Representatives of Member States and the European Commission discussed the European protection of critical information infrastructures on 14-15 April 2011 in a high-profile conference in Balatonfüred.
During the meeting Zsolt Nyitrai, Minister of State for Info-communication of the Ministry of National Development pointed out the needs for upgrading the protection of European networks.
“Over the recent years attacks have become more and more sophisticated and dangerous; the bad guys are becoming more prepared,” Zsolt Nyitrai said, highlighting the challengesMember States must confront. In his opinion, by now the Internet has become essential for both the individuals and the European economy; so upgrading the protection of European networks is needed. The Minister of State explained that the initial objective is to first join forces within Europe and later, collaborating more widely by involving the United States.
European protection of information structures
The European Commission issued its action plan on the protection of critical information infrastructure back in 2009, in the framework of which EFMS (European Forum for Member States) was created. This forum supports the development of European principles and guidelines concerning the stability of the Internet. During the conference in Balatonfüred, Mr Nyitrai spoke about, the detailed review of a Commission communication titled, “Achievements and next steps: towards global cyber-security”, which lists the achieved accomplishments since 2009 and outlines further necessary steps to be taken.
Zsolt Nyitrai expressed his hopes in reaching a consensus concerning the issues raised in the conference in Balatonfüred bythe official meeting of Ministers for Telecommunication scheduled for 27 May. The Minister ofState especially highlighted: the Hungarian Presidency is ambitious to ensure that the meeting of the Council will reach an agreement on extending the mandate of European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) and manages to terminate the uncertainty around the organisation.
“Member States must increase their readiness and planning”, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes pointed out. She openly expressed her opinion on Member States having not yet done enough to establish digital safety, “A cyber-strategy in itself is not enough, we must start this work now”, Kroes underlined. The Commissioner mentioned that according to the guidelines of the Commission, Member States must undertake to establish the network of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT).
Under another proposal of the Commission, by 2012 a European emergency response plan, based on national commitments, must be worked out, and Member States must regularly conduct pan-European “cyber tests, in order to check for security readiness. After today’s meeting we will compile a list of the necessary steps,” Ms Kroes said, summing up the action points. She added, “Each Member State is committed to tackling cyber-security issues, and we must create an opportunity for the European states to enter the digital world.”