Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) A call for sharing of cybersecurity know-how and assistance in the defense of critical infrastructure between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, as well as expanding the Military Erasmus programs for students and officials from our Eastern neighborhood. A new security report of the European Parliament addresses some key issues.
The freshly approved report on “Security in the Eastern Partnership area and the role of the common security and defense policy” that I have been working on as a shadow rapporteur is quite an important document for several reasons. One of them is obviously the current war of aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, however, the situation is tense for many of our partner countries within the region.
It has been a long and hard work and I would be lying if I said I am completely thrilled about the report. But that is politics – and especially the current state of play calls for the art of compromise in the name of immediate effects. And after all, the most important thing is that several key issues are being addressed by the report:
Among other things, I have succeeded in promoting the call for sharing of the cybersecurity know-how and assistance in the defense of critical infrastructure between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries. We have also made the grade in proposing that the European Commission expands the Military Erasmus programs for students and officials from Eastern Partnership countries who will be able to study at military academies in the EU. My mission to Taiwan last year made it clear to me that at least in the area of hybrid threats we can learn a lot from countries that suffer from systematic hybrid attacks from their immediate neighbors. So, the benefit would be mutual.
I consider it a success that the report also makes an explicit mention of the need to prevent the EU funds from being used in financing illegal surveillance technologies. In this particular case, the report calls on the EU to negotiate with the government of Azerbaijan to end their use of these tools against the opposition, civil society, or journalists.
I have not been able to enforce a more general definition of hybrid threats – as any too specific definition narrows the maneuvering space and many of the real threats could fall through the net. We have a lot of work ahead of us in this regard.
Besides that, in today’s emergency, it is crucial that a report has been adopted that will contribute to the ongoing debate on ways to increase security throughout the region. Despite its birth pains, the report can be deemed a success, of which I am proud. We show that even if we have a disagreement in this house, we can come to a conclusion that is principled and helpful. While we are all waiting on the Commission’s and Council’s decision on a Membership perspective, the Parliament is offering a security one.