European Commission - Press release
Commission acts to enhance protection of critical infrastructure in two member states
Brussels, 24 November 2011 – Two EU countries do not live up to European standards in pointing out their critical infrastructure. According to EU law, all EU member states must identify what infrastructure on their territory is in need of extra protection from terrorism or natural disasters – such as vital energy or transportation facilities. Today, the European Commission, on the initiative of Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, requested Cyprus and Luxembourg take action to ensure full compliance with the rules. The disruption or collapse of vital infrastructure would not only threaten the security of European citizens, but could also have a hugely negative effect on the economy.
Member States already protect their critical infrastructures through a variety of means, but such infrastructures are increasingly interdependent and the failure of one of them can rapidly affect others across borders. The 2008 EU Directive on European Critical Infrastructures aims to enhance the protection of important infrastructures and to ensure that the effects of their possible disruption or destruction are better controlled and minimised at EU level. Such European Critical Infrastructure should be identified and designated by means of a common procedure and the need to improve their protection should be assessed. Member States had until 12 January of this year to carry out these.
On 17 March 2011 the Commission sent letters of formal notice to Belgium, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta who had failed to communicate full legal implementation. Belgium and Malta have since notified the Commission of implementing measures. As no or only partial measures have been adopted and notified to the Commission yet by the other two countries, it decided to send reasoned opinions asking them to remedy that breach of EU law (Article 258 TFEU). If action to ensure compliance is not taken, the Commission may decide to refer the Member States to the European Court of Justice, which may impose financial sanctions.
Directive 2008/114/EC establishes a procedure for identifying and designating European Critical Infrastructures (ECI) and a common approach for assessing the need to improve their protection.
As such, this Directive currently covers the energy and transport sectors and will be reviewed in 2012.
The threats it aims to respond to are not confined to terrorism, but also include criminal activities, natural disasters and accidents.
While the ultimate responsibility for protecting critical infrastructures within their national borders lies with Member States, and the owners or operators of such infrastructures, action at EU level complements that of Member States.
For more information
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
Homepage DG Home Affairs:
Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)
Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)