Member States agree on best practices to boost timely deployment of 5G and fibre networks

On 25 March 2021, the Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, agreed on a Union-wide Connectivity Toolbox, pursuant to the Connectivity Recommendation of 18 September 2020. The Toolbox consists of a set of best practices that are considered as the most efficient in allowing and encouraging operators to roll out very high capacity networks.

The best practices will help network operators to reduce the cost of gigabit broadband deployment and Member States to adopt an efficient approach for ensuring timely and investment-friendly access to 5G spectrum to mobile operators and other users of spectrum, including for industrial applications. 

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal market, said: "In the Digital Decade all Europeans should benefit from fast and secure connections. We must start today turning this ambition into a reality. The Connectivity Toolbox is the result of Member States’ cooperation and commitment to remove obstacles and boost the deployment of very fast networks."

Council adopts conclusions on the EU's cybersecurity strategy

The Council today adopted conclusions on the EU's cybersecurity strategy for the digital decade. This strategy was presented by the Commission and the high representative for foreign affairs in December 2020. It outlines the framework for EU action to protect EU citizens and businesses from cyber threats, promote secure information systems and protect a global, open, free and secure cyberspace.

In its conclusions, the Council highlights a number of areas for action in the coming years, including:

  • the plans to create a network of security operation centres across the EU to monitor and anticipate signals of attacks on networks
  • the definition of a joint cyber unit which would provide clear focus to the EU's cybersecurity crisis management framework
  • its strong commitment to applying and swiftly completing the implementation of the EU 5G toolbox measures and to continuing efforts made to guarantee the security of 5G networks and the development of future network generations
  • the need for a joint effort to accelerate the uptake of key internet security standards, as they are instrumental to increase the overall level of security and openness of the global internet while increasing the competitiveness of the EU industry
  • the need to support the development of strong encryption as a means of protecting fundamental rights and digital security, while at the same time ensuring the ability of law enforcement and judicial authorities to exercise their powers both online and offline
  • increasing the effectiveness and the efficiency of the cyber diplomacy toolbox giving special attention to preventing and countering cyberattacks with systemic effects that might affect supply chains, critical infrastructure and essential services, democratic institutions and processes and undermine economic security
  • the proposal on the possible establishment of a cyber intelligence working group to strengthen EU INTCEN's dedicated capacity in this domain
  • the importance of strengthening cooperation with international organisations and partner countries in order to advance the shared understanding of the cyber threat landscape
  • the proposal to develop an EU external cyber capacity building agenda to increase cyber resilience and capacities worldwide

In order to ensure the development, implementation and monitoring of the proposals presented in the cybersecurity strategy, the Council encourages the Commission and the High Representative to establish a detailed implementation plan. The Council will also monitor the progress in the implementation of the conclusions through an action plan which will be regularly reviewed and updated.

Horizon Europe's first strategic plan 2021-2024 to prioritise climate-neutral and digital projects

On March 15, the European Commission adopted the first strategic plan 2021-2024 for Horizon Europe — the new EU research and innovation programme worth €95.5 billion in current prices. The strategic plan is a novelty in Horizon Europe and sets the strategic orientations for the targeting of investments in the programme's first four years. It ensures that EU research and innovation actions contribute to EU priorities, including a climate-neutral and green Europe, a Europe fit for the digital age, and an economy that works for people.

“This Plan provides a frame for top quality, excellence-based research and innovation to be delivered with the Horizon Europe Work Programme. With this strategic orientation we ensure that research and innovation investments can contribute to a recovery process based on the twin green and digital transition, resilience and open strategic autonomy," said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age.

The strategic plan sets out four strategic orientations for research and innovation investments under Horizon Europe for the next four years:

  • Promoting an open strategic autonomy by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains;
  • Restoring Europe's ecosystems and biodiversity, and managing sustainably natural resources;
  • Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy;
  • Creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society.

PSCE Annual Report 2020 available!

We are happy to share with you our Annual report of 2020, which was a very challenging but nevertheless successful year!

You will find all the activities PSCE conducted, including European collaborations and publications with very important entities in their fields (Joint Research Centre, 5G Observatory, GSMA,...), and the redaction of its own policy papers.

You will also discover the expertise of PSCE in different fields (Satellite Applications, Technologies for First Responders, Broadband Communications, Crisis Management) through the projects we are involved in (BroadGNSS, Respond-A and Search & Rescue, BroadWay, Driver+).

You will finally read our future priorities for 2021, aligned with our constant objective to remain a key actor in public safety communications in Europe.

Download the annual report here


Commission announces Action Plan to increase defence capabilities and space connectivity

On February 22, the European Commission announced an Action Plan to increase the EU’s defence capabilities by boosting secure space connections and exploiting disruptive potential technologies. 

In particular, some of the targeted actions on the Action Plan focus specifically on drone technologies, space-based secure connectivity and space traffic management. Space and civil technologies, including cyber, quantum and artificial intelligence also feature in the EU executive plan of boosting Europe’s capabilities.  The Commission’s Action Plan will also cover measures to increase resilience across connectivity systems in case of cyber attacks.

Synergies with EU programmes

In a challenging international environment, where the EU needs to maintain its technological edge and support its industrial base, the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (MFF) significantly scales up investment in technologies for defence or related civilian use, such as security, mobility, health, information management, cyber and space.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton explained during the press conference the EU’s intention to build synergies between existing EU programmes — Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, the Connecting Europe Facility, the Internal Security Fund, the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the Space programme —and instruments so that disruptive technologies can find a concrete use.

The increased size of these investments, delivered through a variety of EU programmes and instruments, presents opportunities for synergies that can avoid the risk of duplication and provide more user-friendly opportunities for financing, such as grants and public procurement, the Commission said. 

“The European Defence Fund gives a strong potential for synergies between innovation in space, defence and civil research and innovation. We need this for a number of critical technologies. This plan is a systematic and methodological approach to create synergies”, tweeted Vestager.