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In December 2005, the Justice and Home Affairs Council called on the Commission to make a proposal for a European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP). In response, the Commission adopted this communication and a proposal for a directive on the identification and designation of European critical infrastructure with a view to improving the protection of the latter.

The communication sets out the principles, processes and instruments proposed to implement EPCIP. The threats to which the programme aims to respond are not confined to terrorism, but also include criminal activities, natural hazards and other causes of accidents, using an All-hazards approach.

The general objective of EPCIP is to improve the protection of critical infrastructure in the European Union (EU). This will be achieved by implementing the European legislation set out in this communication.

The legislative framework for the EPCIP consists of the following:

  • a procedure for identifying and designating ECI (ECI) and a common approach to assessing the need to improve the protection of such infrastructure. This was implemented in the ECI directive[1];
  • measures designed to facilitate the implementation of EPCIP, including an EPCIP action plan, the Critical Infrastructure Warning Information Network (CIWIN), the setting up of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) expert groups at EU level, CIP information sharing processes, and the identification and analysis of interdependencies;
  • support for EU countries regarding NCI (NCI) that may optionally be used by a particular EU country, and contingency planning;
  • an external dimension;
  • accompanying financial measures, and in particular the Specific EU Programme on "Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism and other Security Related Risks" for the period 2007-13, which will provide funding opportunities for CIP related measures.

EPCIP action plan

The ECPIP action plan has three main work streams:

  • the first relates to the strategic aspects of EPCIP and the development of measures horizontally applicable to all CIP work;
  • the second concerns the protection of European critical infrastructures|ECI and aims to reduce their vulnerability;
  • the third is a national framework to assist EU countries in the protection of their NCI.