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European Parliament committee backs plan to strengthen EU defences against cyber-attacks

A draft law to strengthen the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has been approved by European Parliament Industry, Research and Energy Committee MEPs.

ENISA was founded in 2004 to ensure a high and effective level of network information security within the EU. Its current mandate expires in September 2013.

Proposals in the draft law would extend and strengthen ENISA's mandate to help the EU, Member States and private stakeholders develop their capabilities and preparedness to prevent, detect and respond to network and information security problems and incidents.

The proposals would require ENISA to support the establishment and the functioning of a full-scale European Union Computer Emergency Response Team (EU CERT), to counter cyber-attacks against EU institutions, bodies and agencies. ENISA would also be required to promote and support cooperation among national CERTs in Member States and EU CERTs in the event of incidents, attacks or disruptions on networks or infrastructure managed or protected by them.

In the event of a severe cyber-threat, and at the request of a Member State or an EU institution or body, ENISA will assist it in operational tasks to secure the affected network or data.

To enable ENISA to meet growing cyber security challenges, the proposal would establish its new mandate for seven years with effect from 13 September 2013. ENISA's governance structure would also be strengthened with a stronger supervisory role for its Management Board.

The committee vote (52 votes in favour, 3 against and 1 abstention) provides a mandate to start negotiations with a view to a possible first-reading agreement in the European Parliament.

•Date: 8th February 2012 • Europe/UK •Type: Article • Topic: Critical infrastructure protection

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