Insights European Parliament publishes draft report calling for common cyber defence policy across Member States

In the draft report, MEPs call for a comprehensive set of measures and a coherent IT policy, as well as improved military cyber defence coordination, to strengthen EU cyber resilience. A common cyber defence policy and substantial EU cooperation on cyber capabilities are among the key issues needed for the development of a deepened and enhanced European Defence Union, MEPs stress.

In her 2021 State of the Union speech, the Commission President underlined the need for an EU cyber defence policy. MEPs agree, saying that it is essential to overcome the current fragmentation and complexity of the EU’s overarching cyber architecture and to develop a common vision for achieving online security and stability.

The draft report recommends the creation of a Joint Cyber Unit to improve the lack of information sharing among EU institutions, bodies and agencies and to foster a secure and rapid information network.

Pointing to the often “dual-use” (civil and military) nature of cyber capabilities, MEPs welcome the Commission’s action plan on synergies between civil, defence and space industries. Unlike other military domains, cyberspace infrastructure is mainly owned by private companies based largely outside the EU’s jurisdiction. This leads to EU countries becoming industrially and technologically dependent on third parties. MEPs therefore warn that the EU must become more technologically independent, innovating and investing more in cyber defence capabilities and personnel.

The report also calls for joint and coordinated responses to cyberattacks, which also need to include NATO, so that sanctions can be imposed against those threatening Euro-Atlantic security interests. MEPs also express concern about the systemic aggressive behaviour demonstrated particularly by China, Russia and North Korea in cyberspace, including numerous cyberattacks against government institutions and private companies. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.