Since the late 1990s, the European Union has worked to encourage a European security market, where major defence and technology companies develop products and services that better protect us from crime and terrorism. This industry should also create jobs and be globally competitive. Over the past year, more than twenty journalists in eleven European countries investigated this burgeoning sector. And they discovered there’s a lot wrong with the European security market.

Through a series of articles, the journalists bring you up to speed on the dominant thinking among the EU policymakers and industry big shots who’ve asserted themselves as “managers of unease,” on the lobbies representing major defence companies, on the billions spent on security research, and on the many ethical issues surrounding this market.

The investigation is multi-faceted and will result in dozens of articles and three documentaries, which will be published from February 22nd onwards over the course of a couple of months. These articles will all be collected in the form of a crash course on this website: www.securityforsale.eu

Superfortress Europe 

The project kicks off with a broadcast by VPRO Tegenlicht and an article by De Correspondent in the Netherlands. The budget Brussels makes available for European border protection has increased by billions in the past few years. The reason: terrorism and the growing numbers of refugees. New surveillance technology is a growth market that is literally gaining ground because of all the deals Brussels is making with so-called third countries. After the Turkey Deal, agreements are now also being made with countries such as Niger and Sudan, and, if current EU president Malta has anything to say about it, with Libya too, as soon as possible. Money, knowledge and technology in exchange for shifting Europe’s borders. In this documentary called Superfortress Europe, VPRO Tegenlicht visits Niger and asks: is it working? 

European Homeland Security

Another big story investigated by the team covers the emergence of a European ‘Homeland Security’ Industry. It shows how this industry heavily subsidised with taxpayers’ money, influences European and national security policy and creates a demand for security ‘solutions’ that cannot be tested for their effectiveness. The journalists zoom in on two security research programmes of the European Union. Over the past ten years, the European Union has poured nearly €2 billion into advanced security technology research. But who’s reaping the rewards of that investment: the common civilian, or the arms industry? 

Surveillance exports of European companies 

On the 23rd February, the journalists will publish a revealing investigation into surveillance exports of European companies. In order to prevent dictatorships from abusing European technology to crack down on political opposition, the EU started regulating the export of surveillance technology a few years ago. 

The participating journalists:

Dimitri Tokmetzis, Maaike Goslinga, Leon de Korte (De Correspondent, Netherlands), Shuchen Tan, William de Bruijn, Marijntje Denters, Nirit Peled (VPRO Tegenlicht, Netherlands), Christian Bergmann, Josa Maria-Schlegel (ARD, Germany), Christian Fuchs (DIE ZEIT, Germany), Kai Biermann (ZEIT ONLINE, Germany), Lorenzo Bagnoli, Lorenzo Bodrero, Luca Rinaldi (Investigative Reporting Project Italy in collaboration with l’Espresso and Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy), Craig Shaw (Centre for Investigative Journalism, United Kingdom), Leonard Wallentin, Katarina Lind (Journalism++ in collaboration with Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden), Kristof Clerix (Knack, Belgium), Sebastian Gjerding, Lasse Skou Andersen (Dagbladet Information, Denmark), Guillaume Pitron (freelancer in collaboration with Le Monde Diplomatique, France), Hanna Nikkanen, Johanna Vehkoo (Long Play, Finland), and Olaf Meuwese (volunteer and data expert, Netherlands).

Team members

Kai Biermann

Kai Biermann is German journalist at Zeit Online.

Christian Fuchs

Christian Fucks is a German journalist at Die Zeit. 

Dimitri Tokmetzis

Dimitri Tokmetzis is a Dutch journalist at De Correspondent. 

Maaike Goslinga

Maaike Goslinga is a Dutch journalist at De Correspondent.

Leon de Korte

Leon de Korte is a journalist at De Correspondent.

Shucken Tan

Shuchen Tan is a Dutch filmmaker at VPRO. 

William de Bruijn

William de Bruijn is a senior researcher at VPRO Broadcast Company (The Netherlands).

Marijntje Denters

Marijntje Denters is a broadcast journalist in The Netherlands.


Nirit Peled

Nirit Peled is a freelance filmmaker at VPRO (The Netherlands).

Guillaume Pitron

Guillaume Pitron, 38, is a French journalist (Le Monde Diplomatique, National Geographic, etc.) and documentary maker for France’s leading television channels.

Christian Bergmann

Christian Bergmann is a German journalist at ARD. 

Josa Maria-Schlegel

Josa Maria-Schlegel is a German journalist at ARD.

Lorenzo Bagnoli

Lorenzo Bagnoli is co-director, journalist, editor and coordinator of international projects at IrpiMedia.

Lorenzo Bagnoli

Lorenzo Bodrero

Lorenzo Bodrero is an investigative and data journalist from Italy, co-founder of the investigative outlet IrpiMedia.

Lorenzo Bodrero

Luca Rinaldi

Luca Rinaldi is a freelance journalist and member of Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI) and contributor at Corriere della Sera.

Leonard Wallentin

Leonard Wallentin is a freelance journalist and concept developer in the J ++ network based in Sweden.

Katarina Lind

Katarina Lind is a Swedish journalist at Journalism ++.

Kristof Clerix

Kristof Clerix works as an investigative journalist for the Belgian weekly magazine Knack.

Olaf Meuwese

Olaf Meuwese is a Data Scientist. He lives in Utrecht (The Netherlands).

Sebastian Gjerding

Sebastian Gjerding is a Danish journalist at Dagbladet Information.

Lasse Skou Andersen

Lasse Skou Andersen is a Danish journalist at Dagbladet Information.

Hanna Nikkanen

Hanna Nikkanen is a Finnish investigative reporter and one of the founders of Long Play, a Helsinki-based longform journalism startup.

Johanna Vehkoo

Johanna Vehkoo is a Finnish journalist at Long Play. 

Craig Shaw

Craig Shaw is a British journalist and editor of The Black sea Project.

Craig Shaw
Grant of €29.000, allocated on 09/03/2016


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