EU to consolidate and network cybersecurity to help fight online crime

The EU is enhancing its efforts in Europe’s ongoing struggle against net-based crime with a new initiative set to unify and network its expertise in research, tech and industrial development for cyber-security.

The Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee recently gave the green light to authorities in Romania to begin discussions with the European Parliament to create an intelligence base for cyber-security, to be named to European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Centre.

A Network of National Coordination Centres is also to be established. Together the new institutions will help to galvanise protection within the digital single market and boost the EU’s self-sufficiency on the front line of online security.

In an official release, Alexandru Petrescu, Minister for Communications and Information Society of Romania, and President of the Council, said:

“It is in the EU’s strategic interest to ensure we have the capacities and capabilities needed to protect our networks and digital services. Structured pooling and sharing of research capacities and rolling out of innovative cybersecurity solutions will give a real push to the competitiveness of the EU’s cybersecurity industry in relation to global players.”

Member states will work together to designate National Coordination Centres that will make up the Cybersecurity Competence Network. The Centres will either have ownership of or access to the correct technological know-how in cyber-security, for instance, regarding issues such as cryptography, intrusion detection or human aspects of security.

In alignment with the Network, the Centre will behave as an interface for cyber-security-related financial support from the Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes.

Together, they will help increase the competitiveness of the EU’s cybersecurity industry and turn cybersecurity into a competitive advantage for other EU industries.

The proposal also creates a third structure, a Cybersecurity Competence Community, to bring together the main stakeholders to enhance and spread cybersecurity expertise across the EU. Its members will include, among others, industry, academic and non-profit research organisations, public entities dealing with operational and technical matters, and, where relevant, actors from other sectors facing cybersecurity challenges.

The Centre will be established for the period of 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2029. After that it will be wound up, unless decided otherwise through a review of the relevant regulation.

The EU also has a European Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), which will be upgraded into a permanent EU Agency for Cybersecurity when the draft Cybersecurity Act is formally adopted this spring.

The activities of the new European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Centre will be complementary to ENISA’s tasks without duplicating any of them.

Negotiations between the Council and the European Parliament to agree on the final text will kick off this evening.


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