On 22 and 23 June 2022, the European External Action Service (EEAS), in cooperation with the EU Cyber Diplomacy Initiative – EU Cyber Direct, hosted a meeting with Member States and international partners on policy responses and cooperative efforts to prevent, discourage, deter and respond to significant malicious cyber activities. The meeting included a scenario-based discussion focusing on coordinated responses to significant cyber incidents taking place in different states. The discussion also focused on enhancing preparedness, consideration of relevant crisis response mechanisms, and strengthening our ability to coordinate appropriate responses to the increasing cyber threat landscape.
EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States participated in the discussion, which aimed to strengthen our shared situational awareness and allowed for an exchange upon the coordinated use of diplomatic means, including assistance to third countries, and to identify opportunities for further strengthening international cooperation to this end.
In light of the increasing readiness from state and non-state actors to conduct malicious cyber activities, risking international security and stability in cyberspace, participants reiterated their commitment to an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful cyberspace, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and to strengthen the international rules-based order, grounded in the application of international law in cyberspace and the adherence to the norms of responsible state behaviour, including in the UN and other relevant international fora.
The scenario-based discussions focused on cyber incidents that took place in different nations, with EU Member States and partners falling victim to cyber-attacks affecting their critical infrastructure and essential operators, with potential cross-border effects. The severity and impact of the cyber-attacks gradually escalated and affected several partners and impacted multiple critical sectors, which led participants to swiftly build shared situational awareness and explore international cooperation and joint responses.
The discussions demonstrated the determination of the EU, its Member States and partners to pursue closer cooperation to enhance international cooperation promoting security and stability in cyberspace, including by increasing accountability. It allowed participants to identify actions to advance the practical cooperative efforts to address immediate and long-term security challenges and to provide continued responses to threat actors that are seeking to undermine our secure and open access to cyberspace.