On the 2nd February, the Final Event of Interreg Europe CYBER was hosted by the European Committee of Regions in Brussels. Marking the end of a five year long European project. As partner in the project and the main voice of the European cybersecurity industry, the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) has supported Interreg Europe CYBER’s goal in boosting competitiveness of the European cybersecurity SMEs (small and medium enterprises) by creating synergies among European Cybersecurity Smart Regions. At its Final Event on the 2nd February 2023 in Brussels, Interreg Europe CYBER presented the results, strategic plans developed and shared exchange of good practices.
The Final Event on the 2nd February, displayed not only the progresses made throughout the project, but also the wide range of opportunities opened to continue implementing the Partner’s action plans and making a difference in Europe’s cybersecurity ecosystem.
The event consisted of panel discussions focusing on different aspects of the European cybersecurity ecosystem, from the public-private collaboration in the cybersecurity field, to the lack of personnel and the ever growing skills gap, and how this affects the SMEs’ competitiveness. The debates provided interventions from high level representatives from the Partner’s ecosystems, EU representatives, public authorities, and more.
Milda Kaklauskaite, Senior Policy manager at ECSO, states in an interview that ECSO has since long stressed the importance of regions and the role they play in European cybersecurity. Overall, European regions have lacked recognition as important cybersecurity actors, however, they can ensure cohesive EU cybersecurity policy by linking the local users, research centres, and suppliers of cybersecurity solutions with the national and the European stakeholders. In this sense, regions have the greatest potential to connect technology with end users, assist local SMEs and provide business support and access to innovative technologies.
Similarly, Sara Minisini, CYBER Project Coordinator from Bretagne Développement Innovation, builds on the importance od regions and claims that one of the biggest results from the five year European project CYBER is that real trusted relationships and collaborations have developed among the seven partners involved in project (Bretagne Développement Innovation, Region Bretagne, Regione Toscana, Estonian Information Authority, Institute for Business Competitiveness of Castilla y León, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Kosice IT Valley, Digital Wallonia, ECSO). She proceeds to acknowledge the importance of cooperation among private and public partners that will lead to a competitive and innovative European cybersecurity ecosystem.
To foster such cooperation, ECSO has also launched the European Digital Innovation Hubs initiative (EDIHs) consisting of a strong European network of regions to promote cross-border collaboration, expertise and services on digital transformation, especially for stakeholders with limited knowledge of cybersecurity. Consequently, European cybersecurity community building is unimaginable without contribution of the regions.