On June 7, 2017, the European Commission published a paper signalling the EU’s intention to increase its role in directing cybersecurity policy and responses across its member states. The increasing threat posed by cyber attacks is highlighted in the EU Commission’s Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence, which builds its case for closer union in respect of defense efforts.
In the paper, the EU Commission cites how increasingly accessible technology has enabled the rapid rise of security threats, including cyber threats. It sets out three standards of cooperation:
- Security and Defense Cooperation, under which the 27 post-Brexit EU Member States would simply cooperate on security and defense more frequently than in the past;
- Shared Security and Defense, under which the 27 EU Member States would begin closer financial and operational integration with respect to security and defense measures; and
- Common Defense and Security, under which solidarity and mutual assistance between EU Member States would become the default position on security and defense issues, and involving a common EU defense policy.
In common with the tone of the paper, the EU Commission suggests that common defense and security arrangements would allow the EU to coordinate responses to cyber attacks and facilitate greater information sharing, technological cooperation and joint doctrines on cyber threats.
The EU Commission also published a Communication that highlights the importance of launching a European Defense Fund without undue delay. The fund, aimed at countering the lack of defense cooperation between EU Member States, was backed by the Council of the European Union in 2016 and will include funding for cybersecurity projects.