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EU states to form 'rapid response' cyber force

21st June 2018 - 11:41 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Vilnius

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Nine European Union (EU) states are to create rapid response teams to counter cyber attacks within the framework of a new EU defence pact, project leader Lithuania announced on 21 June.

Raimundas Karoblis, Defence Minister of Lithuania, told AFP: ‘Nine states have agreed to join. The goal is to create rotational EU cyber rapid response teams.’

He said his counterparts from Croatia, Estonia, the Netherlands and Romania will join him on 25 June to sign the agreement in Luxembourg while Finland, France, Poland and Spain will join later in 2018.

Teams formed by pooling experts on a rotational basis will be ready to help national authorities to tackle cyber attacks, with the schedule to be approved in 2019, Karoblis said.

The minister said he expected the EU to allocate funds for software and other equipment, adding that talks with EU institutions will continue about legal and technical aspects.

The cyber force will be among the first joint projects launched under a landmark EU defence pact signed in 2017.

The EU's move to establish the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence, known as PESCO, was driven in part by US President Donald Trump's questioning of NATO's relevance and Britain's departure from the bloc.

Lithuania, a lead nation of the cyber defence project, has boosted its cyber capabilities in recent years to tackle what it describes as ‘hostile cyber activities’ from nearby Russia, mostly targeting state institutions and the energy sector.

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