MEPs this week approved a package of improvements to the EU’s cyber-security operations including measures agreed during detailed negotiations in Brussels led by the Parliament’s rapporteur South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester
In painstaking talks with representatives of the EU Council and Commission, that lasted more than two years and broke down last December
, Mr Chichester hammered out a wholesale revision of the mandate for the European Network and Information Security Agency
(ENISA), which has been in operation since 2005 with a budget of €8 million a year, but has attracted criticised for its modest scope and effectiveness.
Mr Chichester says the package of measures, adopted with 626 votes in favour out of the 687 votes given in total
, will ultimately make the European Union’s governments, businesses, security agencies and citizens safer from the growing menace of cyber attack.
“We ignore or downplay the threat of cyber crime at our peril. It is a real and present danger and we have to be sure that we constantly update and renew our network to combat it,
” he said in a statement
. “We cannot allow national or regional rivalry stop us making sure these defences are up to the job and up to the minute.
“It is a prime area where the pooled resources of nations working together will achieve far more than individual states working in a vacuum. By redefining the objectives and tasks of the agency we have made it more effective, more efficient and more accountable to Parliament
ENISA will now base a large proportion of its operational work in Athens and will expand its role in liaising with security organisations in member states and in collecting and disseminating security data. The location of its headquarters on the Greek island of Crete had drawn the agency criticism as flights from other parts of Europe are scarce outside summer months thus making access difficult and created a perception that it operated on the EU’s periphery.
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