EU Unites Against Cyberattacks

October 30, 2017  |  By Holly Dragoo

The EU Parliament is in negotiations to formally declare cyberattacks potentially sufficient to meet the threshold for invoking the mutual defense clause of the EU Treaty. If passed, the act would designate some cyberattacks as acts of war, allow for shared “aid and assistance” (unspecified) in the event of a cyberattack, and the doctrinal premise that an attack on one member state would be perceived as an attack on all member states – similar to the well-known Article 5 collective defense provisions in NATO.

IISP Analyst Holly Dragoo: "EU membership is not identical to NATO, but they share many common members and NATO has started to address cyberspace issues; which is no doubt a source of influence for this declaration. This is a seachange for nation-state relations. Defining what constitutes an act of war in cyberspace – as opposed to intelligence operations – has confounded policymakers for more than a decade now. However, challenges now follow, such as: what are the criteria for determining one attack is an act of war over another attack, and how to coordinate a response protocol among members? Nonetheless, this is the first coherent step towards developing a credible deterrence strategy in cyberspace. Hopefully other states will follow suit soon."



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