A committee of MEPs has emphatically stated that private security contractors and companies must fulfil the minimum requirements with regard to the screening of prospective employees, being accountable, and reporting any kind of staff misconduct. Also, the committee wants private security firms to not do any task that is usually meant for the military.
This call was made by the Foreign Affairs Committee and Defence Sub-Committee of the European Parliament, and it wants this rule enforced across the EU to cover all private security contractors.
It is estimated that there are about 40,000 private security firms in the EU. This sector has a workforce of 1.5 million and provides a wide range of services, including managing and operating prisons; providing logistical, protection and combat support; and supplying clients with military technology.
Many UK private security firms have a presence in mainland Europe. Therefore, when these new rules become law, it will also affect them.
Security Contractors to be meet new EU standards
The committee wants the EU to maintain an open list of security contractors who are compliant with the EU standards related to criminal records, transparency, licences, the stringent vetting of security personnel, financial and economic capacity, and following the international code of conduct.
The European Parliament will also be publishing one set of rules solely meant for EU institutions that use private security contractors to provide protection to EU staff. These rules will be fashioned after the practices followed by NATO and the UN.
Over 70 per cent of citizens in the EU believe that the EU should prioritise security and defence, according to European Parliament rapporteur Hilde Vautmans, and it is therefore imperative that the Commission and the Council create Europe-wide standards for all private security contractors to enhance democratic control and transparency.
It is anticipated that the European Parliament will seek a vote on this matter in a couple of weeks in Strasbourg, after which it will be enforced across the EU.