EU, U.S. Reaffirm Cyber Partnership

EU US European Union

Following the fifth EU-U.S. Cyber Dialogue last month in Brussels, the United States and the European Union today released a statement reaffirming their “strong partnership in favour of a global, open, stable and secure cyberspace where the rule of law fully applies, where the same rights that individuals have offline are protected online, and where the security, economic growth, prosperity, and integrity of free and democratic societies is promoted and preserved.”

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The Sep. 10 meeting was co-chaired by U.S. Department of State Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues Michele Markoff and European External Action Service Acting Head of Division for Security Policy Rory Domm. During the meeting, the European Union and United States shared updates on their cyber strategies, policies, and legislation and discussed the importance of coordinate and cooperation to “protect against, detect, deter, and respond to malicious cyber activities.”

A key topic of discussion was human rights, as well as freedoms online. During the meeting, the EU and U.S. reaffirmed their commitment to human rights and “fundamental” freedoms online, as well as “condemned undue restrictions on freedom of expression and censorship in violation of international human rights law.” They also promoted the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance, and promoted the Internet Governance Forum as the “premier multi-stakeholder venue for dialogue on Internet-related public policy issues.”

The digital divide, a frequent topic of conversation in the United States, was also discussed. Both the EU and U.S. agreed that closing the digital divide is essential to enabling “economic growth, social development, and increasing cyber resilience towards cyber threats.”

The issue of cyber warfare was also discussed and both entities recommitted to adhering to “certain voluntary, non-binding norms of responsible State behaviour in cyberspace during peacetime.” Additionally, both sides were open to the “the development and implementation of cyber confidence building measures to reduce misperceptions and the risk of escalation stemming from the use of information and communications technologies.” Both the U.S. and EU stressed their commitment to holding nations accountable for any actions that run contrary to “the growing consensus” on how states should behave in cyberspace.

The next EU-U.S. Cyber Dialogue will take place in 2019 in Washington, D.C.

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