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Cybersecurity in the EU is a strategic priority for the coming years

cybersecurity in Europe
Natalia García-Barberena

Natalia García-Barberena

Senior Consultant and cybersecurity expert

Cybersecurity is an increasingly pressing issue in the European Union. As digitalization and technological innovation continue to transform society, cybersecurity threats are becoming more complex and sophisticated. These threats range from cybercrime (targeting both individuals and companies), espionage, and cyber-terrorism to malicious attacks on critical infrastructure and sensitive data. According to the Cyber Attack Trends: 2021 Mid-Year Report published by Check point software, cyber-attacks increased by 36% in Europe in the first half of 2021. Moreover, the Europol’s 2021 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment recently shed light on the notable increase of ransomware attacks on public institutions and large companies.

In response to these dynamics, protecting Europe’s digital economy, critical infrastructure, and citizens’ privacy has become a strategic priority for the EU who has developed several components of its programs to fund cybersecurity initiatives such as in Digital Europe, the European Defence Fund or Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe

Within the Cluster 3 Civil Security for Society workprogramme, there is a destination called Increased Cybersecurity including different topics intended to contribute to the achievement of the following impacts:

  • strengthened EU cybersecurity capacities and European Union sovereignty in digital technologies;
  • more resilient digital infrastructures, systems and processes;
  • increased software, hardware and supply chain security;
  • secured disruptive technologies;
  • smart and quantifiable security assurance and certification shared across the EU;
  • reinforced awareness and a common cyber security management and culture;

For the next two years there is a total budget of 119,1 million €, 58,70 for 2023 and 60,40 for 2024. The calls for this year will open next 29 Jun 2023 and will be opened until 23 Nov 2023. The next table summarize the three calls for this period:

Digital Europe Programme

The Digital Europe Programme is another EU program that aims to support the digital transformation of the EU. The program includes 35 million € for actions in relation to the Cybersecurity Emergency Mechanism component on preparedness and mutual assistance and 3 million € for coordination between the cybersecurity civilian and defence spheres. The publication and closing dates for these actions are not yet defined but are expected to be opened in the third quarter of 2023 with deadline in the first quarter of 2024.

European Defence Fund

The European Defence Fund (EDF) is an EU program that aims to support the development of the EU’s defence capabilities.  The EDF includes funding for initiatives related to cybersecurity, such as the development of cybersecurity solutions for defence and the enhancement of cybersecurity of defence systems. For 2023 there is a total budget of 60 million € allocated, and the calls are expected to be opened for submission on 15th June with a deadline on the 22nd of November.  The next table summarize the three topics for this period:


In conclusion, EU has widely endorsed cybersecurity as a strategic priority for the coming years and, as a consequence, has developed several programs to fund cybersecurity initiatives and to support the development of secure and trustworthy digital technologies, the establishment of a European cybersecurity certification framework, and the strengthening of cybersecurity capacities.

Cybersecurity in Europe: practical tips

Here are some practical tips for the presentation of these type of cybersecurity proposals. First of all, it is very important to know in detail the target topic, paying special attention to the challenges that arise, the needs of society, users and relevant entities and the expected impact.

Other important aspect is the active involvement of end-users who in several calls are part of the eligibility conditions and which can often be difficult to achieve. This involvement is of great importance both for the definition of the project and for its implementation as it improves the market exploitability of project results as well as the impact of the action at a broader level, while effectively contributing to EU policies’ implementation.

Another important point to consider in the preparation of the proposals is that they should be multidisciplinary. Trying to integrate the research and technological development carried out during the project with different areas such as research in politics and human and social sciences.

If you need help for your proposal preparation, get the support of professionals who not only understand your project but also know how to fit it into the requirements of the call to optimize the chances of getting the necessary funding. From Zabala Innovation we put ourselves at your disposal with the support of experts on this domain.

Expert person

Natalia García-Barberena
Natalia García-Barberena

Pamplona Office

Senior Consultant and cybersecurity expert