Enhancing cybersecurity and protection of EU infrastructure is vital, say MEPs

In a plenary debate with Commission Vice-President Schinas, MEPs demanded more EU ambition in cybersecurity and in protecting critical infrastructure.

They argued that the recent Nord Stream incident has revealed the fragility of the EU’s infrastructure, and emphasised the danger of cyberattacks, pointing to cases impacting a shipping company in Denmark and the healthcare system in Ireland. In their opinion, the EU needs more ambitious legislation to secure critical infrastructure that should go beyond the proposals already under discussion (a law on the resilience of critical infrastructure and new cybersecurity rules).

MEPs also requested more details on the Defence of Democracy package announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union address and asked how the EU institutions would address suspected cases of espionage. Some speakers raised the importance of protecting liquified natural gas infrastructure, while others referred to the influence of malign foreign governments on important infrastructure, and how protecting them should be coordinated with NATO.

Commission Vice-President Schinas said that Europe’s era of naivety and innocence is now over, and that the legislation under discussion would equip Europe with an unprecedented “shield” against threats. He also acknowledged that more work to boost resilience is still needed, especially against state-backed threats.

Regarding hybrid threats, Mr Schinas blamed authoritarian regimes for instrumentalising human suffering by channelling migration towards the EU’s territory, and highlighted the efforts taken by the EU to respond. He also stressed the work done by the EP’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, and confirmed that the Defence of Democracy package will include proposals to tackle disinformation.