Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Brussels, 23 May 2023

With cyberspace as a field for strategic competition, risks for EU security and defence increase at a time of growing geopolitical tensions and dependence on digital technologies.

Against this background the Council approved today conclusions on cyber defence stressing the need for the EU andits member states to further strengthen their resilience to face cyber threats and increase its common cyber security and cyber defence against malicious behaviour and acts of aggression in cyberspace.

Today’s conclusions welcome the Joint Communication of the European Commission and the High Representative on the EU Policy on Cyber Defence of November 2022, and emphasise the importance to substantially invest, both individually and collaboratively, in enhanced resilience and the deployment of full-spectrum defensive cyber defence capabilities. EU cooperation frameworks and financial incentives can be of key importance in this perspective.

In line with the Strategic Compass, the conclusions invite member states and other relevant actors to act together for a stronger cyber defence, by strengthening cooperation and coordination within and of the EU, between military and civilian cyber communities and between public and a trusted private ecosystem. The Council welcomes the proposal for an EU Cyber Defence Coordination Centre to enhance coordination and situational awareness of in particular commanders of EU missions and operations and strengthening of the wider EU command and control architecture.

The Council encourages member states to secure the EU defence ecosystem by further developing their own capabilities to conduct cyber defence operations, including when appropriate proactive defensive measures to protect, detect, defend and deter against cyberattacks. The EU and its member states should reduce their strategic dependencies across their capabilities and supply-chains, as well as develop and master cutting-edge cyber defence technologies. This includes strengthening the European defence technological and industrial base.

Furthermore the Council urges member states to invest in interoperable cyber defence capabilities, including through the development of a set of voluntary commitments for the further development of national cyber defence capabilities, and making the best use of collaborative research opportunities at EU level. The Council also recognises the direct benefit of collaborative projects at EU level to support the development of national cyber defence capabilities. Moreover, the Council invites member states to address the significant cybersecurity skills gap, leveraging the synergies between military, civilian and law enforcement initiatives.

Lastly, the Council underlines the key importance of partnering to address common challenges. It calls on the High Representative and the Commission to explore mutually beneficial and tailored partnerships on cyber defence policies, including on cyber defence capacity building through the European Peace Facility (EPF). To this end, cyber defence should be added as an item to the EU’s dialogues and consultations on cyber and to the overall security and defence consultations with partners.

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Source – EU Council

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