EUROPEAN THINK-TANK REVIEW – IX. (March 2014)

Written by | Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
@Eubulletin

A Resilient Europe for an Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace
Myriam Dunn Cavelty (Swedish Institute of International Affairs)

Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent, more organized, better funded and more dangerous. Therefore, the volume of resources spent on cyber defense is growing globally, but the European Union continuously avoids the debate over strategies for cyber defense. And this is despite of the fact that in reality the EU creates such strategies ad hoc when faced with various increasingly complex challenges to its security. Generally speaking, a good, effective strategy should consist of two components – the ability to resist cyber-attacks and external cyber capabilities.
Since the 1990s, the software infrastructure is regarded as crucial whereby its long-term breakdown has the potential to cause social and political crisis. Market mechanisms do not provide a sufficient level of security, nor can the states or transnational actors provide security. The European Commission has started to look closely at cyber security after cyber-attacks in Estonia in 2007. In 2013, the “an open, safe and secure cyberspace” strategy was adopted in combination with the Directive on Information and Network Security.
The fundamental problem in creating a unified cyber strategy is the disagreement between experts on the level of risk. There is no complete picture of the number of individual attacks on businesses or government networks, because these actors lack the capacity to detect these attacks or do not disclose the information. The frequency of such attacks in the future is therefore completely unpredictable. Despite these obstacles, the EU needs a strategy based on “toughness” – a robust, layered system with flexible options for replacing individual subsystems and high adaptability to deter potential attackers. The key does not lie in creating a perfect defense, but in the cyber network settings so that even in case of serious attacks the EU could quickly choose from the multiple versions of backup solutions.
The EU should act as a civilian cyber-power. Conflicting perspectives of some state actors on internet relations creates an antagonistic zero-sum game, where there is no common profit for all the parties involved. An open and secure internet is under the pressure from “cybersovereign” politics “. Currently, there appears to be its securitization and militarization; it ceases to be democratic, anonymous and free, which are the values that the EU should promote even in the cyberspace. Unlike land, sea and air, the cyberspace is entirely man-made and is constantly influenced by political and economic pressures.
(The study can be uploaded here:  http://www.europeanglobalstrategy.eu/nyheter/125446)

Economic and Monetary Union Reform: Political Ambition or Division
Dominique Perrut (Robert Schuman Foundation)

Euro crisis revealed two constitutive weaknesses of the euro. The first is the lack of real budgetary and economic union that would be responsible for the convergence of national economies. The second problem is the way of banking supervision operates and how rescue measures (bail-outs) are used – these remained decentralized and in the hands of Member States. Also, a vicious circle was created between banks and state’s sovereign debt, particularly in Ireland and the southern European countries. Additional cracks, such as the rigged banks’ balance sheets in the absence of uniform evaluation methods assets, are effectively contributing to the prolongation of economic crisis. Finally, the differences between the economies of individual euro area countries need to be mentioned here as well. For example, while unemployment in Spain in late 2012 reached 25.1 %, it was 15.9 % in Portugal and 4.4% in Austria.
In another part of the policy paper, Dominique Perrut looks for existing reform measures designed to stabilize the economic and monetary union. This reform is based on two main pillars – banking union and economic governance. The structure of the banking union consists of two parts, which are the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) and the single restructuring mechanism (SRM). Thanks to the SSM banks whose total balance exceeds € 30 billion or 20 % of GDP of their home country, those who will receive EU assistance will be under direct supervision of the European Central Bank (ECB)
Economic governance can be understood as a set of economic and budgetary rules, which form a part of two legislative packages (the so-called six-pack and two-pack) and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG). The six-pack is a framework for economic and budgetary discipline, which applies to all 28 member states; the two-pack is serving members of the euro area as a coordinating and supervisory structure. In the final section, the author declares that the Member States of the Union have shown a willingness to accept reform measures, while he wonders if their will is sufficient to enable them to face other risks of the single market.
(The study can be uploaded here: http://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/european-issues/0297-the-reform-of-the-economic-and-monetary-union-political-ambition-or-divide)

Running into the Sand? The EU’s Faltering Response to the Arab Revolutions
Edward Burke (Centre for European Reform)

At the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring, the European leaders were very optimistic about the future development in the Arab countries. Although their original expectations ended in disappointment, they still have a chance to encourage a positive change towards democratic and socio-economic reforms through a more efficient use of European aid and influence.
Unless the economic difficulties and high unemployment rate in the southern neighborhood of the European Union can be mitigated, Europe will have to face serious consequences in terms of political unrest, migration and the rise of Islamic extremism. The EU must therefore seek to facilitate the reduction of the level of political, social and economic problems of the southern Mediterranean while also get prepared that it will have to face increased security challenges arising from this region.
The author outlines several steps that would contribute to the improvement of the overall situation in the region, while highlighting the need to adopt a pragmatic approach that will be able to adapt to distinct political and socio-economic settings in individual Arab countries. The European Union should then invest in a reform of the state administration, the judiciary, education system and promote regional North African free trade zone, which would contribute to the long-term sustainable economic growth and stability in the region. Simultaneously, the EU must strengthen regional security cooperation and increase its financial assistance to those States whose governments are genuinely implementing democratizing reforms, as is the case of Morocco or Tunisia.
(The study can be uploaded here:http://www.cer.org.uk/publications/archive/essay/2013/running-sand-eus-faltering-response-arab-revolutions)

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