Securing Europe’s Digital Future: EU Commission’s Cybersecurity Agenda

Simona Mazzeo

Brussels (Brussels Morning) – EU Commission mandates doubling cybersecurity investments to bolster resilience. Emphasis on legislation and implementation for effective defence strategies.

In the next European Commission mandate, cybersecurity investments will have to be doubled to ensure the bloc’s strength to counterattacks, a senior EU official said today. 

The significance of developing the cyber security description after the June EU election when the new leader takes office was faded by Roberto Viola, director-general of the commission’s digital unit, at a gathering in Brussels. “Europe has fewer ransom attacks than other regions, but we must invest in cybersecurity. We need to double our investments, as a minimum,” Viola expressed.

In December, the commission committed €214m for 2024 for cybersecurity, to enhance the Union’s collective resilience against cyber threats. The movements funded by this work programme will be executed by the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, based in Bucharest. During the mandate of the Von der Leyen Commission, a spectrum of cybersecurity recommendations was put forward including an update of the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2) and a newly approved Cyber Resilience Act.

In addition, legislators and national governments this month on 5 March backed efforts aimed at enhancing collective responses against cyber threats by setting up an EU-wide infrastructure with cyber hubs across the bloc.

Speaking at the same event, managed by Forum Europe, Despina Spanou, the cabinet chief of EU Security Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, stated that under the next commission mandate, the focus must be on performance.

“There is still much to do in terms of new legislation, but we have a challenge with implementation. NIS 2 is already massive, and the Cyber Resilience Act is appealing as well,” she stated. The 27 EU member nations have until 17 October this year to transpose NIS2 into federal law. The rules aim to safeguard critical infrastructures, such as energy, transportation, banking, water and digital infrastructures.

Microsoft’s Director of European Cybersecurity Policy Florian Pennings, who also expressed at the conference, stated that the threats are growing. According to data collected by his business, 70% of organisations targeted by cyber-attacks have fewer than 500 employees. He added that AI-powered keys will help to make decisions faster.

The emphasis on cybersecurity investments in the upcoming European Commission mandate underscores the critical need for the EU to bolster its defences against cyber threats. Roberto Viola’s call to double investments highlights the growing recognition of the importance of cybersecurity in safeguarding Europe’s digital infrastructure. 

The commitment of €214m for cybersecurity in 2024 demonstrates the EU’s determination to enhance its collective resilience against cyber attacks, with initiatives led by the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre. Legislative efforts, such as the Network and Information Security Directive update and the Cyber Resilience Act, signify the EU’s proactive approach to addressing cybersecurity challenges.

The focus on performance and implementation, as emphasized by Despina Spanou, reflects the need for effective enforcement of cybersecurity measures across EU member states. With the deadline for transposing NIS2 into national law approaching, the EU aims to protect critical infrastructures vital to its functioning. Florian Pennings’ insights into the evolving cyber threat landscape, particularly the targeting of smaller organizations, highlight the importance of innovative solutions such as AI-powered technologies in bolstering cybersecurity defences.

Overall, the EU’s commitment to strengthening cybersecurity measures underscores its dedication to safeguarding its digital infrastructure and ensuring the resilience of its member states against evolving cyber threats.

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Simona Mazzeo is a journalist at Brussels Morning News. She is covering European Parliament, European Council, European Commission & Italy News. She is a law graduate and lawyer residing in Agropoli, has carved out a multifaceted career dedicated to justice and social advocacy. She actively serves as a delegated councilor for the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Bar Association of Vallo della Lucania, championing fair and equal representation within the legal system. Recognized for her expertise and empathy, Simona is qualified for registration in the list of Special Curators of minors in civil and criminal matters at the Court of Vallo della Lucania, ensuring the rights and interests of vulnerable children are protected throughout legal proceedings. Beyond her legal practice, Simona demonstrates a strong commitment to social causes. She is a founding member of the Free Lawyer Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it. Additionally, she leverages her knowledge and passion for social justice as a non-professional journalist, contributing insightful and informative pieces on relevant legal and societal issues. Through her diverse endeavors, Simona Mazzeo exemplifies dedication to legal excellence, social responsibility, and a fervent belief in equal access to justice for all.