EU leaders gathering for the European Council meeting Thursday said work on EU sanctions to fight cyberattacks “should be taken forward,” but didnt take concrete actions against Russian hacking attempts revealed earlier this month.
“The European Council condemns the hostile cyberattack carried out against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” the European Council conclusions text said.
“Work on the capacity to respond to and deter cyberattacks through EU restrictive measures should be taken forward,” the conclusions said. Leaders said they were resolved “to further enhance the EUs internal security and our ability and capabilities to detect, prevent, disrupt and respond to hostile activities of foreign intelligence networks and other malicious actors.”
The conclusions didnt make any mention of the Russian state or its military intelligence agency GRU, believed to be behind the attack according to the Netherlands, the U.K., Estonia, Germany and others. The EUs top politicians supported the attribution. Other countries, like France, have expressed solidarity for it.
An EU official said todays conclusions are a step forward in boosting powers to act against cyberattackers. The fact that Russia is not mentioned “is not a drama,” the official said.
Others fear the conclusions miss a sense of urgency to respond to Moscows recent aggression in The Hague.
“This is a missed opportunity,” Marietje Schaake, Dutch Liberal MEP, said in a statement. “Currently, there are often no consequences for attackers. Some member states apparently do not see the urgency of the need to stop the digital arms race.”
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