26 July 2023

Added by:

Central Eastern European countries must provide a counterweight in the EU debate on digital issues. CEE experts on cybersecurity

Central Eastern Europe must be shaping the EU digital agenda and needs a strong, united regional voice in regard to European regulatory initiatives. Creation of a regional cybersecurity toolbox, support for cybersecurity businesses developing in CEE and greater effort for training experts and education of the general population are all key to assuring the region’s cybersecurity - Experts argued during the “Central Eastern Europe answers to digital threats” online workshop, dedicated to discussing the Central Eastern European perspective on current cybersecurity challenges hosted by CEE Digital Coalition.

During the the second quarterly online session in a series devoted to discussing all things digital in Central Eastern European perspective, experts representing digital industry associations and cybersecurity companies from the region looked into the relevant EU and national regulatory initiatives, certification schemes, issues of disinformation and the significance of the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre in Bucharest in reaching the cybersecurity goals of the region.

Shortage of experts and lacking competence
Participants of the discussion admitted that the number of digital security incidents and coordinated cyberattacks in Central Eastern Europe is growing at an alarming rate, particularly ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, making cybersecurity one of the top priorities on national, regional and European level. Experts highlighted however that still the region is struggling with a shortage of cybersecurity experts required to answer to these growing threats - While our region is home to exceptional cybersecurity talent and a number of globally-recognized leading companies in the field, we are still struggling with a shortage of skilled experts and a relatively low level of cybersecurity competence in the general population - speakers argued said Madalin Staniu, Founder and Managing Partner at Black Bullet. - Legislative initiatives are undertaken and fact-checking organizations are appearing across CEE to fight against disinformation and spread of fake news. Still much more can be done to raise public awareness about the dangers of disinformation and to facilitate international cooperation in that regard across our region - highlighted Virgilijus Dirma, Deputy Director of INFOBALT.

In their opinion, establishment of the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre in Bucharest, Romania will be helpful in overcoming the challenges at hand - The European Cybersecurity Competence Centre in Bucharest will help us to educate citizens, train cybersecurity professionals, boost international cooperation in the field and facilitate exchange of experiences, and know-how. It is a great opportunity for the region - experts added.

Difficult road to certification schemes
During the workshop, issues surrounding development of cybersecurity certification schemes were considered. Concerns regarding possible impact on European and regional economic competitiveness were voiced - Three Seas Countries must be shaping the EU digital agenda rather than simply implementing it. Our region’s governments, its industry and consumers must all be more vocal. For example, the region can and should provide a counterbalance to the French approach to cloud solutions certification scheme - noted Milena Jabůrková, Vice-President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic. - In the case of the European European Cybersecurity Certification Scheme for Cloud Services, we can see that politically-driven ownership requirements and localisation requirements may limit our access to solutions and technology. Hurting business relations between the EU and USA can have massive consequences in terms of cybersecurity and growth of our economies in Central Eastern Europe - she added. - Indeed, investments in cloud services and data centers are vital to our region’s growth. Risky proposed provisions of EUCS pose a great danger to our digital development and investment environment - Michał Kanownik, President of Digital Poland Association, leader of CEE Digital Coalition and the host of the workshop argued.

According to the speakers, a regional cybersecurity toolbox document helping to align the work on cybersecurity and allowing to share next practices may be helpful in reaching cybersecurity goals in Central Eastern Europe - As countries making up the Three Seas Initiative, we should share our experiences when it comes security incidents, approach to high risk vendors and so much more. Perhaps a regional cybersecurity toolbox, inspired by the EU 5G toolbox is something we should consider - Michał Kanownik concluded

About CEE Digital Coalition
CEE Digital Coalition is an informal gathering of digital and advanced technologies industry organizations from Central Eastern Europe, bringing the region together on its digital path. Members of the coalition work together to boost the digital transformation of the region’s economy and informational society. They strive to promote close business and policy-making cooperation between the countries of CEE in the field of digital. Associated organizations declare their will to support governments, as well as European decision makers and businesses in developing an environment for rapid and safe digital development in Europe, aligned with the best interest of their region. The cooperation was initiated by the Digital Poland Association in 2020. 18 organizations from 11 countries have been engaged in CEE Digital Coalition’s various activities since then.