After three years of discussions and in the aftermath of the US Colonial Pipeline Hack, the EU finally decides to create a European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Center
Energy Cyber-attack in U.S.
At a time when the whole world gears up to defend itself from threats and attacks from the darkside of the web, the American criminal group Darkside blocks the Colonial Pipeline in the USA on May 7th. The 2.5 million barrels a day supplying the East Coast from New York to Texas are no longer dispensed for a few days. Read the article published today on our Blog.
Concerns are growing in Europe
And they are very motivated. Unlike the US, China and Russia, just to name the larger countries, Europe is very vulnerable, due to the fragmented nature of its infrastructures and the lack of a single manager for the transmission of energy.
A high level of security of network and information systems throughout the Union is therefore essential. However, at the moment, the Union depends on non-European cybersecurity providers and In any case, a plan is needed to protect European interests. And it is urgent.
The EU establishes a center to fight cyber attacks
This week the European Parliament will give its green light to the agreement with the EU Council of Ministers for the opening of a European Center (watch the debate in the European Parliament today Wednesday 19 May at 21:30 C.E.T.)
This is about the creation of a European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre, which would be the Union’s main instrument to pool investment in cybersecurity research, technology and industrial development. The Competence Centre should help to increase the security of network and information systems, including the internet and other infrastructures which are critical for the functioning of society such as transport, health, energy, digital infrastructure, water, financial market and banking systems.
It would also deliver cybersecurity-related financial support from Horizon Europe and Digital Europe programmes. The EU Centre provides for the setting up of the Network of National Coordination Centres and a Cybersecurity Competence Community.
What the European Center will do to combat cyber attacks
The Competence Centre would be:
- co-governed by the Member States and the Commission, and the aim would be to
- ensure stronger coordination between research and innovation as well as deployment strategies at the EU and national level;
- enable the Member States to take decisions related to their financial contribution tojoint actions and
- able, in accordance with the above-mentioned governance (i.e. Commission and Member States), to implement research and innovation actions (supported by Horizon Europe Programme) as well as capacity building actions (supported by Digital Europe Programme).
- able, together with Member States, to support the build-up and procurement of advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures in Europe and ensure a wide deployment of the latest cybersecurity solutions across the economy (as also indicated in the Digital Europe Programme’s Partial General Approach). To this end, the Competence Centre would also be able to facilitate the shared acquisition of capacities on behalf of Member States.
The European decision comes after intense talks between the EU and the new US administration. The talks officially began on January 20, 2021, when the new American President Joe Biden spoke in live streaming at the Plenary of the European Parliament. On that occasion, the urgency of joint efforts to fight cyber-attacks was underlined. A month earlier, the EU Council agreed with the Parliament on the contents and now the legislative procedure is concluding positively.
Follow the today debate at 21:34 (C.E.T.) in the European Parliament with Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs.
Here the text submitted to the vote of the European Parliament, next on Thursday 20 May 2021.
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