Four European Union agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a cooperation framework for cyber security and defence.
The EU agencies for cyber security (Enisa), defence, policing (Europol) and the computer emergency response team for EU institutions, agencies and bodies (Cert-EU) have signed the MoU.
The agreement is aimed at reducing duplicate efforts and ensuring the best possible use of resources by the four organisations, focusing on five areas of cooperation – exchange of information, education and training, cyber exercises, technical cooperation and strategic and administrative matters.
The agreement also allows for cooperation in other areas identified as mutually important by the four organisations.
Federica Mogherini, head of the European Defence Agency, said: “Cyber space 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 MoU 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.”
Andrus Ansip, vice-president for the digital single market, 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.”
Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, 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.”
Julian King, commissioner for the security union, said: “The cross-border nature of the cyber threat means that cooperation has never been more important. This improved collaboration between Enisa, EDA, Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) and Cert-EU will help us to strengthen our cyber resilience, build effective deterrence and help deliver credible cyber defence and international cooperation.”
Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for digital economy and society, 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 cyber security risks.”
Udo Helmbrecht, executive director of Enisa, said the agency welcomes the opportunity to work closely with partner organisations, adding: “Cyber security is a shared responsibility, and it is only by cooperating closely with all relevant stakeholders that the EU has a chance to address cyber security challenges.”
Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the EDA, said the agency supports member states in the development of their defence capabilities. “As such, we also act as the military interface to EU policies,” he said. “Today’s MoU is an important step towards increased civil-military cooperation and synergies in the area of cyber security and cyber defence.”
Steven Wilson, head of EC3, said the MoU illustrates how a safe and open cyber space 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,” he said. “EC3 welcomes the opportunity to enter a new era of working together with our MoU partners and we are delighted to share our expertise and experience.”
Ken Ducatel, acting head of Cert-EU, said 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,” he said. “That is why acting together with our peers and partners in the other signatories to this MoU is so important.”