Friday

26th Apr 2019

Focus

EU to force firms to report major cyber attacks

  • It is the first time that EU-wide rules on cyber security are to be agreed (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

Negotiators from the European Parliament and national governments have reached an agreement on new cyber-security rules, shortly before midnight on Monday (7 December).

Companies which fulfil certain essential societal functions will have to make sure that they can resist cyber attacks, and report digital security breaches to national authorities.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

It is the first time that EU-wide rules on cyber security are agreed.

The new EU directive will lay down the criteria to determine if a company qualifies as an “operator of essential service”, but member states will be responsible for identifying these key companies, the European Parliament said in a press release.

The sectors where such essential services will need to be guaranteed are: energy, transport, banking, financial market, health, and water supply.

In its press release, the EP also specified three American internet companies as likely to be falling under the new rules.

“In addition, some internet services providers, such as online marketplaces (e.g. eBay, Amazon), search engines (e.g. Google) and clouds, will also have to ensure the safety of their infrastructure and to report on major incidents,” the press release said.

The new directive will also put a “strategic cooperation group” in place where member states should “exchange information and best practices, draw up guidelines and assist member states in cyber security capacity building”.

A complete assessment of the deal, which was clinched behind closed doors in a so-called trilogue process, is not yet possible until the consolidated text of the compromise is published. This is expected to take a few days.

'Milestone'

But the lead negotiator on behalf of the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) already expressed satisfaction with the deal.

“Today, a milestone has been achieved: we have agreed on first ever EU-wide cyber security rules, which the parliament has advocated for years”, centre-right German MEP Andreas Schwab said.

The European Commission, which proposed the cyber security rules in February 2013, mediated the talks.

Digital affairs commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Tuesday (8 December) the new rules are “a major step in raising the level of cyber security in Europe”.

In a speech last month, Oettinger already signalled the importance of the first-ever pan-European cyber security rules.

“We are opening a European legal book”, he said at an annual event of the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (Enisa) in Brussels.

The EU agency “will play an even more prominent role”, Oettinger had noted.

In an interview with EUobserver, Enisa's executive director Udo Helmbrecht said he expects a positive effect of one of the directive's main features, the obligation for companies that provide essential public services to report major incidents like a cyber attack.

“Putting obligation of reporting incidents will hopefully create a mechanism that people say: 'oh if I have to report something, then I also have to do something for prevention' and by this increasing IT security”, said Helmbrecht.

The deal still needs approval from the full house of the EP and from national governments.

EU to beef up cybersecurity agency

The Commission's president proposed to set up a European Cybersecurity Agency. The EU already has an agency for Network and Information Security.

Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen

Frankreichs Präsident Francois Hollande kündigt an, alle notwendigen Massnahmen zu treffen, um Cyberattacken vor den Präsidentschaftswahlen im April und Mai zu verhindern. Die politischen Parteien sind jedoch weiterhin anfällig.

News in Brief

  1. Talks to merge Germany's two largest banks collapse
  2. EU and Japan back Iran nuclear deal despite US
  3. China addresses EU concerns on belt and road plan
  4. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  5. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  6. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  7. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  8. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave

Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?

The success of the new general data protection regulation (GDPR) will depend on whether data protection authorities enforce the new rules - which, in turn, will be at least partly determined by how many people they employ.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. EU justice 'barometer' hindered by data gaps
  2. Spanish vote and EU court's Airbnb ruling in focus This WEEK
  3. Spain undecided and divided ahead of Sunday's election
  4. Migration and climate are EU's top priorities, Macron says
  5. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  6. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  7. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  8. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us