Estonia, 5 more EU member states set up Lithuanian-led EU cyber force

  • 2020-03-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Six European countries on Wednesday signed an agreement on the creation of the Lithuanian-led European Union Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs).

Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands and Romania signed a memorandum of understanding in Zagreb, which hosted an informal meeting of EU defense ministers, on Wednesday evening. 

Under the agreement, international teams will be on standby in different countries, ready to respond to a cyber attack at any time.

The memorandum legally enables the operation of the force in different countries' jurisdictions, defines the teams' operation mechanism, their legal status, role and procedures.

"Formed by civilian and military experts, the CRRTs will join neutralization and investigation of dangerous cyber incidents virtually or, if necessary, physically," the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said in a press release.  

"Having made a breakthrough in strengthening its national cyber capability, Lithuania is also stepping up international cooperation, which will help counter cyber threats, share knowledge and conduct joint exercises," Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis told BNS.

"This is a clear concrete example of non-military contribution by EU member countries to enhancing European defense and support for NATO's defense and deterrence efforts," he added.

Lithuania raised the idea of an EU rapid cyber response force back in 2017. A multinational CRRT made up of Lithuanians, Dutch, Poles and Romanians have been on standby since the start of 2020.

The newly created CRRTs are a part of the European Union's Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), founded in 2018, which enables for EU member states to engage in greater defense cooperation.