Critical infrastructure

  

The atrocities of 11 September 2001 in New York, the Madrid train bombing in 2004 and the London Underground attacks in July 2005 have indicated terrorists' willingness to target infrastructures such as transport, energy and communication. On 12 December 2006, the European Commission adopted a Communication to improve the protection of European Critical Infrastructure (ECI) from terrorism.

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Overview

The European Commission wants to co-ordinate efforts in member states and reassure the public that efficient alert and information systems are in place to protect the main elements of critical infrastructure. In its main policy document, 'Critical infrastructure protection in the fight against terrorism’' from 2004, the Commission offers this broad description: 

"Critical infrastructures consist of those physical and information technology facilities, networks, services and assets which, if disrupted or destroyed, would have a serious impact on the health, safety, security or economic well-being of citizens or the effective functioning of governments in the member states. Critical infrastructures extend across many sectors of the economy, including banking and finance, transport and distribution, energy, utilities, health, food supply and communications, as well as key government services." 

In the Green Paper on Critical Infrastructure, published on 24 November 2005, the Commission adressed key issues such as against what threats the EPCIP should protect, the definition of what is EU critical infrastructure and what is national critical infrastructure and the role of owners and operators of infrastructure.

The EPCIP identifies the following ECI sectors:

  • Energy;
  • nuclear industry;
  • information, communication technologies, ICT;
  • water;
  • food;
  • health;
  • financial;
  • transport;
  • chemical industry;
  • space,and;
  • research facilities.
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