France has been leading negotiations behind the scenes to establish a new emergency ‘superfund’ to reinforce the EU’s cybersecurity capacities.
A paper on the subject was circulated this week at an informal meeting of telecommunications ministers organised by the French Presidency in Nevers, put together specially to address the Ukrainian conflict.
The summit approved the creation of a cybersecurity emergency response fund, though no further details were forthcoming.
Following the meeting, a communiqué was released which noted that the Ministers accepted that the telecommunications sector is one of the most advanced in terms of cyber threat preparedness, but still called on the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) to identify the gamut of risks threatening European communications networks and infrastructure, and to formulate recommendations on how to strengthen their resilience.
The note added that “the recent increase in cyber threat levels, worsened by the situation in Ukraine and the risk of cyber incidents within the EU, have led the Ministers to call for bolstering and accelerating the pace of European cooperation in the area of cybersecurity”.
It said that discussions between participants helped to reassert the need to swiftly adopt and implement the revised Network and Information Security (NIS2) Directive, so as to guarantee a high common level of security of essential network and information systems.
Crucially, the ministers also requested that member states’ cybersecurity authorities step up their cooperation at operational level and called on the European Commission to firm up the Cyber Resilience Act recently announced by President von der Leyen, and approved the creation of a cybersecurity emergency response fund.
The statement added: “The crisis we are all experiencing together means that we must move faster to realise our cybersecurity agenda and increase the overall resilience of our systems and networks. It is foundational to our sovereignty, security and strategic autonomy.”
“The remarkable contributions of member states, the Commission and an array of institutional stakeholders during our meeting in Nevers shows our determination to improve cybersecurity at EU level. Our discussions helped us to chart a course for further strengthening the EU’s resilience in the medium term.”
“The commitments made… also demonstrate the Union’s ability to rapidly respond to a crisis and EU partners’ solidarity towards Ukraine, including in the digital and telecommunications realms.”