EU institutions have reached a provisional agreement on Wednesday, March 6, regarding the creation of an emergency force for fighting cyberattacks. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)


EU agrees creation of emergency force to counter cyber-attack threats


European Union institutions have reached a provisional agreement regarding the creation of an emergency force for fighting cyber attacks.

The European Council and European Parliament say the new “Cybersecurity Reserve” – agreed on March 6 and that will consist of private-sector companies – will be available should a Member State find itself the subject of a cyber-attack it cannot handle itself.

This reserve will also be at the beck-and-call of the EU’s own institutions, should they be hacked, as well as certain third-party countries “in case of a significant or large-scale cyber-security incident”.

Negotiating MEP Angelika Niebler said: “The Cybersecurity Reserve will consist of incident response services from trusted private providers of managed security services that can be called upon to support Member States … in the event of significant and large-scale cyber-security incidents that they cannot handle themselves.”

The creation of the cyber-security reserve comes as part of a wider inter-institutional deal aimed at curbing the perceived dangers to the EU posed by hackers.

As part of the deal, additional measures will be put in place to serve as an early warning system for possible cyber-attacks.

That will consist of a “cyber-security alert system” made up of “cyber hubs” across the EU, the job of which will be “detecting and acting on cyber threats”.

“The new Cybersecurity Alert System creates incentives for Member States to exchange information on cyber threats and cyber attacks, thereby strengthening our joint resilience,” Niebler said.

The deal will also increase the level of regulation for companies operating within the cyber-security sphere, with the bloc set to create EU-wide “European certification schemes” for such firms.

Additional “mutual assistance” systems will also be created to help countries and entities financially should they fall victim to cyber attacks.

Politicians in the European Parliament and European Council now must formally endorse the deal before it can be made law.