Friday, 3 August 2007

UK ‘Not Interested’ In European Network Agency

The European Commission has recently adopted a Communication
– Evaluation of the European Network and Information Security
Agency. The European Network and Information Security Agency
(ENISA) was created in 2004 for a period of five years with the task
of “ensuring a high and effective level of network and information
security within the Community … in order to develop a culture of
network and information security for the benefit of the citizens,
consumers, enterprises and public sector organisations of the European
Union, thus contributing to the smooth functioning of the
internal market.” Their recent Communication presents the
conclusions of an external panel of experts that carried out an
assessment of the Agency and the recommendations of the ENISA
Management Board (comprising of Member State, Commission
and stakeholder representatives) with regards to the ENISA

The report says that the “Agency’s activities appear insufficient to
achieve the high level of impacts and value added hoped for, and its
visibility is below expectations.” Moreover, there are several
problems that affect the capacity of the Agency to perform at its
best, such as its “organisational structure, the skills mix and the size of
its operational staff, the remote location, and the lack of focus on
impacts rather than on deliverables.”

In the Communication, the Commission summarises, rather
positively, the recommendations of the Evaluation Panel on the
future of ENISA after 2009. They recommend: the extension of the
Agency’s mandate, maintaining its original chief objectives but
taking into account the current experience. They also believe that
the Agency’s size and resources should be increased. The Panel has
also suggested moving the Agency to Athens or another city with a
greater international environment.

The European Scrutiny Committee is not pleased with the
Explanatory Memorandum from the Minister of State for Industry
and the Regions, Margaret Hodge. According to the Committee, the
Commission Communication “suggests that this agency was created
on an unsound basis, which was compounded by it then being sited in
the wrong place for the wrong reasons.” The Committee has
considered Margaret Hodge’s response very disappointing – “it is as
if the UK had no interest in the question, but was content to let the
Commission and others take the lead and then react, notwithstanding
the present unsatisfactory state of affairs.” Therefore, the Committee
has demanded further explanation on this issue from the

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