Public-private partnership on cybersecurity launched by the EU

The public-private partnership on cybersecurity will receive €450 million by the EU and it is expected to receive three times more by  Cybersecurity market players.

A new public-private partnership on cybersecurity, expected to trigger €1.8 billion of investment by 2020, has been launched today by The Commission as part of a series of new initiatives to better provide Europe with tools to fight against cyber-attacks, as well as to fortify its cybersecurity sector competitiveness.

At least 80% of European companies have experienced one or more cybersecurity incidents over the last year, a recent survey reports, while the number of security incidents across all industries worldwide rose by 38% in 2015. Whether they are big or small, European companies are damaged by these threats, which undermine trust in the digital economy.

Without trust and security, there can be no Digital Single Market. Europe has to be ready to tackle cyber-threats that are increasingly sophisticated and do not recognise borders,” said Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, “Today, we are proposing concrete measures to strengthen Europe’s resilience against such attacks and secure the capacity needed for building and expanding our digital economy.

As part of its Digital Single Market strategy, the Commission aims at reinforcing cross-border cooperation, as well as collaboration between all actors and sectors active in cybersecurity. Furthermore, it wishes to facilitate the development of innovative and secure technologies, products and services across the EU.

What does the plan concretely consist ?

Concretely, today’s action plan consists of the first European public private partnership on cybersecurity, which will receive €450 million by the EU under its research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. Meanwhile, the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO), representing Cybersecurity market players, is supposed to invest three times more.

Members from national, regional and local public administrations, as well as research centres and academia will also take part in the partnership, whose objective is to promote cooperation at early stages of the research and innovation process and to propose cybersecurity solutions for various sectors, such as finance, energy, transport and health.

Furthermore, different measures to deal with the fragmentation of the EU cybersecurity market were set up by The Commission. At present, various certification processes might be needed to an ICT company in order to sell its products and services in Member States. The Commission will then explore the possibility of a European certification framework for ICT security products.

Easier access to financing for SMEs innovation and other measures

Although a multitude of innovative European SMEs have appeared in niche markets, such as cryptography, as well as in well-established markets with new business models (e.g. antivirus software), frequently they are not able to upgrade their operations. For this reason the Commission wishes to facilitate access to finance for those smaller businesses that are working in the field of cybersecurity and will look into different options under the EU investment plan.

In order to rapidly react to cyber threats and incidents, the Network and Information Security Directive also creates a network of Computer Security Incident Response Teams across the EU, as well as a ‘Cooperation Group’ between Member States, aimed to support and facilitate strategic cooperation and the exchange of information, to develop trust and confidence.

While proposing how to enhance cross-border cooperation in case of a major cyber-incident, the Commission calls “on Member States and all cybersecurity bodies to strengthen cooperation and pool their knowledge, information and expertise to increase Europe’s cyber resilience. The milestone partnership on cybersecurity signed today with the industry is a major step,” as said by Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

For more information on EU digital security, read here NEU’s selection of articles.

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