By Jerom Bolt
Bucharest will host the European Union’s Cyber Center – the first EU structure in Romania, announced Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu. The European Center for Industrial, Technological and Research Competence in Cyber Security (ECCC) will be based in Bucharest, and the aim of this institution, which will cooperate with specialized national hubs, will be to centralize the technological and industrial security ecosystem of the Member States, so that the community bloc is better prepared in the face of threats.
Marian Murguleț, coordinating state secretary for information technology at the level of the entire central public administration, specified that the operationalization of the Center is estimated for the summer of next year.
The proposal for a regulation establishing the European Center of Industrial, Technological and Research Competences in the field of cyber security and the network of national coordination centers (EU Cyber Center) was launched by the European Commission in 2018, being discussed during the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.
The Member States have decided to open competition for the establishment of the seat of this Center, the selection procedure being agreed by all Member States. According to this procedure, the interested states submitted, until November 6, the application files.
Thus, Belgium (Brussels), Germany (Munich), Lithuania (Vilnius), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Poland (Warsaw), Spain (Leon) and Romania (Bucharest) entered the competition for hosting the Center. Following the vote of the member states, it was established that the Center be located in Bucharest.
The Cyber Center will be a key structure in the context of the EU’s efforts to set up a European cybersecurity ecosystem. The center will play an important role in supporting the creation of links between public and private actors in the field, academia and industry in the Union, while ensuring coordination between national cybersecurity centers in the Member States, says the Foreign Ministry.
The Center will also work to stimulate research and technological innovation in order to strengthen cyber security within the Union. Thus, the Center will be the main body for managing European funding for cybersecurity research available through the two EU funding programs relevant to the sector – Digital Europe and Horizon Europe.
According to Murguleț, although it is not formally a European agency, the ECCC “will manage billions of euros in research on the cyber area (mainly for encryption and network security), with the creation of specialized jobs. We are talking about 30 positions for the beginning and up to 70-80 later. ”
The decision to set up this center was taken by the Commission in 2018, and it will receive funding from the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programs. The aim of this institution, which will cooperate with specialized national hubs, will be to centralize the technological and industrial security ecosystem of the Member States, so that the Community bloc is better prepared in the face of threats. The ECCC’s mandate will be different from that of the European Cyber Security Agency, ENISA, but confusion is likely to exist, especially at the beginning of the coexistence of the two. ENISA has offices in Heraklion (Crete) and Athens.
By Jerom Bolt