The European Commission launches a proposal to establish European and National Competence Centres to reinforce the Union’s cybersecurity capability and competitiveness on global markets

Building on the 2017 strategy to set up a wide-ranging set of measures to build strong cybersecurity in the EU, the European Commission launched a proposal for a new regulation to create European and National Competence Centres on cybersecurity.

This initiative should help to create an inter-connected, Europe-wide cybersecurity industrial and research ecosystem, generating a stimulating environment for digital SMEs. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance expects this to be done building on the existing ecosystem of SME cybersecurity vendors, aiming to create the best conditions for European cyber SME champions to compete on global cybersecurity markets.

The proposal defines the level of interaction of three main entities that, together with the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security will set the cybersecurity scene at European level. (i) The European Cybersecurity Competence Centre will facilitate and coordinate the work of (ii.) the European Cybersecurity Competence Network, made of 27 National Coordination Centres, and nurture (iii.) the Cybersecurity Competence Community, i.e. a large, open, and diverse group of actors involved in cybersecurity technology, including research entities, supply/demand-side industries and the public sector.

The European Cybersecurity Competence Centre will also oversee the implementation of parts of the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe programmes by allocating grants and carrying out procurements. The goal is to add on to the wide deployment of state-of-the-art cyber security products also providing financial support and technical assistance to cybersecurity start-ups and SMEs to connect them to potential markets and to attract investment.

The EC proposal also makes reference to the need to facilitate and accelerate standardisation and certification processes, in particular those related to cybersecurity certification schemes as intended in the previously proposed Cybersecurity Act. With this regard, DIGITAL SME advocates a fruitful collaboration with the European Standardisation Organisations so to ensure the uptake of existing standards to whose development the SME community has contributed also through the work of Small Business Standards.