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17 April 2013, 11:50

EU parliament renews ENISA mandate

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ENISA logo On Tuesday, the European parliament confirmed the working basis of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). 626 of 687 representatives voted in favour of a new regulation that will give a mandate to ENISA for another seven years.

ENISA's task is to support the EU and its member states in the network security field and help with the analysis of security problems. The agency also acts as a centre of expertise that provides guidance in legislative processes related to communication network security. The Vice President of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, also emphasised the agency's significance for the EU's cybersecurity strategy. In this area, ENISA should act as an interface between the Computer Emergency Response Teams of individual member states and the EU CERT and cooperate with law enforcement and data protection agencies, said Kroes.

The seat of the agency, which has been located in Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete since 2004, was a controversial issue to the end. The parliamentary rapporteur responsible clearly advocated relocating ENISA to Brussels. Conservative MP Ingeborg Gräßle agreed, saying that an island that is difficult to reach in winter can hardly be the right location for an agency that is responsible for such core issues. However, having debated the agency's future for three years, the MPs ultimately yielded in the location question. The regulation stipulates that an official second office will be established in Athens.

Another structural change is the introduction of an Executive Board. The members of the Executive Board will be chosen from the Management Board, which includes one representative from each member state and two EU Commission representatives; this is to allow the Management Board to "focus on issues of strategic importance". The MPs agreed to keep in place the Permanent Stakeholder Group (PSG) that includes representatives from private companies such as Google, SAP and Verizon as well as a number of scientists. Kroes said that this structure will contribute to enhancing ENISA's "effectiveness and efficiency". The Vice President anticipates an annual saving potential of up to €350,000. The agency's budget for 2013 is €8.5 million.

(Monika Ermert / sno)

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