Four EU pilot projects prepare the way for the European Cybersecurity Centre and Competence Network

CONCORDIA, ECHO, SPARTA and CyberSec4Europe are the four pilot projects chosen to address the Horizon 2020 Cybersecurity call “Establishing and operating a pilot for a European Cybersecurity Competence Network and developing a common European Cybersecurity Research & Innovation Roadmap”.

The purpose of a European Cybersecurity Network and Competence Centre is to retain and develop the cybersecurity technological and industrial capacities of the EU necessary to secure its Digital Single Market; and to strengthen and sustain Europe’s cybersecurity competence, placing Europe in a leading position in the cybersecurity marketplace.

Each of the four projects has a different but complementary approach to these shared common goals. The four projects cooperate and coordinate their activities extensively, working together with Europe’s cybersecurity ecosystem to advance and strengthen the way cybersecurity research, innovation and deployment is performed in Europe. The broad range of cybersecurity-related activities include demonstration test- and use-cases in eHealth, finance, telecommunications, smart cities and transportation. The use of cyber ranges, training and education programmes to tackle the cybersecurity skills gap in the EU will help deliver innovative marketable solutions, made in the EU, that will address the future cross-domain cybersecurity challenges to the security of the Digital Single Market.

Joint Communications Cyber Competence Network presentation – June 2021

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said:

We are counting on CONCORDIA, ECHO, SPARTA and CyberSec4Europe to assist us in pooling Europe’s cybersecurity expertise and preparing the European cybersecurity landscape in order to efficiently implement our vision for a more secure digital Europe. These projects will assist EU in defining, testing and establishing the governance model of a European Cybersecurity Competence Network of cybersecurity centres of excellence.

The four pilot projects bring together over 160 partners, including large companies, SMEs, universities and cybersecurity research institutes, from 25 EU Member States and 5 non EU Member States. The overall EU investment in these projects will be more than 63.5 MEUR.


The public private partnership on cybersecurity[1] created in 2016 was an important first step aimed at triggering up to 1.8 BEUR of investment. According to a survey at the time, at least 80% of European companies had experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the previous year and the number of security incidents across all industries worldwide rose by 38% in 2015. This damages European companies, large and small, and threatens to undermine trust in the digital economy.

Recent reports indicate that cybercrime is getting better organized and becoming more widespread. It is expected that the impact of cybercrime will rise to more than 5 TEUR by 2021. It is worth mentioning that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses, which obviously do not have the resources and financial capabilities to invest in cybersecurity.

The EU needed to do more in terms of investment and to overcome the fragmentation of capacities spread across the EU. In this context, the Commission announced[2] its intention to create a Cybersecurity Competence Network with a European Cybersecurity Research and Competence Centre. The proposal is to establish a Network of National Coordination Centres, a Cybersecurity Competence Community and a European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre.