Tag Archives: Mariya Gabriel

Security of 5G networks: EU Member States complete national risk assessments

Following the Commission Recommendation for a common European approach to the security of 5G networks, 24 EU Member States have now completed the first step and submitted national risk assessments. These assessments will feed into the next phase, a EU-wide risk assessment which will be completed by 1 October. Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, and Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, welcomed this important step forward and said:

“We are pleased to see that most Member States have now submitted their risk assessments. Following the support expressed by the European Council on 22 March for a concerted approach, Member States responded promptly to our call for concrete measures to help ensure the cybersecurity of 5G networks across the EU. The national risk assessments are essential to make sure that Member States are adequately prepared for the deployment of the next generation of wireless connectivity that will soon form the backbone of our societies and economies.

We urge Member States to remain committed to the concerted approach and to use this important step to gain momentum for a swift and secure rollout of 5G networks. Close EU-wide cooperation is essential both for achieving strong cybersecurity and for reaping the full benefits, which 5G will have to offer for people and businesses.

The completion of the risk assessments underlines the commitment of Member States not only to set high standards for security but also to make full use of this groundbreaking technology. We hope that the outcomes will be taken into account in the process of 5G spectrum auctions and network deployment, which is taking place across the EU now and in the coming months. Several Member States have already taken steps to reinforce applicable security requirements while others are considering introducing new measures in the near future.

We need all key players, big and small, to accelerate their efforts and join us in building a common framework aimed at ensuring consistently high levels of security. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with Member States as we begin the work on an EU-wide risk assessment, due to be complete by 1 October, that will help to develop a European approach to protecting the integrity of 5G.”

National risk assessments include an overview of:

·    the main threats and actors affecting 5G networks;

·    the degree of sensitivity of 5G network components and functions as well as other assets; and

·    various types of vulnerabilities, including both technical ones and other types of vulnerabilities, such as those potentially arising from the 5G supply chain.

In addition, the work on national risk assessments involved a range of responsible actors in the Member States, including cybersecurity and telecommunication authorities and security and intelligence services, strengthening their cooperation and coordination.

Next Steps

Based on the information received, Member States, together with the Commission and the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), will prepare a coordinated EU-wide risk assessment by 1 October 2019. In parallel, ENISA is analysing the 5G threat landscape as an additional input. 

By 31 December 2019, the NIS Cooperation Group that leads the cooperation efforts together with the Commission will develop and agree on a toolbox of mitigating measures to address the risks identified in the risk assessments at Member State and EU level.

Following the recent entry into force of the Cybersecurity Act at the end of June, the Commission and the EU Agency for Cybersecurity will set up an EU-wide certification framework. Member States are encouraged to cooperate with the Commission and the EU Agency for Cybersecurity to prioritise a certification scheme covering 5G networks and equipment.

By 1 October 2020, Member States should assess in cooperation with the Commission, the effects of measures taken to determine whether there is a need for further action. This assessment should take into account the coordinated European risk assessment.

Background

Fifth generation (5G) networks will form essential digital infrastructure in the future, connecting billions of objects and systems, including in critical sectors such as energy, transport, banking, and health, as well as industrial control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems.

The European Commission recommended on 26 March 2019 a set of concrete actions to assess cybersecurity risks of 5G networks and to strengthen preventive measures, following the support from Heads of State or Government for a concerted approach to the security of 5G networks.

The Commission called on Member States to complete national risk assessments and review national measures as well as to work together at EU level on a coordinated risk assessment and a common toolbox of mitigating measures.

Digital Single Market: Europeans are aware of rules against unjustified geo-blocking

Seven months after new rules against unjustified geo-blocking began to apply, general consumer awareness of the new rules against restrictions for online shopping and cross-border sales is already high.

A Eurobarometer survey published today shows that just a few months after the new rules on geo-blocking started to apply, 50% of EU citizens are generally aware of EU action to tackle unjustified discrimination by traders. However, more efforts are needed to ensure wider knowledge of the specific digital rights enshrined in EU law, since only 29% of respondents know which rights specifically concern them.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “By banning unjustified geo-blocking last December we made another concrete step for Europe’s people and businesses to get the most and best from the digital age. I am now pleased to see that Europeans are largely enjoying their new digital right, which is part of a total of 35 new digital rights and freedoms that the Digital Single Market has created, as a new legal environment has fallen into place.”

