24 Mar 2022

Increase security spending to 3% of GDP, with 1% dedicated to emerging technologies

Ahead of the NATO and European summits today, DIGITALEUROPE urges leaders to bolster their cooperation with the private sector, and invest in a strong and resilient security policy with digital technologies at its heart:

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world. Our support goes out to the Ukrainian people who are suffering unimaginable horrors.

There are no positives in this war, but we note that Europe and its NATO allies are standing shoulder to shoulder. The response has been swift, united and resolute. Furthermore, we see historic commitments by leaders to finally match the 2% defence spending target.

We need to take note of the digital aspects of this war. Before the first troops entered Ukraine, Russia had been subjecting Ukraine to years of cyber warfare. This has disrupted critical infrastructure and weakened the state, in preparation for military invasion.

Artificial intelligence and drones are already revolutionising warfare, and new technologies like quantum computing are set to change the way we look at cybersecurity. It is vital that the EU and its NATO allies stay at the forefront of technological advances and strengthen their cooperation with the private sector for an effective crisis response.

We must build efficient governance structures between the EU and its member states, NATO and the private sector, so that we are ready to work together and respond in times of crisis. This is especially the case in critical sector areas, such as banking, energy or healthcare. A good example for inspiration is the European Central Bank’s Euro Cyber Resilience Board.

Impressive tech innovations are no longer coming from governments, but from technology companies, and often smaller players. It is therefore vital for our resilience to build an innovative tech ecosystem in the EU and in NATO allied countries.

This requires investment. NATO showed impressive leadership in its collaboration with the private sector last year, setting up the Advisory Group on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies and implementing the NATO Investment Fund and the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA).

In addition, 20% of the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility was dedicated to digital spending for the first time ever. In the US, digital infrastructure has been central to the Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

In the context of a devastating pandemic followed by a devastating war, we call on NATO leaders to increase their spending target to 3% of GDP, with 1% dedicated to funding for emerging and disruptive technologies.

We are finally taking our collective security seriously, and now we need to make sure that digital technology is at the heart of our security and defence policy.

For more information, please contact:
Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
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