Senior officials from NATO and the European Union met to launch a new NATO-EU Task Force on Resilience of Critical Infrastructure. Cooperation to strengthen critical infrastructure has become even more important in light of the sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines, and Russia’s weaponisation of energy as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine.
First announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in January, the initiative brings together officials from both organisations to share best practices, share situational awareness, and develop principles to improve resilience. The Task Force will begin by focusing on four sectors: energy, transport, digital infrastructure, and space.
Announcing the initiative in January, Mr Stoltenberg said: "We want to look together at how to make our critical infrastructure, technology and supply chains more resilient to potential threats, and to take action to mitigate potential vulnerabilities. This will be an important step in making our societies stronger and safer."
NATO-EU cooperation has reached unprecedented levels in recent years, and particularly since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. In January, NATO and EU leaders signed a new joint declaration to take partnership between the organisations to a new level, including on emerging and disruptive technologies, space, and the security impact of climate change.
Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană participated virtually at the Cybersec Global 2022 event. Focusing on the tensions between Russia and Ukraine during his keynote speech, the Deputy Secretary General stressed that NATO has been working with Ukraine for years to increase its cyber defences, and will continue to do so at pace.
He said: “The use of hybrid attacks against Ukraine, including cyber-attacks and disinformation, as well as the massing of advanced weapons on its borders, underlines the key role of advanced technology in modern warfare”.
The Deputy Secretary General pointed out that “China and Russia are investing heavily and deploying new technologies with little regard for human rights or international law, aggressively challenging our technological edge”. He recalled that last summer Allies had agreed a new comprehensive cyber defence policy for NATO and went on to say that “we are strengthening our cyber defences and increasing the resilience of our critical infrastructure and supply chains to reduce our vulnerabilities”.
The Deputy Secretary General also noted NATO’s leading role with regard to the new technologies, in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, biotechnology, big data, hypersonics, quantum computing and space. He underlined that to avoid any technology gaps, “we are making sure that transatlantic innovation benefits all Allies”. Mr. Geoană emphasized that NATO’s strength comes from its unity and its ability to adapt to remain strong and “retaining our technological edge is a big part of this”, he added.