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Big step forward in fight against cyber crime

16 April 2013

Big step forward in fight against cyber crime

The European Parliament today approved the Conservative-led introduction of a package of improvements to the EU’s cyber-security operations.

The European Parliament today approved the Conservative-led introduction of a package of improvements to the EU’s cyber-security operations.

The measures had been agreed during detailed negotiations in Brussels led by the parliament’s lead member on the dossier Giles Chichester, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar.

Voted in by a heavy majority of MEPs today, the package will ultimately make the European Union’s governments, businesses, security agencies and citizens safer from the growing menace of cyber attack.

In painstaking talks with representatives of the EU Council and Commission, Mr Chichester hammered out a wholesale revision of the mandate for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). The agency has been in operation since 2005 with a budget of €8 million a year, but has been criticised for its modest scope and effectiveness.

Observers have also asserted that the location of its headquarters on the Greek holiday island of Crete, where flights from other parts of Europe are scarce outside summer months, made access difficult and created a perception that it operated on the EU’s periphery.

Now ENISA will 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 protracted negotiations involved five successive presidencies of the EU Council, until the Irish were eventually able to clinch the effective compromise.

Mr Chichester, Conservative industry spokesman in the parliament, said: “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.

“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”

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