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, added: “The new rules ending unjustified geo-blocking benefit consumers and traders alike, offering fairer access to products and services within the EU single market. Companies that continue to restrict access to consumers are quite simply breaking the law. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the rules are complied with.”

Growing interest to access cross-border content

The Eurobarometer survey published today is part of the Commission’s ongoing evaluation of consumer needs and market realities in sectors that are currently not covered or only partially covered by the geo-blocking rules. This evaluation will feed into an initial review of the rules, planned for March 2020, which will look into whether there is need to extend the scope of the Regulation. For example, the survey clearly shows that audio-visual and other electronically supplied copyright-protected content, such as music streaming and downloading, e-books and games, is among the most popular content sought by consumers across borders. This type of content is not covered by the current rules, yet it is likely that it will merit specific attention under EU law in the near future.

In particular, the number of internet users trying to get cross-border access to content has nearly doubled over the last four years (from 8% in 2015 to 15% in 2019). The most popular types of content sought across borders is audio-visual (sought by 9% of respondents) and music (8%). The survey also indicates that this trend is likely to continue, driven by young people in particular; the percentage of 15 to 24 year-old respondents who have tried to access these services across borders is 28%, nearly double the overall figure.

The most common reasons for trying to access such content are lack of availability in the respondents’ own country (44%), followed by the quest for a wider choice (39%). A majority of those who did not try to have access to content meant for users in another EU country would nonetheless still be interested in doing so (in particular audio-visual with 31% and music with 29%, with even higher figures for the younger generations).

Background

The Regulation against unjustified geo-blocking, which entered into force on 3 December 2018, addresses unjustified online sales discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market. It does not oblige traders to allow access to their content, nor sell or deliver across the whole EU, but rather prohibits traders from discriminating against customers based on their nationality, place of residence or place of establishment, if the trader already delivers to their particular Member State.

This regulation is part of a series of rules on e-commerce aimed at boosting cross-border online sales in the EU, for the benefit of the consumers, who will enjoy more choice and more guarantees, as well as for the online sellers. In particular:

Thanks to the Digital Single Market strategy, Europeans can, since April 2018, access their online subscriptions to films, sports events, e-books, video games or music services while travelling to another Member State. In addition, new rules will make it easier for broadcasters to enrich their online output across borders, granting people better choice and access to content across borders and allowing European culture to flourish.

Startup Europe Week

Investments in digital companies and access to capital are always needed for helping startups to grow. But startups also need supportive policies. Linking and networking them will unlock more of their potential, and offer the scale necessary to compete with other ecosystems around the world.” Said Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.

Today begun the third edition of the Startup Europe Week, combining hundreds of events all over Europe and beyond. The Startup Europe Week is now organised in more than 50 countries, with additional global events taking place in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added: “This grassroots movement helps those interested in entrepreneurship to make the first steps to bring their dream projects to life. The initiative fosters creativity as well as more entrepreneurial spirit for continuing the success story of the European startup scene.

The initiative aims to inform entrepreneurs of the support and resources available at city and regional level. In 2017, Startup Europe Week reached with the help of more than 280 co-organisers in more than 40 countries over 100,000 entrepreneurs across Europe. More information about this year’s Startup Europe Week is available here, various events can be found here. Read also a recent blog post about the initiative in Vice-President Ansip‘s blog.

EU to invest EUR 1 billion in European supercomputers

Supercomputers are the engine to power the digital economy. It is a tough race and today the EU is lagging behind: we do not have any supercomputers in the world’s top-ten. With the EuroHPC initiative we want to give European researchers and companies world-leading supercomputer capacity by 2020 – to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence and build the future’s everyday applications in areas like health, security or engineering.” Said Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

The European Commission unveiled today its plans to invest jointly with the Member States in building a world-class European supercomputers infrastructure. Supercomputers are needed to process ever larger amounts of data and bring benefits to the society in many areas from health care and renewable energy to car safety and cybersecurity.

