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AFP
June 22, 2018

EU states to form ‘rapid response’ cyber force

World

AFP
June 22, 2018

VILNIUS: Nine European Union states are to create rapid response teams to counter cyber attacks within the framework of a new EU defence pact, project leader Lithuania announced on Thursday.

“Nine states have agreed to join. The goal is to create rotational EU cyber rapid response teams,” Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis told AFP.He said his counterparts from Croatia, Estonia, the Netherlands and Romania will join him on Monday to sign the agreement in Luxembourg while Finland, France, Poland and Spain will join later this year. Teams formed by pooling experts on a rotational basis will be ready to help national authorities to tackle cyber attacks, with the schedule to be approved next year, Karoblis said. The minister said he expected the EU to allocate funds for software and other equipment, adding that talks with EU institutions will continue about legal and technical aspects.

The cyber force will be among the first joint projects launched under a landmark EU defence pact signed last year.The EU’s move to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence, known as PESCO, was driven in part by US President Donald Trump’s questioning of NATO’s relevance and Britain’s departure from the bloc.

Lithuania, a lead nation of the cyber defence project, has boosted its cyber capabilities in recent years to tackle what it describes as “hostile cyber activities” from nearby Russia, mostly targeting state institutions and the energy sector.

Trump forcing Europe to deepen defence integration: Uncertainty over US President Donald Trump’s commitment to the NATO alliance requires European nations to bolster efforts to forge a common defence policy, France’s defence minister said Thursday.

“At the NATO summit a year ago, he did not explicitly support the idea in place since the North Atlantic Treaty that when one country of the alliance is attacked, the others will come to their aid,” Florence Parly said on France 2 television.

“That casts a certain doubt” over the alliance formed by the treaty in 1949, she said.Trump, who once derided the alliance as “obsolete”, says the US shoulders too much of NATO’s costs and has insisted that European members must increase their spending.

At the coming NATO summit in Brussels on July 11 and 12, “I think the US president will insist very strongly that its allies, in particular in Europe, pay the burden which the US says it is bearing,” Parly said.

“That’s why building a common European defence is necessary, in this situation where we don’t really know if the assumptions we’ve lived with for the past 70 years are still valid,” she said.