites include weapons, sensors, radars and electro-optical systems, for three patrol vessels of Hellenic Coast Guard, 90% financed by Frontex.
Link