Telecommunications

Member States united to support Ukraine and strengthen the EU’s resilience in telecommunications and cybersecurity

The informal meeting of European ministers in charge of telecommunications and digital was held in Paris and Nevers on 8 and 9 March.

On the occasion of this meeting, the ministers reaffirmed:

European Union solidarity with Ukraine

As part of the ongoing talks started with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov on March 3, 2022, ministers discussed IT and telecommunications assistance to be provided to Ukraine. The main objective is to enable government authorities to continue their work, in particular through the provision of computer equipment necessary for the normal and continuous functioning of the Ukrainian government, and to keep the country’s telecommunications services operational. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union will coordinate efforts between Member States.

Ministers called on private sector companies in a position to provide such equipment to do so and to coordinate closely with their governments.

In line with statements made on 4 March 2022 by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, ministers also committed to be ready, should further measures be considered.

Efforts to step up the fight against disinformation

The fight against disinformation, which is already one of the objectives of the Digital Services Bill, is a particularly pressing issue in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. Online platforms, especially social media companies, have a decisive role to play in this area.

In a political declaration adopted unanimously, the 27 ministers called on technology companies to take additional voluntary measures to combat disinformation and the manipulation of information online (see link to the declaration).

The importance of increasing the resilience of European telecommunications networks and cybersecurity

Ministers noted that the telecommunications sector is one of the most advanced in terms of preparedness for cyber threats, but still asked the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Agency European Union for Cybersecurity (ENISA) to identify the range of risks threatening European networks and communication infrastructures and to make recommendations on how to strengthen their resilience.

The recent increase in cyber threat levels, aggravated by the situation in Ukraine and the risk of cyber incidents within the EU, led ministers to call for strengthening and accelerating the pace of European cooperation in the field of cybersecurity .

Discussions among participants reaffirmed the need to rapidly adopt and implement the revised Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2), in order to guarantee a high common level of security for networks and essential information systems.

Ministers also asked member states’ cybersecurity authorities to strengthen their cooperation at operational level and called on the European Commission to strengthen the Cyber ​​Resilience Act announced by President von der Leyen. In addition, they approved the creation of a cybersecurity emergency response fund.

The 27 ministers adopted a bold political declaration aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity capabilities of the EU with details on each of these initiatives (see link to the declaration).

The crisis we are all going through together means we need to act faster to deliver on our cybersecurity agenda and increase the overall resilience of our systems and networks. It is fundamental to our sovereignty, our security and our strategic autonomy. The remarkable contributions from Member States, the Commission and a range of institutional actors at our meeting in Nevers show our determination to improve cybersecurity at EU level. Our discussions helped us chart the way to further strengthen the EU’s resilience in the medium term. Today’s commitments also demonstrate the Union’s ability to react quickly to a crisis and the solidarity of EU partners towards Ukraine, including in the areas of digital and telecommunications.”

— Cédric O, Secretary of State for Digital and Electronic Communications

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Last revised March 10, 2022