Brussels, 3 May 2006
European Court of Justice confirms legality of the establishment of the European Network and Information Security Agency
Yesterday, the European Court of Justice confirmed that the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), established in 2004 with its seat now in Heraklion (Greece), was correctly established on the basis of the single market clause in Article 95 of the EC Treaty. The Court thereby rejected a legal challenge made by the United Kingdom.
“Network and information security is of key economic importance for the stability of the European economy, for the security of our society and to win the trust of consumers in new technologies”, Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, commented. “The Court’s judgement confirms the Commission’s view that rules which guarantee such safe, stable and trustworthy IT networks in Europe can be adopted on the basis of the EC Treaty’s single market rules. I am particularly glad that today’s ruling also gives legal certainty to the staff of ENISA in Greece, which I visited three weeks ago and whose valuable work I saw with my own eyes. I intend to make ENISA a key element of the Commission’s future work on network and IT security.”
The single market clause of Article 95 of the EC Treaty provides for the adoption of Community-wide rules which improve the single market by qualified majority in the Council, by a proposal from the Commission and in co-decision with the European Parliament. The United Kingdom had challenged the establishment of ENISA, which in its view should have been made by unanimity in the Council and with consultation of the European Parliament only (EC Treaty Article 308).
The judgement of the European Court of Justice confirms that Community agencies which contribute to the proper functioning of the single market can be established on the basis of the single market clause even where their powers are essentially non-regulatory in nature. The European Court of Justice also held that single market rules do not necessarily need to have Member States as their addressees. The ECJ in particular highlights the close connection between the work of ENISA and the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, which have as their objective the single market in the field of telecommunication services.
The Commission will present a Strategic Communication on Network and
Information Security at the end of May.