Cyberspace: Strengthening cooperation in promoting security and stability

(Source: EEAS)

The European External Action Service (EEAS), in cooperation with the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), held a scenario-based discussion with EU Member States and international partners on 17 May 2021. The discussion, the first of its kind, focused on how to address international security challenges related to cyberspace.

All EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Republic of South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States participated in the discussion. The aim of the scenario-based discussion was to improve the mutual understanding of the respective diplomatic approaches to prevent, discourage, deter and respond to malicious cyber activities, and to identify opportunities for further strengthening international cooperation to this end.

The discussions were based on a scenario in which a territory of a fictitious EU Member State and a partner country were subjected to malicious cyber activities, affecting a broader international community. The exchanges underlined the potential impact of the misuse of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on our security, economy and society at large, how an event in one country could have an immediate impact across the globe, and how diplomatic means that are clear, transparent and consistent with international law could contribute to conflict prevention, cooperation and stability in cyberspace.

It demonstrated the need to enhance diplomatic cooperation and to continue to strengthen cyber diplomacy expertise to advance a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rules-based order, grounded in the application of existing international law in cyberspace and the adherence to the norms, rules and principles of responsible state behaviour.

The scenario-based discussion marks an important milestone towards closer international cooperation in promoting security and stability in cyberspace, as part of the 2020 EU Cybersecurity Strategy.

Director Joanneke Balfoort, responsible for Security and Defence Policy, represented the EEAS.

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