EU commission signs off €1.8bn for cyber security – sticks two fingers up at UK

Written as editor of the New Statesman’s NS Tech and first published here.

The EU commission has unveiled a €1.8 billion public-private investment into cyber security research and innovation – just as the UK has begun untangling itself from its European neighbours.

“Europe needs high quality, affordable and interoperable cyber security products and services,” said Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

“We call on member states and all cyber security bodies to strengthen cooperation and pool their knowledge, information and expertise to increase Europe’s cyber resilience.”

Although the initiative has been in the works since 2013 and €450 million of funding will come directly from the existing Horizon 2020 innovation programme, it’s looking unlikely that the UK will be able to participate directly.

The cyber security industry has committed the remaining amount, via the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO).

The investment will seek to create common cyber security standards across key industries, including energy, health, transport and finance, as well as a new certification framework for selling solutions across the EU.

VP for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said that “without trust and security, there can be no Digital Single Market”.

But without our EU membership, there isn’t great hope of full access to this trusted and secure network.

The European Parliament is also expected to sign the related Network and Information Security Directive, which is designed to create a network of Computer Security Incident Response Teams across the EU.

“It’s good to see the EU increasing funding and making cyber security a top priority and sad that, due to Brexit, UK universities and businesses will miss out on this investment,” said Kevin Bocek, chief security strategist at cyber security software firm Venafi.

He urges the EU to looking beyond “‘securing identities online”, which he believes is now outdated.

A DCMS spokesperson told NS Tech: “Government has made the cyber security agenda a top priority, allocating £1.9 billion towards it to help ensure that the UK is well placed to meet the challenges it presents.

“We will continue to work closely with our EU and other international partners on the cyber security agenda.”

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