Today’s step is crucial for the EU’s competitiveness and independence in the data economy. Today, European scientists and industry increasingly process their data outside the EU because their needs are not matched by the computation time or computer performance available in the EU. This lack of independence threatens privacy, data protection, commercial trade secrets, and ownership of data in particular for sensitive applications.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society added: “Supercomputers are already at the core of major advancements and innovations in many areas directly affecting the daily lives of European citizens. They can help us to develop personalised medicine, save energy and fight against climate change more efficiently. A better European supercomputing infrastructure holds great potential for job creation and is a key factor for the digitisation of industry and increasing the competitiveness of the European economy.”

EU culture: new financial instrument for cultural and creative SMEs

“Cultural and creative sectors are the backbone of European diversity and significant contributors to its economic development. The European Union, through the Creative Europe programme, is highly committed to help companies finance their innovative projects and stimulate the European creativity and cultural initiatives. These agreements are excellent news both for companies in France and across Europe. With this first cross-border transaction under the Guarantee Facility we hope to build partnerships across Europe so that more European film producers can benefit from the backing of this financial instrument.” Said Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel.

The European Investment Fund and the French Institut pour le Financement du Cinéma et des Industries Culturelles (IFCIC) signed today in France two guarantee agreements to support more than €130 million worth of loans for cultural and creative SMEs. The agreements are part of the EU’s Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility which was launched last year under the Creative Europe programme. The Guarantee Facility recently received additional funding through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) (read more here).The first agreement is a direct guarantee which allows IFCIC to substantially increase its loan volumes to support French SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors, reaching out to currently underserved sub-sectors including performing arts, visual effects, publishing and fashion design, to support a portfolio of more than €40 million of loans over the next two years. The second is a counter-guarantee agreement. It is the first cross-border transaction under the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility targeting film producers across the programme’s participating countries aiming at supporting a portfolio of more than €90 million of loans to European film and TV production. In total, more than 300 SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors are expected to obtain access to finance as a result of this new Guarantee Facility.

Cyber threats: EU new Computer Emergency Response Team

An inter-institutional arrangement was signed yesterday that establishes CERT-EU as a permanent Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU institutions, bodies and agencies. This decision follows the successful operation of CERT-EU as a task-force over the last six years.

CERT-EU reinforces the protection against the cyberattacks, which are often targeted also against the EU institutions, agencies and bodies. CERT-EU works very closely with the internal IT security teams of the EU institutions and liaises with the community of computer emergency response teams and IT security companies in all Member States, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them. It also cooperates closely with its counterpart at NATO (NCIRC) and with the Hybrid Fusion Cell at EEAS. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “CERT-EU is a key actor in the protection of the EU institutions against cyber threats. It demonstrates how much the EU institutions can accomplish when they act together.” Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel added: ”Now all EU bodies can count on a permanent operational cybersecurity team to help them respond effectively to the increasing number of advanced cyber threats also affecting citizens.

Croatia joins EU next generation supercomputers project

We are very pleased that Croatia joins this ambitious European project. Supercomputers are increasingly used to solve complex societal challenges that need large computational efforts, such as DNA sequencing, early detection and treatment of diseases, climate modelling and cryptography. We encourage other Member States and countries associated to the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to participate too and sign the declaration”. Said vice-President Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

Croatia is the 13th country to sign the European declaration on high-performance computing (HPC). The initiative aims at developing European high-performance computers that would rank among the world’s top three by 2022-2023. Croatian Minister for Science and Education Blaženka Divjak signed the declaration this morning in BrusselswithRoberto Viola, Director General of European Commission’s DG CONNECT. HPC is a strategic resource for the future of EU’s scientific leadership and industrial competitiveness. The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched in March 2017 during the Digital Day and signed by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Five other countries have since joined the initiative: Belgium in June, Slovenia in July, Bulgaria and Switzerland in October and Greece in November. The signatories of this declaration have committed to work together to establish a world-class high-performance computing ecosystem capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers).

EU tackle illegal content online

 

“We are providing a sound EU answer to the challenge of illegal content online. Our guidance includes safeguards to avoid over-removal, ensure transparency and the protection of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech.” Said Andrus Ansip Vice-President for Digital Single Market .

