EU to boost cybersecurity in the Western Balkans

An EU multinational cybersecurity programme for the Western Balkans with a budget of €8m will be presented at the end of July. This was announced by Bulgarian EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, in charge of Digital Economy and Society, at the opening of the First Information and Communications Technology Dialogue with the Western Balkans in Brussels.

The initiative aims at enhancing cybersecurity in the region, effectively countering risks of cyberattacks. Its implementation will be kicked off next year.

This programme is in the context of the key areas and new initiatives that will be developed in the years to come. Among them, as Commissioner Gabriel stated, are the introduction of 5G, the development and use of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, the expansion of startup networks, more new digital innovation hubs and digital upskilling initiatives.

“Through our joint commitment and concrete actions to implement the Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, we can achieve even more for businesses and citizens in the region and the EU,” she stressed.

Commissioner Gabriel also pointed out that as a result of the regional roaming agreement that entered into force on 1 July, in just one year, roaming costs in the region have shrunk, ranging from 65% for outgoing calls to 78% for data transmission. They will fall down further as of January 2020.

The political declaration of the leaders of the Western Balkans to support the Digital Agenda for the region, signed a year ago in Sofia, showed a strong commitment and the region is now much more visible on the digital map, Commissioner Gabriel underscored.

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