European Security

Council of Europe flags Established in 2014, SIPRI’s European Security Programme analyses the European security discourse and seeks to deepen understanding of the ways in which it is changing. The programme places particular emphasis on the question of how to approach the management of transnational and non-traditional security problems. While the military dimension remains present in Europe, the security of European citizens, societies and states is no longer equated exclusively, or even principally, with the defence of borders from external attack or defending against attacks by internal armed groups.

A central theme of the SIPRI European Security Programme is the need to define security in terms of the issues of primary concern to citizens. Because of their connection to their constituents and their habits of networking with peers in other countries, parliamentarians in European countries are in a unique position to assess the relationship between security policy and the wider needs of citizens. Therefore, engagement with parliamentarians is a priority for the programme.

European countries continue to invest significant resources in maintaining and developing armed forces and military capabilities. The Programme monitors and analyses the military dimension of the evolving European security environment to assess the value, effectiveness and efficiency of these investments. 

In international comparative terms, European citizens are relatively insulated from the consequences of violent organized crime. However, while no European country appears in the 20 countries with the highest rates of gun deaths in the world, no European Union (EU) country remains unaffected by firearms violence. Efforts continue to reduce the impact of gun crime on the security of citizens, in particular by working with EU institutions to further reduce the consequences of gun violence.

The need to protect citizens from the consequences of both intentional and unintentional human acts, as well as natural hazards and technical failures, has become an important strand in the European security discourse. A so-called all-hazard perspective is used to prevent, mitigate and recover from major disruptions to infrastructure on which the European way of life depends, such as energy and information and communications systems. The Programme will work to develop a better understanding of ways to detect and respond to both intentional and unintentional human acts that cause or may cause harm involving nuclear or other radioactive materials, installations or technologies.

The findings of the Programme’s research work are published in SIPRI’s collections and in collaboration with external partners.


Research activities

The Programme undertakes research that combines SIPRI's long-standing focus on traditional security issues with an in-depth study of the evolving challenges posed by new models of governance and continuous technological change. Current research activities include:

Regional security building


Security of European citizens and societies


European engagement in global security



Ian Anthony, Programme Director, biography

Lars-Erik Lundin, Distinguished Associated Fellow, biography

, Distinguished Associated Fellow, biography

Vitaly Fedchenko, Researcher, biography

Lina Grip, Researcher, biography

Vincent Boulanin, Researcher, biography