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    Why don’t EU fund stronger cyber security? – Europe’s telecoms ministers

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    Europe’s telecoms ministers plea for cohesive security

    The European Union’s (EU’) telecoms ministers are discussing the idea of a cybersecurity emergency response fund to be created by member states, according to a Euractiv report. A discussion document ahead of a planned meeting of telecoms ministers has set out a number of areas of concern about europe’s network security. The problems include a lack of cohesion in the security response among telcos, the lack of accountability for software providers, Europe’s dependence on US and Chinese undersea cable connections, the leakiness of the cloud and the need for a market for trusted security vendors.

    EU fund me

    The countries all agree they want funding to create a market for trusted cybersecurity service providers and intelligence on audits and incident reports. So far, the criteria for selecting these trusted suppliers have not been divulged. Meanwhile, the telco ministers from their respective European governments have drafted a declaration of intent to tighten the EU’s cybersecurity, by increasing the EU funding for support national efforts.

    Ukraine check

    A joint call was issued on March 9th for an informal meeting of telecoms ministers, organised by the French Presidency in Nevers. Events in Ukraine changed the agenda of this meeting, so that the conflict was the main talking point. Euractiv published this draft of the meeting: “The recent cyberattacks which targeted Ukraine in a context of rising geopolitical tensions have shown how important the cyber dimension is in today’s conflicts. While recognising the importance for the EU to strongly support Ukraine’s cyber resilience, the possible spill-over effect of such cyber-attacks to European networks also highlights the need for the EU to move forward with an ambitious and comprehensive plan for its cybersecurity.”

    To do list

    The EU ministers undersigned a list of actions to face these upcoming challenges, including a call on the European Commission to establish a new Emergency Response Fund for Cybersecurity intended to prepare the EU to face large-scale cyberattacks. National governments are also calling for extra EU funding to help member states scale up their cybersecurity capacities.

    Trusted vendors

    However the creation of a market for ‘trusted cybersecurity service providers’ for cybersecurity audits and incident response, could raise questions. Could it be used for a form of market protectionism, rather than cyber security? The document urges European authorities such as the European Commission, the national telecom regulators, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the Network & Information Security (NIS) Cooperation Group to come up with a series of recommendations on reinforcing the resilience of Europe’s digital infrastructure.

    From the Cable to the Cloud 

    Europe’s telecom infrastructure was the subject criticism by the French representatives because of its dependency on submarine cables owned by American and Chinese companies. “The resilience of European networks relies on the diversification of backbone infrastructure, including the recently launched initiative for secure satellite communications,” the French contingent said.