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EU: Telecoms Council

Volume 711: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009

Statement

The following Statement provides the agenda items for which BERR has responsibility at the forthcoming Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (Telecoms Council) in Luxembourg on 11 June 2009. Andy Lebrecht (Deputy Permanent Representative in Brussels) will represent the United Kingdom.

The only substantive item on the agenda is an exchange of views regarding European network and information security policy. To guide the exchange of views, the Czech presidency has issued a paper ahead of the council which includes asking the Ministers three questions, the first is what are the medium to long-term aims of a strengthened network and information security policy at EU level while the second and third relate to the future of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

This work has various strands, including the recently published Commission's recent communication on critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP). I recently placed a Explanatory Memorandum (EM 8375/09) with both Houses on this communication. This communication was also recently discussed at a ministerial conference on CIIP in Tallinn in April, which proposed that the content of the communication and the conclusions of the conference should be discussed at the next TTE Council.

This is unlikely to be a controversial agenda item. Regarding the UK's interventions, we will welcome the opportunity to debate this essential issue and will suggest that the Community needs to be clear on what it wants to achieve in network and information security policy terms. We will be seeking to establish principles that lead to a policy that can deliver measurable benefit and add to, rather than subtract from, the ICT sector's ability to drive growth and recovery.

Regarding ENISA, we will say that it is to early in the debate to say whether we still need to retain the agency in the long term. First, we need to establish the policy priorities and then assess the extent to which they can be achieved through an agency and whether this represents value for money.

Finally on this agenda item, overall, the UK is generally supportive of the projected work plan set out in the Commission communication on CIIP and believes that the closer collaboration with industry and the increased drive to achieve preparedness so all member states are capable and prepared to respond to an emergency is extremely good news. This will be followed by two items under any other business which are on Internet of Things—An Action Plan for Europe and Information from the Commission and Ministerial Conference—Safer Internet for Children (Prague, 20 April 2009)—Information from the Presidency.

The former item will see the Commission present a short paper entitled Internet of Things—An Action Plan for Europe and Information from the Commission. This paper lays out the challenges that this subject brings if Europe is to realise its ambitions in this space. The paper also mentions that the Commission will publish a communication on the subject in the coming weeks. This will also present an opportunity for presidency and Commission to report on the recent conference in Prague on the future of the internet, at which, among other issues, the Internet of Things was discussed.

The second item will be a readout by the presidency regarding its conference on Safer Internet for Children that took place recently in Prague. The end result of the conference was the adoption of the Prague declaration by all member states entitled New European Approach for Safer Internet and Children, the aim of which is to see enhanced co-operation by all stakeholders across Europe, which will lead to safer use of the internet by children. The Department for Children, Schools and Families led on this conference.

There is unlikely to be a debate on these two issues and therefore I do not plan to intervene.