Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU Council has approved a move to strengthen its critical entities, according to a press release on Monday.
The aim is to reduce vulnerabilities and improve the overall resilience of key entities vital to the infrastructure that enables the internal market system to function effectively, but especially in times of crisis
“A number of crises in recent years, including terrorist attacks, COVID-19 and extreme weather events have challenged the preparedness of our systems and infrastructure”, Slovenia’s Interior Minister Aleš Hojs asserted, while noting that “they have shown us that there is still more we can do to be collectively prepared for the crises of the future, whatever their nature.”
“Today’s agreement in the Council provides a solid basis for achieving this”, Hojs observed, adding that “strengthening Europe’s resilience has been the topmost priority of the Slovenian presidency of the Council.”
The Council’s approval opens doors to the start of discussion with the European Parliament to agree on a final text for the new directive.
The Council’s plan covers the sectors of banking, digital infrastructure, drinking water, energy, financial market infrastructures, health, transport and wastewater management.
Entities in these sectors must be able to protect against, prevent, respond to and recover from health emergencies, natural disasters and terrorism, according to the Council.
Critical entities and EU member states will have to prepare strategies for strengthening their resilience in these areas, carry out risk assessment regularly and identify risks that may cause disruptions in the provision of such essential services.
The proposal for a new directive sets out rules for identifying critical entities of particular significance, which are defined as those that provide critical services to or in at least one third of member states.
The European Commission presented the proposal in December last year, in the context of replacing the current directive on critical infrastructure that was adopted in 2008.
The move was spurred by the rise of the digital economy, terrorist threats and the coronavirus crisis, among otherissues. The pandemic has shown how vulnerable some parts of key infrastructure are to a pandemic as well as the level of their interdependence in the EU and on the global scale.