Publishing Institution:

Isis

International Security Information Service


The International Security Information Service (ISIS) was founded in 1989 in London to provide factual information and analysis on issues of international defence and security to parliamentarians and other interested parties. Its primary purpose has been to improve the level of understanding of these complex issues, enhance the quality of parliamentary debate in particular, and hence to help to hold the British Government to account for its foreign and defence policies. In August 1995, ISIS expanded its operation to Brussels where it established a parallel organisation, ISIS Europe, to provide a similar service to a wider European audience. ISIS Europe aim to improve the quality and range of defence and security issues discussed within and between the institutions with competencies in foreign affairs and security policy in Brussels and, increasingly, in other western and eastern European national parliaments. One of the principal means which ISIS adopts to inform and influence parliamentarians is the publication of briefing papers. These briefings and reports are prepared by experts from material collected from public sources. They are freely and openly available to politicians, civil servants, journalists and others interested in this area of public affairs. Since it was established in September 1995, ISIS Europe has published eighteen such briefings and eleven shorter briefings on developments in the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) negotiations to amend the Maastricht Treaty. ISIS Europe's specialist reports are customised for, and targeted at, key individuals and committees within the UK and many European parliaments. In order to maximise the impact of its analysis, ISIS employs methods that ensure the material is read by the right person at the most appropriate time. This requires good analytical judgement, personal contact and a trusted relationship with its clientele, and a thorough knowledge of legislative procedures and agendas. Over the past year ISIS Europe has sought to develop its contacts in central and eastern European parliaments. It is on the basis of this experience that ISIS Europe is now engaged in a research project which examines the role of the parliaments of Central and Eastern European states in influencing and scrutinising foreign and defence policy. ISIS Europe also engages actively in the work of the European Parliament, acting as a consultancy service to many of its Members and co-ordinating inter-party support for specific initiatives in the field of defence and security. For example it co-ordinates fortnightly inter-party meetings to discuss current legislative initiatives and monthly meetings of the Parliament's Arms Transfers Working Group. This group aims to influence the process of developing stricter European arms export controls and explores ways in which the EU can address the issues of surplus light weapons, illicit trafficking in conventional arms, and the furtherance 'of security first' development assistance policies.
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