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Cyber security tops agenda for Slovenian EU presidency

Europe’s risk management community will be pleased to hear that cyber security and building greater resilience within the EU economy is a top priority for the Slovenian presidency during the second half of this year.

Slovenian minister of public administration Boštjan Koritnik told delegates at the Ferma Talks virtual event this week that enhancing Europe’s cyber security is a leading issue.

He assured delegates that various legislative initiatives such as the NIS II Directive, designed to enhance protection of critical infrastructure, are moving forwards.

The Slovenian presidency will also push the EU’s new Joint Cyber Unit, which was announced in June, forward. This aims to bring together resources and expertise available to the EU and its member states to effectively prevent, deter and respond to mass cyber incidents and crises.

The Joint Cyber Unit will provide a virtual and physical platform of cooperation. Relevant EU institutions, bodies, agencies and member states will progressively build a European platform for solidarity and assistance to counter large-scale cyberattacks.

Koritnik said that the bigger picture goal to accelerate the development of Europe’s digital and green economy must be carried out with a sharp eye on autonomy and independence from “external parties” and cyber security.

This requires firm legislative support for cyber security from the EU such as NIS II. “These legislative actions are matters of priority,” he said.

The EU’s Cybersecurity strategy was updated in December of 2020. NIS II and other legislative actions under the Slovenian presidency form part of this.

The strategy is designed to bolster Europe’s collective resilience against cyber threats and help ensure that all citizens and businesses can benefit from trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools.

Apart from enhancing the protection of critical infrastructure, the cybersecurity strategy is designed to give the EU leadership on international norms and standards in cyberspace.

The EU states that it wants to “strengthen cooperation with partners around the world to promote a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace, grounded in the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values”.

Koritnik assured Ferma delegates that this is exactly what is happening. “The Slovenian presidency has set cyber security and resilience as key goals…we are building resilience in Europe. The challenges that we are facing today are much more complex, interconnected and interdependent. We need to protect critical infrastructure and achieve resilience in terms of supply chain…we are funding investment in AI and quantum computing in Europe,” he said.

Koritnik added that this must be done to avoid being reliant upon “external actors” outside of Europe. “The debate surrounding [European] autonomy is huge. We need to reduce our dependence on external actors,” he said.

To help make this happen, public and private institutions in Europe must work together on cyber security, said Koritnik. This involves using risk management expertise from within the private sector, he said. “Cooperation is vital, we are stronger if we work together,” said the minister.

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