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Four EU cybersecurity organisations enhance cooperation

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, Agencies and Bodies (CERT-EU) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a cooperation framework between their organisations.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Udo Helmbrecht, ENISA's Executive Director, Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the EDA, Steven Wilson, Head of EC3 and Ken Ducatel, CERT-EU's Acting Head.

The MoU aims at leveraging synergies between the four organisations, promoting cooperation on cyber security and cyber defence and is a testament to the trusted partnership that exists between these EU agencies.  More specifically, it focuses on five areas of cooperation, namely Exchange of information; Education & Training; Cyber exercises; Technical cooperation; and Strategic and administrative matters. It also allows for cooperation in other areas identified as mutually important by the four organisations.

This collaboration will ensure the best possible use of existing resources by avoiding duplicative efforts and building on the complementarity of ENISA, EDA, EUROPOL and CERT-EU. This framework brings added value to the expertise, support and services that these parties provide to the European Union organisations, Member States and all stakeholders concerned.

High Representative/Vice-President and Head of the European Defence Agency, Federica Mogherini said: “Cyberspace threats do not know of national borders. Cooperation among Member States but also at European level is therefore essential. Europe is stronger when it tackles threats together, in a common and coordinated approach. And this is exactly where this Memorandum of Understanding is key and where the added value of the European Union lies: working together, joining forces, putting the experiences and the knowledge of all at the service of our citizens' security. ”

Vice-President for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “We can face cyber threats successfully if we have in place a functioning exchange of information, we have strong technical capabilities and we work on basic cyber hygiene. Better cooperation between these EU agencies will lead to this result. ”

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The threats against both our physical and virtual worlds are becoming increasingly connected. This is why increasing cyber security is one of the priorities of the European Union. But we can only do this effectively through stronger cooperation and joint actions, where our operational agencies, like Europol, can play a critical role with the expertise they bring to the table in support of our Member States. ”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “The cross-border nature of the cyber threat means that cooperation has never been more important. This improved collaboration between ENISA, EDA, EC3 and CERT-EU will help us to strengthen our cyber resilience, build effective deterrence and help deliver credible cyber defence and international cooperation. ”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel said: “Trust and security are key components of the digital economy and society. The EU agencies should lead by example. Only by working closely together will we have a chance to mitigate the cybersecurity risks.”

Prof. Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA said: “ENISA welcomes the opportunity to work closely with our partner organisations. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and it is only by cooperating closely with all relevant stakeholders that the EU has a chance to address cybersecurity challenges.”

Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the EDA: “EDA supports Member States in the development of their defence capabilities. As such, we also act as the military interface to EU policies. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding is an important step towards increased civil-military cooperation and synergies in the area of cyber security and cyber defence.”

Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3): “This MoU illustrates how a safe and open cyberspace can only be achieved through enhanced cooperation and commitment. Through their participation, all parties involved demonstrate that they are willing to join forces and recognise that together we can provide the necessary response to cyber related threats. From EC3, we welcome the opportunity to enter a new era of working together with our MoU partners and are delighted to share our expertise and experience.”  

Ken Ducatel, Acting Head of CERT-EU, said: “The EU institutions, bodies and agencies rely on the specialised skills and tools in threat intelligence and incident response of CERT-EU. But, we don’t maintain these capacities by acting alone. That is why acting together with our peers and partners in the other signatories to this Memorandum is so important.”

The 2014 Cyber Defence Policy Framework called for the promotion of civil-military cooperation and synergies with wider EU cyber policies, relevant EU institutions and agencies as well as with the private sector. ENISA, EDA, EUROPOL and CERT-EU began initial discussions in 2016 which eventually led to this milestone signature. The principles behind this Memorandum of Understanding are fully in line with the implementation of the Joint Communication on Cyber issued by the High Representative and the European Commission in September 2017.