The Commission is presenting a guidelines and principles for online platforms to step up more proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online, as announced by President Juncker in his Letter of Intent accompanying his State of the Union speechof 13 September. The increasing availability and spreading of terrorist material and content that incites to violence and hatred online is not only a serious threat to the security and safety of EU citizens, it also undermines citizens’ trust and confidence in the digital environment – a key engine of innovation, growth and jobs.Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:”The rule of law applies online just as much as offline. We cannot accept a digital Wild West, and we must act”. Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, said: “The digital world offers unprecedented opportunities but, in the wrong hands, poses a serious threat to our security. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Today we provide a clear signal to platforms to act more responsibly. This is key for citizens and the development of platforms.” The new guidance issued today calls on online platforms to further boost their efforts to prevent the spread of illegal content. Given their increasingly important role in providing access to information, the Commission expects online platforms to take swift action over the coming months, in particular in the area of terrorism and illegal hate speech – which is already illegal under EU law, both online and offline.

The benefits without roaming charges

“We see that people are keen to use their phones like at home when travelling in the EU without the fear of a bill-shock. And mobile operators are investing in networks to meet increased demand. Our new EU telecoms rules will encourage such investments; they should be adopted by the European Parliament and Member States as soon as possible.”  Said Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

The first summer without roaming charges shows that a large majority of Europeans recognise the benefits of the new rules and have started changing their habits when travelling abroad in the EU, according to a Flash Eurobarometer survey published today. Thanks to the new EU roaming rules, in place since 15 June 2017, consumers can use their mobile phone while travelling abroad in the EU as they would do at home, without paying extra charges.

Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, added: “This is an example of an EU that concretely improves the life of European citizens. Roam like at home is working: customers are appreciating it, consumption is up and the demand for mobile services while travelling in the EU is very high. It benefits consumers and operators alike.” The Eurobarometer survey shows that 71% of Europeans are aware that roaming charges have ended and 72% think they, or someone they know, will benefit. Awareness of the new rules rises to 86% amongst those who have travelled since 15 June.

Cybersecurity for personal data

“Europe’s digital economy is still strongly split along closed national lines. This is holding Europe back from its broader digital growth. Our proposal, together with EU personal data protection rules will enable the free movement of all types of data in the single market. The free flow of data will make it easier for SMEs and startups to
develop new innovative services and to enter new markets.” Said Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.

To unlock the full potential of the EU data economy, the Commission is proposing anew set of rules to
govern the free flow of non-personal data in the EU. Together with the already existing rules for personal data, the new measures will enable the storage and processing of non-personal data across the Union to boost the competitiveness of European businesses and to modernise public services in an effective EU single market for data services. Removing data localisation restrictions is considered the most important factor for the data economy to double its value to 4% of GDP in 2020.

Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “To ensure Europe’s success in the new era of the digital economy, we need solid and predictable rules for the circulation of data. Citizens and businesses will benefit from better products and services as more and more data becomes available for data-driven innovation. Removing obstacles to cross-border data flows is essential for a competitive European data economy.”

Free flow of non-personal data

A clear, comprehensive and predictable framework will contribute to a more competitive and integrated EU market for data storage and data processing services. The framework proposes

The principle of free flow of non-personal data across borders: Member States can no longer oblige organisations to locate the storage or processing of data within their borders. Restrictions will only be justified for reasons of public security. Member States will have to notify the Commission of new or existing data localisation requirements. The free flow of non-personal data will make it easier and cheaper for businesses to operate across borders without having to duplicate IT systems or to save the same data in different places.

The principle of data availability for regulatory control: Competent authorities will be able to exercise their rights of access to data wherever it is stored or processed in the EU. The free flow of non-personal data will not affect the obligations for businesses and other organisations to provide certain data for regulatory control purposes.

The development of EU codes of conduct to remove obstacles to switching between service
providers of cloud storage and to porting data back to users’ own IT systems.

Benefits for businesses and people

The new rules will increase legal certainty and trust for businesses and organisations. They will alsoclear the way for a truly EU single market in data storage and processing, leading to a competitive, safe and reliable European cloud sector and to lower prices for users of data storage and processing services. As the aim of the new rules is to increase trust, companies are expected to use more cloud services and to feel re-assured when entering new markets. They will also be able to move their inhouse IT-resources to the most cost-effective locations. Ultimately, this means an estimated additional growth of EU GDP by €8 billion per year.

The new measures complement the personal data protection legislation as an additional step towards a truly functional common European data space.