EU expands joint framework on countering hybrid threats

EU expands joint framework on countering hybrid threats
European Commissioners Federica Mogherini and Dimitris Avramopoulos, who announced the new measures © Dimitris Avramopoulos

The European Commission has reported on the implementation of the joint framework on countering hybrid threats, and proposed new measures against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attacks.

The commission has reported on the implementation of 22 measures of the joint framework on countering hybrid threats, which range from efforts to improve the exchange of information to protect critical infrastructure, reinforcements to cybersecurity and building the resilience of societies to radicalisation and extremism.

Expansions to Europe’s responses to CBRN and hybrid threats were prepared following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK, in March. In addition, new measures will address growing concerns, such as vulnerability to misinformation and cyber attack during election periods, by strengthening Europe’s ability to deliver a collective response.

What expansions have been announced?

The new measures will increase Europe’s security capabilities in a number of areas, particularly by ensuring systematic interaction and coherence between existing security structures, at different levels across member states. A significant priority area is cybersecurity, and the new measures propose the creation of a blueprint for co-operation between member states and EU agencies, to streamline responses to an attack.

In addition, the commission has proposed the creation of a stronger, more modern European Union Cybersecurity Agency, and the preparation of new rules governing the collection of electronic evidence. To ensure the strongest possible response, a dedicated training and education platform is also being established.

What impact will the new measures have?

The EU is facing threats which are constantly evolving thanks to the possibilities of technology and the expansion of connectivity. For this reason, an expansion of the EU’s security capabilities may be the only way to respond effectively, according to European Commission High Representative Federica Mogherini.

She explained: “In times of new challenges around the world, we are reinforcing our work within the European Union to counter hybrid threats – be it in the field of cyber, on disinformation or counter intelligence. Together with our member states and partners, such as NATO, we are working to strengthen our capabilities to address these challenges and build up our resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks, to effectively protect our citizens.”

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