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A Coordinated Response to Cyber Threats

In view of the recent publication of the Cyber Security Strategy for the European Union, the Irish Presidency, in association with the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the European Defence Agency, organised a high-level EU Cyber Security conference in Brussels on 20 June.

The conference aimed to advance the debate on European Union Member States’ preparedness to face cyber threats at national level and across the EU as a whole. The growth of cyber attacks on critical private, government and defence networks requires a coordinated response at the EU level and across Member States. To successfully counter this emerging cyber threat, cooperation between national security, defence, law enforcement and technical incident response organisations within and between Member States needs to be encouraged to identify and exploit synergies. The conference brought together key policy-makers across the EU cyber community to highlight preventative measures, the need for cooperation and crisis response procedures to the mounting cyber security challenge.

After keynote speeches delivered by Mr Alan Shatter, Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence and Mr Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonia’s Minister for Education and Research, the first panel concentrated on a strategic view as to how the EU can protect itself against cyber threats. Mr Maciej Popowski (EEAS), Amb Gabor Iklody (NATO), Mme Claude-France Arnould (EDA) and Amb Jean-François Blarel (French Ministry of Foreign Affairs) discussed how to develop increased information sharing, early warning, and crisis response as well as closer cooperation between EU and NATO. While the second panel looked at crisis response systems, the third panel discussed cyber resilience in the EU with a view to public and private cooperation. Looking ahead to the European Council in December including defence topics, the final session of the conference dealt with requirements and capability development in cyber security and cyber defence. Topics discussed were cyber defence requirements for CSDP operations, synergies between civil R&D and military R&T as well as cyber security/defence “Dual-Use” capabilities.

In the picture: Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency

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