Brussels, 20 Nov (EFE). - The countries of the European Union considered today that great cyber attacks can trigger the same clause of solidarity that is foreseen in European law for cases in which a Member State suffers an armed attack.
The Community ministers, meeting in a General Affairs Council, adopted conclusions in which they equate the large-scale cyberthreats to a military attack, considering that both are grounds for activating mutual assistance in the Union, something that NATO already does.
The Council emphasized that "a A particularly serious incident or cyber crisis could be a sufficient basis for a Member State to invoke the EU solidarity clause and the assistance clause mutual ".
Specifically, the ministers refer to Article 42.7 of the EU Treaty, which states that if a country of the Union is subject to armed aggression on its territory, the The other Member States "shall provide aid and assistance with all means at their disposal".
Also to Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, on whether a Member State is In the event of a terrorist attack or a disaster, the others must assist him at the request of his authorities.
Until now, France has been the only one to invoke the first, on the occasion of the terrorist attacks in the country in November 2015.
The ministers also recalled that they had previously given the green light to the possibility of imposing sanctions on those responsible for malicious cyber activities.
"When most of the profiles are false and they are replicated ... they are cyber attacks and against cyber attacks you have to defend yourself", warned the Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs, Jorge Toledo, in a statement to the press during his participation in the Council today.
Toledo considered that the crisis in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia "can be included within the concept of cyber attacks", as part of a programmed strategy of destabilization.
He explained that "it has been verified a fact "that there have been cyber-attacks related to the Catalan question that came from the territories of Russia and Venezuela, although he made it clear that the Government of Spain has never directly accused the authorities of any foreign country.
Ministers acknowledged today that threats in the digital domain "can have an impact on our democracy, prosperity, stability and security ", and called for addressing cybersecurity with a" coherent approach "at the national, community and global levels.
In particular, they called for strengthening the cooperation to "prevent, deter, detect and respond to cyberthreats" and, at the same time, be able to "jointly respond" to large-scale cyber incidents and activities malicious in that area across the EU.
Ministers also called for a "strong and trusted" level of encryption of electronic communications, important for "guaranteeing adequately address human rights and fundamental freedoms in the EU and for public confidence in the internal market, "while authorities can" access the necessary data for their research. "
They also considered that they should regularly conduct pan-European security exercises and learn from their experiences to improve their preparedness large-scale cyber attacks.
On the legislative work to implement a European cybersecurity certificate for different devices, at a time of great development of online administration, e-commerce or the internet of things, the ministers called for responding to the highest standards in the face of threats and "to the needs of the market and users. "
In order to face these threats, the countries asked the European Commission for an impact assessment and to propose the base for mid-next year. necessary to create a community network of cybersecurity centers.
In addition, they urged to reinforce the training of professionals and enhance digital capabilities, and to continue the cooperation with NATO regarding cyberthreats.