Tuesday

5th Jul 2022

EU five-year security plan to focus on critical infrastructure

  • 'From protecting our critical infrastructure to fighting cybercrime and countering hybrid threats, we can leave no stone unturned when it comes to our security,' said commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas (l) (Photo: EC - Audiovisual Service)

The European Commission unveiled on Friday (24 July) its new strategy for internal and external security over the next five years - which focusses particularly on critical infrastructures, cybersecurity, terrorism, child abuse and drugs.

It puts forward new rules on the protection and resilience of online and offline critical infrastructure - for instance, hospitals, transport or energy supplies - to address the increasing interdependencies between systems.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The new strategy will also try to find a solution to the existing fragmentation between member states' law, since fragmentation might undermine the EU's internal market and make cross-border coordination more difficult.

"This strategy will serve as an umbrella framework for our security policies," said commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas.

"From protecting our critical infrastructure to fighting cybercrime and countering hybrid threats, we can leave no stone unturned when it comes to our security," he added.

The commission also wants to increase cybersecurity efforts to cope with the increasing amount of cyberattacks - which are every-increasingly sophisticated.

This is especially time-sensitive due to the ongoing roll-out of the 5G infrastructure across the EU and the potential dependence of many critical services on these networks.

"One of the most important long-term needs is to develop a culture of cybersecurity by design, with security built into products and services from the start," reads the strategy.

The EU's response to cyberattacks, meanwhile, continues relying partly on international cooperation - but the commission also identified the need for a 'Joint Cyber Unit' that will work as a platform for coordination efforts.

Moreover, the EU executive wants to tackle organised crime and the terrorism by strengthening Europol's mandate - especially since organised crime groups and terrorists are key players in the trade of illegal firearms.

While the EU's action plan on drugs aims to better address the security and health implications of drug-trafficking and drug-use in Europe.

During the review of Europol's mandate, the commission will also propose to create a European innovation hub for internal security to enhance innovation and research.

Digital Service Act to tackle online child-abuse

Finally, EU commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson announced on Thursday that the EU Executive is considering to oblige online platforms to detect and report child-abuse content.

The Digital Services Act package, to be proposed by the end of 2020, will clarify the level of liability and safety rules for digital services.

In Europe, it is estimated that one-in-five children are victim to some form of sexual violence.

However, Europol found earlier this year that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the sharing volume of abuse content online.

Johansson also said that the commission is considering the creation of a new European centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse - similar to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"Knowing you are safe, online, in public, in your home, for your children, builds trust and cohesion in society," said Johansson.

Officials: Health should become EU 'critical infrastructure'

"The pandemic should be a wake-up call that the EU is facing collective risks requiring not just collective answers, but also the acknowledgement of the already existing interdependencies [of its health systems]," said one expert.

Cybercrime rises during coronavirus pandemic

Cybercrime and cyberattacks have increased due to the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the World Health Organization, hospitals and research centres are being targeted by organised cybercriminals - searching for information, intelligence, and systems access.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

News in Brief

  1. Turkey signs Nato protocol despite Sweden extradition row
  2. European gas production hit by Norway strike
  3. EU Commission told to step up fight against CAP fraud
  4. Ukraine needs €719bn to rebuild, says PM
  5. Germany records first monthly trade deficit since 1991
  6. Pilots from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden strike
  7. Report: EU to sign hydrogen deal with Namibia
  8. Israel and Poland to mend relations

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules
  2. Turkey sends mixed signals on Sweden's entry into Nato
  3. EU Parliament sued over secrecy on Nazi MEP expenses
  4. Italy glacier tragedy has 'everything to do' with climate change
  5. The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark
  6. Report slams German opposition to new child sexual abuse rules
  7. Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds
  8. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us