Proposal for a Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach by the Union to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2022) 551
Publication Date 18/10/2022
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Draft Recommendation - tabled by the European Commission on 18 October 2022 - aimed at strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure in the European Union (EU). This is a text with EEA relevance.

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While Member States have the primary responsibility for protecting citizens, action at EU level makes a contribution to the security of all its countries. Coordination helps to reinforce resilience, to improve alertness, and to strengthen the collective response. In the context of the Security Union, steps have already been taken to build capabilities and capacities for prevention, detection and rapid response to many security threats, and to link players in the public and private sectors in a common effort.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine brought new risks, often combined as a hybrid threat. One of these is the risk of disruption for the provision of essential services by entities operating critical infrastructure in the EU. The sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and other incidents have made this challenge even more evident. Society relies heavily on both physical and digital infrastructure, and so does the smooth functioning of the EU's internal market.

The proposed Council Recommendation seeks to intensify the EU's support to increasing the resilience of critical infrastructure, and to ensure an EU-level coordination, in terms of preparedness and response. It builds on previous initiatives such as the CER Directive and the NIS2 Directive, and it follows up on a 5-point plan presented by the President of the European Commission to the European Parliament on 5 October 2022. Its key elements were:

  • enhancing preparedness;
  • working with Member States to stress test their critical infrastructure;
  • increasing the response capacity, in particular through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM);
  • making good use of satellite capacity to detect potential threats;
  • strengthening cooperation with NATO and key partners on the resilience of critical infrastructure.

The focus of this draft Recommendation is the reinforcement of the EU's capacity to anticipate, prevent and response to the new threats arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It therefore focuses on addressing security-related risks and threats to critical infrastructure. It was adopted by the European Commission on 18 October 2022.

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Commentary and Analysis
EUObserver: Opinion, 11/10/2022: Can Europe protect its underwater cables from sabotage?
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 13/10/2022: Judy Asks: Is Europe Taking Resilience Seriously?

Politico, 02/10/2022: Michel: EU leaders to discuss infrastructure security after Nord Stream damage
Euronews, 03/10/2022: European infrastructure is 'vulnerable' and needs greater protection, says EU commissioner
The Irish Times, 05/10/2022: EU satellites to watch for sabotage and threats against critical infrastructure
EurActiv, 05/10/2022: EU vows to draw up plans to protect critical infrastructure
EUObserver, 10/10/2022: Von der Leyen: EU must now protect critical infrastructure
Bloomberg, 17/10/2022: EU to Boost Protection of Infrastructure as Sabotage Fears Grow
Reuters, 18/10/2022: EU seeks to boost infrastructure protection after Nord Stream blasts
EurActiv, 18/10/2022: EU Commission seeks accelerated defence of critical infrastructure
Euronews, 18/10/2022: European Commission seeks greater role protecting EU's critical infrastructure
EurActiv, 03/11/2022: EU countries lay bare Europe’s limits in securing critical infrastructure

European Commission: DG Migration and Home Affairs: Critical Infrastructure
European Commission: Press Release, 18/10/2022: Critical Infrastructure: Commission accelerates work to build up European resilience
European Commission: Opening remarks by Commissioner Johansson at the press conference on EU critical infrastructure resilience (18 October 2022)

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