28 November 2012. Issue 63 of the ESPI Perspectives addresses the security dimension of GMES in the context of EU Crisis Management. The main hypothesis of this article is that the development of the security dimension of GMES is a major test for the ability of the European Union to be a “modern empire”, to be a global crisis management actor. Besides its funtion as a key source of environmental data, GMES has to achieve a mission of higher importance – to be a state-of-the-art tool of Common Security and Defense Policy, enabling the EU to play or role with international standing among other actors on the global stage.
The security dimension of the European Programme for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) in the wider context of EU crisis management has remained largely unaddressed. GMES is one of the two European space flagship programmes - along with Galileo - which has not only security aspects but also clear geopolitical implications. Although widely disputed at the outset of the programme, the security dimension (the “S” in GMES) has made significant steps forward during the last years. What the security dimension of GMES still lacks, however, is a sound conceptual basis and a strategic pan-European vision. The appropriate place of the GMES Security component is within the frameworks of EU crisis management, and more specifically under the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) of the Union.