EU’s Digitalization Push Focuses On IT Skills And Cyber Security: Commissioner

The attempt of digitization of the European Union would crucially depend on ensuring cyber security and the fast development of IT skills, believes the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society – Mariya Gabriel.

“Security is a top priority for European citizens, but digitization adds one more dimension to it — cyber security,” Gabriel said while addressing a conference on e-governance at during the week end.

Gabriel said that the EU wants every member state to be ready for fighting cyber crime and for that purpose they should be able to react as quickly as possible to cyber threats. This would be possible by constituting a computer security incident response team in every member country under the provisions of the EU Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems, a new system of guidelines that is implementable on May 9 this year.

“I dare to say that this is one of the biggest challenges,” she said.

She said that one can take a very good lesson of what could happen to personal data in many sensitive areas because of cyber attacks can be had from the WannaCry ransomware attack that took place last May that impacted millions of computers worldwide and most were left helpless to tackle the threat.

She further claimed that most of the member states of the EU took more than 48 hours to react to the attack because the attack took place on Friday and there were no teams in the member states that works for 24 hours and seven days a week. hence IT specialists could only tackle the situation on Monday when the offices reopened.

Gabriel said that consumers could become aware of a cyber attack within a very short period of time in case of an attack under the provisions of the general regulation on personal data protection.

She further stated that experts and policy makers should not ignore the possibility of such a cyber attack being targeted at office and departments which help store administrative information.

Gabriel said that at the same time, the number one focus of the region should be the  development of digital skills because “if we do not invest in people’s skills, we will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of the digital transformation.”

“Currently, the numbers are more than scary,” she said.

“Eighty million Europeans can not use the Internet. The risk to these people of more poverty, more social exclusion, more fragmentation and polarization in our society is very high,” Gabriel said.

“One hundred and sixty-nine million Europeans do not have basic digital skills, and we already know that after 2020, 90 percent of jobs will require basic digital skills,” she added

(Adapted from


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