Tag Archives: Libya

Problems Mounts as EU Leaders Gather in Brussels – Again

The heads of EU states and governments will start this weekends Summit by discussing economic issues, naturally. Libya is also on the agenda as news reports claims that the protesters are in fact power-hungry terrorists, and the roundtable is expected to announce their official candidate as new chief of the European Central Bank.

Economic matters, migration, the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Croatia’s accession to the EU are the main themes of the European Council meeting in Brussels on 23-24 June.

They will take stock of the progress achieved on the six legislative proposals on economic governance, the amendment to the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) and on the future ESM (European Stability Mechanism), which are part of the EU’s comprehensive response to the sovereign debt crisis.

The leaders are expected to conclude the first European Semester (the annual monitoring of budgetary policies and structural reforms undertaken by the member states), nominate Mr Mario Draghi as the future President of the European Central Bank and discuss recent developments in the euro zone.

On Friday the European Council will assess implementation of migration policies and will discuss developments in the southern Mediterranean, focusing on Libya, Syria and the Middle East peace process.

The European Council is also expected to call for accession negotiations with Croatia to be concluded by the end of June.

We can expect the EU leaders to spend most time discussing the recent bailout facility.

It’s probably not a coincidence that both EU President Barrose and EU Council President Van Rompuy meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban before the roundtable meeting.

The Hungarians have been one of the critics of Brussels amongst the peripheral EU states who fear the dominance of the political elite in Germany, France and Belgium.

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1st collector for EU Tops Meet With Hungarian Leader
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Opening Statement by Herman Van Rompuy

“I welcome everybody to this meeting of the European Council. And in particular our two new colleagues, Jyrki Katainen from Finland and Pedro Passos Coelho from Portugal. Welcome!”

“We have important work ahead. First we will talk about the European semester, fiscal consolidation, economic growth and jobs. Later on, we will talk about the current problems in the Euro zone, to put it mildly.”

“Tomorrow we will discuss first asylum and migration and at lunch time the Southern Neighbourhood and the Middle East. So let’s get started.”

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Russia Today reports Friday that increasing casualties amongst civilian  have raised serious misgivings about NATO intervention in Libya, even among supporters of the ongoing aerial campaign.

And while the international community is taking sides in the conflict, it is the Libyan people who suffer most.

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“Rebels” are power-hungry terrorists, say Libya… via williambowles.info
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The Stuxnet – Visualized

A video blogger named Hungry Beast is behind this fascinating visualisation of the dangerous computer virusStuxnet – know to be the first cyber weapon ever to be constructed by mankind. You’ll hopefully understand why I’m focusing on what’s going on online at the moment…

Pandora’s box has been opened; on the new battlefield the aggressors are anonymous, the shots are fired without starting wars and the foot soldiers can pull their triggers without leaving their desks.

In June last year, a computer virus called Stuxnet was discovered lurking in the data banks of power plants, traffic control systems and factories around the world. Hungry Beast introduce the video:

Pandora’s box has been opened; on the new battlefield the aggressors are anonymous, the shots are fired without starting wars and the foot soldiers can pull their triggers without leaving their desks.

Last week the United States government announced they would retaliate to a cyber-attack with conventional force. The threat is real, and the age in which a computer bug could cost lives has begun.

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EU To Create New Cyber Defence Unit

Senior EU official

The attack in March – just a few days ahead of an EU summit on military strikes in Libya and on the euro zone debt crisis – saw commission systems attacked “in a very well-organised and targeted way, focusing on three or four keywords on external relations and monetary issues,” according to a senior EU official.

“It was probably espionage, but this is very difficult to prove. We don’t expect to ever know if it was the case or not,” the source added.

The contact did not reveal if any data was actually stolen.

The commission has not launched a criminal investigation at this stage and is still assessing the level of damage.

It has in the past three months beefed-up its email security, the EUobserver writes.

Up until the attacks email accounts could be accessed remotely by typing in a password. But now users have a special “security token” – a small device which generates a secondary password required to log on.

Brussels is also setting up a new Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to stave off future attacks.

The unit will pull together existing IT security departments from the commission, the EU parliament and the EU Council to handle cyber attacks on all EU institutions and to share intelligence in real-time with CERTs in EU member states.

The new body is to run tests in June and to be fully operational by 1 October.

Otmar Lendl – the head of the Austrian CERT – says the new measure will not make EU systems impregnable.

“Prevention is very difficult. It’s like fire – even if you have a good fire brigade which sets up the best firewalls, you will still have fires. But CERTs certainly will help you deal with anything that happens and get a clearer response, as well as putting sensors in place and tools to monitor networks, so that you detect an attack early on.”

Detecting the fact that an attack is taking place is in itself not an easy thing.

The next step is to find out how the hacker got into the system, what documents have been accessed or changed and if any “time bombs” or “back doors” have been left behind to allow future access.

“At EU level, there are a lot of own little kingdoms, it’s not centralised like in a company – so it will be a difficult task,” Lendl explain.

National CERTs dealing with governments (GovCERTs) “also have to deal with various ministries, cities, local administrations and other stakeholders. So it’s not unusual,” he adds.

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