EU Policy. Cybersecurity investment need to be doubled in next mandate, EU official says

Roberto Viola is Director General of the European Commission's Digital Unit.
Roberto Viola is Director General of the European Commission's Digital Unit. Copyright Dati Bendo/ EU/Dati Bendo
By Cynthia Kroet
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The commission earmarked €214m for cybersecurity for 2024.

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Cybersecurity investments will have to be doubled under the next European Commission mandate in order to ensure the bloc’s resilience to counter attacks, a senior EU official said today (19 March).

The importance of developing the cyber security narrative after the June EU election when the new executive takes office was flagged by Roberto Viola, director-general of the commission’s digital unit, at a conference in Brussels. “Europe has less ransom attacks than other regions, but we need to invest in cybersecurity. We need to double our investments, as a minimum,” Viola said.

In December, the commission earmarked €214m for 2024 for cybersecurity, to improve the Union's collective resilience against cyber threats. The actions funded by this work programme will be implemented by the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, based in Bucharest.

During the mandate of the Von der Leyen commission, a range of cybersecurity proposals were put forward including an update of the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2), and a recently approved Cyber Resilience Act.

In addition, lawmakers and national governments this month (5 March) backed measures aimed at improving collective responses against cyber-threats by setting up an EU-wide infrastructure with cyber hubs across the bloc.

Threats

Speaking at the same event, organised by Forum Europe, Despina Spanou, the chief of cabinet of EU Security Commissioner Margaritis Schinas, said that under the next commission mandate the focus needs to be on implementation.

“There is still much to do in terms of new legislation, but we have a challenge with implementation. NIS 2 is already immense, and the Cyber Resilience Act is demanding as well,” she said.

The 27 EU member states have until 17 October this year to transpose NIS2 into national law. The rules aim to protect critical infrastructures, such as energy, transport, banking, water and digital infrastructures.

Microsoft’s Director European Cybersecurity Policy Florian Pennings, who also spoke at the conference, said that the threats are rising. According to data collected by his company, 70% of organisations that are targeted by cyber attacks have fewer than 500 employees. He added that AI powered solutions will help to make decisions faster.

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