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The Cypriot Defence Minister, Mr. Savvas Angelides, stressed the importance of cybersecurity for our societies and stated: 'The security and stability of the net, as well as the integrity of data flows, is of growing importance to our economies and our societies. By 2030, the number of internet users is expected to near 5 billion. By then, 80 % of the world's population will have mobile connectivity and 60 % will enjoy broadband access. Artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will shape the pace and nature of our lives, work and consumption habits.'
The two day event brought together cyber experts from various disciplines such as cyber training, cybercrime, cyber defence, cyber diplomacy and hybrid/cyber threats. The panels were chaired by partners of the ESDC supporting the cyber ETEE platform, in particular the European Defence Agency, EUROPOL, CERT-EU, the European Hybrid Centre of Excellence and the EU Institute for Security Studies.
The Director of EU-ISS, Dr. Gustav Lindstrom, summarised the risks, threats and challenges of cyberspace: ' The fight to protect the freedoms on the net is becoming increasingly critical for the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world. Technology also creates new vulnerabilities, including opportunities for terrorist groups and traffickers of arms, drugs and human beings, as well as for public and private actors who engage in counterfeiting and financial and economic crime. Globalisation empowers individuals – for good or ill.'
The Chief-Executive of the EDA, Mr. Jorge Domecq, highlighted the efforts undertaken by EU Member States and the industry and referred to the successes of permanent structured cooperation: 'Within PESCO (permanent structured cooperation), 2 of the 17 flagship projects concern cybersecurity: (a) the EU Cyber Information Sharing Platform and (b) the EU Cyber Rapid Response Force Teams. The latter initiative concerning a cyber response force and mutual assistance in cyber security will bring together specialists from the participating countries. They will be on stand-by and reinforce neutralisation and investigation efforts in the event of a significant cyber incident. This is cooperation at its best. However, cooperation cannot stop at international level. We also need cooperation at the level of private-public partnerships.'
The inauguration ceremony was the starting point for the establishment of the cyber platform, which will be able to make a real difference when it comes to training and education for the challenges ahead. Only a credible cyber workforce will allow European citizens to benefit from the tremendous potentials of a free and secure global internet in terms of wealth, knowledge and freedoms.