Do the Nordics need a common cyber security strategy?
Updated 30 January 2023 Published 10 December 2022
“Cyber security issues are more relevant than ever. In recent years, the number of serious cyberattacks has grown. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has a direct effect on the Nordic Region in many ways. We are therefore calling for a common cyber security strategy for the Nordic Region,” says Erkki Tuomioja, President of the Nordic Council.
Cyber security has been high on the agenda of Nordic co-operation on defence in recent years. Nordic Defence Co-operation’s (Nordefco’s) vision for 2025 states that the Nordic countries must undertake to improve resilience against cyberthreats. This is being done in the working group for cyberdefence and in the ad hoc working group for cyber education.
Cyber security is an important area for Finland, which holds the presidency of the Nordic Council in 2022. Tuomioja emphasises that the number of cyberattacks has grown and that the war in Ukraine has implications for Nordic security. The Finnish presidency of the Nordic Council is therefore calling for a common cyber security strategy.
Cyber security is decisive for Nordic innovation
Iceland drew up a cyber security strategy for 2022 to 2037 with an associated five-year action plan to strengthen the country’s cyber security. Among other things, the authorities are planning a large joint exercise to test the reaction force in a scenario where links to the outside world have been disrupted.
The presidium invited Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation for Iceland, to the meeting. Cyber security is one of Sigurbjörnsdóttir’s areas of responsibility.
“Cyber security is not just a security issue; we also need it so that we can fully harness the power of Nordic innovation. There need to be awareness, expertise, and regulations regarding cyber security so that we can future-proof our society. Iceland is therefore calling for a common Nordic strategy for cyber security,” Sigurbjörnsdóttir said at the meeting.
Sigurbjörnsdóttir agrees with the Tuomioja on the importance of stepping up Nordic co-operation on cyber security. She also proposes a Nordic strategy for cyber security as a means of strengthening co-operation. In addition, she emphasises that cyber security is a cornerstone in the development of the Nordic Region’s competitiveness in terms of Nordic innovation.
“Make a decision”
Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir is calling on the Nordic governments to decide on a common Nordic cyber security strategy.
“The foundations are already in place, but we have to make decisions in all the Nordic countries. Make it possible for the Nordic Region to be at the forefront of co-operation on cyber security. The time is right for a cyber security strategy,” Sigurbjörnsdóttir stressed at the meeting.
On the Finnish presidency’s initiative, this summer the Nordic Council asked the Nordic governments what co-operation on cyber security currently looks like. Their answers provided an opportunity at the December meeting to raise awareness of the debate around a common cyber security strategy.
The meeting in the Danish parliament was the last one this year presided over by Finland. Norway will hold the presidency of the Nordic Council in 2023 and will therefore also chair the meetings of the presidium.