€1.6 billion dedicated to cybersecurity as MEPs strike deal with Council

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€1.6 billion dedicated to cybersecurity are among the funding agreed upon after the European Parliament struck a deal with the European Council.

Plans for the EU to deploy digital technologies like AI, supercomputing and data platforms more widely were informally agreed with Council on Monday as they agreed on a €7.6 billion funding for 2021-2027 for the Digital Europe Programme.

The Digital Europe Programme aims to build the EU’s strategic digital capacity and deploy digital technologies more widely, so that they can be used by Europe’s citizens, businesses and public administrations.

Its goal is to boost Europe’s competitiveness and the green transition towards climate neutrality by 2050 as well as ensure technological sovereignty.

Among the funds agreed upon, €1.6 billion will be dedicated to cybersecurity, to strengthen coordination between member states, boost Europe’s capabilities and support the deployment of cyber-security technology, infrastructure and competence across the economy, through initiatives such as the EU cybersecurity competence centre and network. The programme will also help support the existing workforce to train in order to have the skills needed.

The programme will fund the increase in the capacity of European supercomputing and data processing with €2.2 billion in funds being dedicated to the sector. The aim is to make supercomputing more accessible and user-friendly in public health especially in health, the environment, security and industry, and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

€2 billion were dedicated for artificial intelligence projects. This will strengthen and support artificial intelligence testing and experimentation in health and mobility sectors as it encourages member states to cooperate in this area. There are also plans to set up a European data space.

Croatian MEP Valter Flego from the Renew Europe Group who serves as Rapporteur for the Digital Europe Programme said that he is convinced that the deal which has been sealed on the Digital Europe Programme will serve to achieve one of the main EU priorities for the upcoming decade – assuring a new generation of digital technologies.

He remarked that although the programme was not topped up in the final multi-financial framework agreement, it remained the most important tool to reach their goal of asserting Europe’s digital sovereignty. Flego described the programme as a flagship one.

“Europe will be ready to speed up its digital transformation and become a global leader in the digital field,” he said.

The informal agreement will be confirmed in a forthcoming meeting of the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee.