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Tuesday, 18 November 2003 - Strasbourg OJ edition

European Network and Information Security Agency

  Gill (PSE ). Mr President, I would also like to congratulate my colleague, Mr Paasilinna, on an excellent report. The Internet, as we have heard, is no longer a new phenomenon. Today, more than 90% of companies and 44% of households in the EU have an Internet connection and more than two-thirds of Europeans use a mobile phone. Our everyday systems are controlled by computers and communication networks, from public transport systems to the water that comes out of our taps at home. It is no surprise, then, that security in this area is a huge concern for our citizens and businesses. I must admit that I have reservations about creating new agencies willy-nilly. However, I have to say that I totally support the establishment of this one.

Nevertheless, I wish to make three points, which are also questions to the Commission. Firstly, the issue of differing security standards. Given that at present the 15 Member States are all at different stages of combating cybercrime, how does the Commission plan to tackle this obstacle and ensure effective implementation, especially once we become a Union of 25, when the real challenge will be to harmonise security standards across Europe? Will the Agency have sufficient clout to ensure that Member States take the recommendations and advice of this Agency seriously?

Secondly, on the issue of cross-border cooperation, it is a fact that there is no systematic cross-border cooperation between the current Member States. We know that security is a difficult and complex task, encompassing all sorts of issues like availability, integrity, authenticity and confidentiality of data and services. How does the Commission intend to get public and private sectors and businesses and consumers to work together? How does it intend to promote security in these areas?

Thirdly, security requirements are constantly evolving as networking in the community and computing develop further, electronic communications become more widespread and hackers become more adept at foiling security systems. We need to ensure that we in Europe have the highest possible level of security. How will the Commission ensure that this Agency does not fall behind new technologies and that it leaves no stone unturned in the fight against cybercrime?

Finally, I hope the setting up of this Agency will lead to some rationalisation within the Commission, because often when we set up agencies it also means some sort of streamlining within the Commission.

Last updated: 10 August 2004Legal notice