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2019/12/23Towards European digital sovereignty (by DG Connect, European Commission)

“(…) cyber security and digitalisation are two sides of the same coin. This is why cyber security is a top priority. For the competitiveness of European companies we have to have stringent security requirements and a unified European approach (…)” Ursula Von der Leyen, European Commission President, November 2019

Future prosperity, sustainability and democracy in EU will largely depend on the way key digital technologies, such as IoT, AI, cloud and 5G are deployed. We need to ensure that digital transformation of our society and industries develop successfully and build a thriving, trustworthy and human centric EU that is in line with the aspiration of each citizen.

This is why the EU  is developing policy action that will guarantee our digital sovereignty and also bring the benefits of technology to all areas of public interest from health to mobility, education and security. In order to achieve this ambition, one   pre-condition is that policy-makers, citizens and businesses alike must cooperate to guarantee a very high level of cybersecurity.

The EU has been busy: In 2016, it adopted a legal framework to support EU Member State’s cybersecurity preparedness. Member States now can depend on robust mechanisms that will promote swift and effective operational cybersecurity cooperation across EU.

Four European legislative measures were adopted to foster cooperation between member states, critical infrastructure, businesses and citizens in order to increase the level of cybersecurity and create a resilient cybersecure culture across EU. They are the NIS Directive, the EU Cybersecurity Act, the European Blueprint for coordinated response to large-scale cybersecurity incidents and the recommendation on cybersecurity of 5G networks.

Furthermore, these measures will strengthen our cybersecurity protection against attacks by malicious actors and support ongoing the work to enhance European capabilities to mitigate emerging cybersecurity risks.

From 2021 onwards, the Commission has proposed, through the future Horizon Europe and the future Digital Europe Programme, close to 3 billion Euros will be invested in further research, infrastructure and deployment of these new cyber technologies in the Member States by investing, for example, in large-scale testing pilots.

Member states and the Commission will cooperate and invest together through a new body, the future Cyber Competence and Capacity Network (CCCN) to develop European innovative cybersecurity technologies that will ensure that Europe is better protected and by building EU’s cybersecurity industry and by supporting the development of necessary skills and knowledge.

We are only as strong as our weakest link. We need to pursue the work and promote cyber innovation and advanced cybersecurity capabilities to support EU’s technological excellence, competitiveness and digital autonomy at the benefit of all the citizens and businesses in an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace.