Ilves, Bildt Tackle Cybersecurity in Brussels Forum ‘Mystery Session’
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Elizabeth Boswell Rega
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BRUSSELS (March 17, 2013) – On the final day of Brussels Forum, Estonian President Toomas Ilves said that some countries are trying to turn cyberattacks to their advantage.
“Certain countries say, ‘We will take up the cybersecurity issue, but you need to give up the freedom of speech on the Internet’,” he said. “The EU is not willing to give that up, the U.S. is not willing to give that up.”
Ilves was speaking at Brussels Forum, an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, congressional representatives, parliamentarians, and academics.
Speaking on the same panel focused on cybersecurity, which Brussels Forum participants chose on Friday, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that cyberattacks have different sources, and therefore different approaches to shut them down. “If it’s a state actor, we have to take it up in different ways,” he said. “But if it’s a non-state actor, it’s a law enforcement issue.”
In an earlier session on what Europe wants from the United States, Franco Frattini, justice and chamber president of the Italian Supreme Administrative Court, said “a stronger Europe is in the interest of the U.S.” He explained that there “are some areas where Europe should lead” such as the Balkans, Mediterranean, and North Africa. “Now more than ever, American involvement is needed in North Africa, but Europe should take the lead.”
Pierre Vimont, executive secretary general of the European External Action Service, said there is a disconnect between the two sides of the Atlantic. “Europe complains that the U.S. leadership is missing,” he said. “And the Americans strike back to say that Europe should be more forthcoming.”
Latvian Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks echoed these statements, saying that the United States should not take Europe for granted. “The European interest is to remind from time to time the ‘old husband’ that the ‘old wife’ is still here,” he said.
Brussels Forum concluded with a conversation with Christopher A. Kojm, chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council. In speaking about the Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report, he said that the world will see a continued rise of the middle class. “We are looking at a time in history when, for the first time, the majority in the world will not be living in absolute poverty,” he said. “But this global middle class will present assertions and desire on governments that their governments will have a hard time meeting.” He went on to say that “leaderships in every country are starting at the same problems.”
Brussels Forum is an annual conference on transatlantic relations organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and attended by heads of state, officials from the EU institutions and member states, U.S. officials, Congressional representatives, Parliamentarians, and academics. GMF is joined in this initiative by its founding partners Daimler and the Federal Authorities of Belgium, as well as its strategic partners BP, the OCP Foundation, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia, Bank of America, and the Government of Montenegro. In addition, GMF recognizes the support of its forum partners the European Union Delegation to the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Liberal Forum, Deloitte, NYSE Euronext, the Brussels Capital Region, the Centre for European Studies, and NATO. Dinner program partners include IBM, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford Motor Company, the Secure World Foundation, European Investment Bank, Facebook, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Star Alliance is the official airline network of Brussels Forum.