The Slovenia Times

Slovenia cofounding cyber capacity centre in Montenegro

Digital operations. Photo: dpa/STA

Slovenia, France and Montenegro are creating a regional cyber capacity centre in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica where experts will get training in cyber security and the fight against cyber crime.

The agreement to establish the Western Balkans Cyber Capacity Centre was signed on the sidelines of the Berlin Process Summit in Tirana on 16 October by Slovenian President Nataša Pirc Musar, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Laurence Boone and Montenegrin Prime Minister Dritan Abazović.

"The improvement of the cyber resilience of the Western Balkans must go in lock-step with the improvement of European and global cyber resilience," Pirc Musar said at the signing.

She argued for leveraging artificial intelligence to combat disinformation, but said such a project should be financed by the UN or other international organisations because it would not attract sufficient commercial interest.

The centre will be primarily dedicated to training experts in cyber security, cybercrime law enforcement, cyber diplomacy and personal data protection, but it will also serve as a forum for networking and exchange of best practices.

The first training of experts as part of the capacity was held in May this year, led by a representative of the Slovenian National Cyber Security Response Centre SI-CERT along with experts from France and the Western Balkans.

According to information on its website, SI-CERT has been supporting the development of cyber security response centres in the region since 2011.

The idea for the regional cyber capacity hub was inspired by France's experience regarding similar centres in other parts of the world. France and Slovenia initiated the project at the turn of their respective EU presidency stints to emphasize the European support for the Western Balkans.

Addressing the Berlin Process Summit, President Pirc Musar said the EU enlargement must not be just one political possibility, but a geostrategic necessity. She reiterated Slovenia's firm commitment to support the region's fastest possible integration into the EU.

Involving countries from the region, several EU member states and the UK, the Berlin Process aims to bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU through concrete projects of connectivity in business, infrastructure, energy and digitalisation. The ultimate goal of these is to accelerate the enlargement process.


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