Europe needs to retain and develop the essential industrial and technological capacities to autonomously secure its digital economy, society and democracy. Europe needs to pool existing efforts and resources as it can effectively protect its citizens only if it becomes a leader in the next-generation cybersecurity and digital technologies.

Building on the ambitious cybersecurity initiatives announced a year ago, as a next step, the Commission proposes today to create a Network of Cybersecurity Competence Centres to better target and coordinate available funding for cybersecurity industrial and technology development research and innovation.

The work of the Network of Competence Centres would be coordinated by a new European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre. The Centre will also facilitate joint investment by the Union, Member States and industry into research and innovation projects, testing and experimentation infrastructure, the development of skills and deployment of cybersecurity products and solutions throughout the economy.  Both the Network and the European Centre will help create the necessary links to bring together and nurture the Cybersecurity Competence Community - a large, open, and diverse group of actors involved in cybersecurity technology, in particular research entities, supply-side industries, demand side industries from different sectors (e.g. health, energy, transport), and the public sector. The initiative builds on the expertise that already exists in more than 660 cybersecurity competence centres from all Member States who have responded to a recent survey conducted by the European Commission.

The Commission has placed cybersecurity high on the agenda also in its proposals for the next long-term EU budget for the years 2021-2027, to guarantee adequate funding for this key priority. Under the new Digital Europe programme the Commission proposes to invest €2 billion into safeguarding the EU's digital economy, society and democracies through polling expertise, boosting EU's cybersecurity industry, financing state-of-the-art cybersecurity equipment and infrastructure. Cybersecurity research and innovation will additionally be supported under the Horizon Europe programme.

By managing cybersecurity-related financial support from the EU's budget and pooling resources with the Member States, the initiative will allow to identify and support projects that are crucial for increasing the competitiveness of the European cybersecurity industry on one hand and to turn cybersecurity into a competitive advantage of industries across different sectors (e.g. health, energy, transport, finance). It will also help public authorities to shield critical sectors with state of the art cybersecurity solutions.

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