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Building a stronger and more secure digital Europe

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
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Building a stronger and more secure digital Europe

The EU Cybersecurity Strategy is a vision for tackling online challenges. It promotes European core values and seeks safe growth of the digital economy, backed by the proposed NIS Directive (Network and Information Security Directive).

ACT

Joint Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An open, safe and secure Cyberspace [JOIN(2013)01 final of 7.2.2013].

SUMMARY

The Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union - An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace - acknowledges the numerous benefits of cyberspace for the daily lives of citizens, businesses and governments. It highlights the importance of ensuring that cyberspace remains free and open, to promote online the EU's cherished values of fundamental rights, democracy and human rights.

The strategy represents the EU's global vision of how best to respond to cyber disruptions and attacks, which have increased in number and severity over recent years and dented people's trust and confidence in the online world. The 2012 Eurobarometer poll on cyber-security found that 12% of Europeans have already experienced online fraud and 90% avoid disclosing personal information online.

The Strategy's five main priorities for cybersecurity:

  • Achieving cyber resilience;
  • Drastically reducing cybercrime;
  • Developing an EU Cyber Defence Policy and capabilities related to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP);
  • Fostering the industrial and technological resources for cybersecurity;
  • Establishing a coherent international cyberspace policy for the European Union and promoting core EU values.

These priorities rely on close cooperation between all partners in the public and private sectors, in order to build know-how as well as strong and secure networks and systems. Emphasis is also laid on raising awareness of cyber-security, using the best available technology to fight cybercrime and harnessing proven European expertise in the field.

The strategy recommends using existing international laws in cyberspace. It also notes the importance of helping non-EU countries to build their cybersecurity capacities and of promoting international cooperation on cyber issues.

Good progress is being made in better protecting EU citizens from online crimes. Examples include establishing a European Cybercrime Centre, proposing legislation on attacks against information systems and the launch of a Global Alliance to fight child sexual abuse online. The strategy also aims at developing and funding a network of national Cybercrime Centres of Excellence.

A key part of the strategy is the proposed Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. Bringing together all key Internet players and critical structure operators, it would help Member States to adopt an NIS strategy and designate a national competent NIS authority. It would also create a cooperation mechanism among Member States and the European Commission, whilst encouraging critical infrastructure operators to adopt risk management practices and report major security incidents.

Last updated: 14.02.2014

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