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Brussels, 2nd February 2007

Commission takes first step towards improving critical infrastructure protection

How can the protection of European critical infrastructure in the energy and transport sectors be improved if no common definition has been agreed? To answer this fundamental question, the European Commission today adopted a Communication on the protection of critical infrastructure in energy and transport setting out criteria which can be used to identify European infrastructure in this area.

“We must be sure that, if new protective measures at European level are necessary, they are targeted at the infrastructure which needs them most. The first step is to lay down criteria enabling that infrastructure to be identified”, said Jacques Barrot, Commission Vice-President in charge of Transport. Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner, added that “European consumers are often reliant on infrastructure in other Member States for their energy supply. Critical infrastructure must be identified to improve its protection, if necessary.”

The Communication presents the results of the initial consultation exercise with Member States’ representatives and stakeholders at European level. It sets out a number of criteria with which European critical infrastructure in these two sectors – where it exists – can be identified. Precise criteria will make identification easier and ensure that it is harmonised across the Member States, and thus eliminate any weaknesses that could be exploited by criminals or terrorists.

The Communication is the first sector-based contribution towards implementing the recently adopted European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection. Once the proposal for a Directive on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructure aimed at improving its protection has been adopted by the Council, the criteria laid down in the Communication can be applied.

Given the sensitivity of the contents of the document, it is not available to the public.
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