By Mark Young and Oliver Grazebrook

The Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU has published a progress report on negotiations at Member State level on the EU CyberSecurity Strategy and proposed EU Directive on Network and Information Security (“NIS Directive”).  As we summarised in this post, if enacted in its current form, the NIS Directive will require companies in the energy, transport, financial services and health sectors, as well as a broad range of online companies, to implement mandatory security measures and report significant security incidents to national authorities.

Member States clearly have concerns with some fundamental aspects of the proposals.  The Presidency has highlighted the following issues:

Commission’s Impact Assessment (IA)

  • Several Member States have pointed out that the impact assessment does not sufficiently justify why specific sectors have been included in the proposal, such as “enablers of information society services”, and others have not, such as hardware/software manufacturers.
  • Most Member States have also raised the issue of the perceived significant costs involved in implementing the Directive and regretted that the IA fails to sufficiently assess the possible benefits. 
  • At a more fundamental level, Member States have requested further justification from the Commission why a legislative, rather than a voluntary approach, would be the preferred option to tackle the uneven level of security capabilities across the EU and the insufficient sharing of information on incidents, risks and threats. 


  • Member States have expressed doubts about subjecting providers of information society services to the same obligations as operators of critical infrastructures. 
  • More generally, many national delegations are unclear how the proposal for a NIS Directive would relate to other relevant pending and forthcoming legislation, such as that concerning critical infrastructures, attacks against information systems, data protection and electronic identification.  For example, they are also concerned that various notification obligations in several pieces of legislation might lead to confusion.

Organisational framework

  • Regarding establishing NIS strategies, cooperation plans and CERTs, delegations have not yet expressed firm positions as they are currently carrying out national consultations with stakeholders and are analysing the details of the proposal in the context of existing or planned national cyber strategies.

The next key event in the process will be a ministerial debate on 6 June.  The following questions have been tabled for debate:

  • Is legislation necessary in this field or would a voluntary or a mixed voluntary/legislative approach be preferable?
  • Should EU companies and companies from third countries active in the EU implement higher security standards than companies in and from other parts in the world?
  • Is there is a need to coordinate this matter further at a global level before regional solutions are implemented?
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Photo of Mark Young Mark Young

Mark Young, an experienced tech regulatory lawyer, advises major global companies on their most challenging data privacy compliance matters and investigations.

Mark also leads on EMEA cybersecurity matters at the firm. He advises on evolving cyber-related regulations, and helps clients respond to…

Mark Young, an experienced tech regulatory lawyer, advises major global companies on their most challenging data privacy compliance matters and investigations.

Mark also leads on EMEA cybersecurity matters at the firm. He advises on evolving cyber-related regulations, and helps clients respond to incidents, including personal data breaches, IP and trade secret theft, ransomware, insider threats, and state-sponsored attacks.

Mark has been recognized in Chambers UK for several years as “a trusted adviser – practical, results-oriented and an expert in the field;” “fast, thorough and responsive;” “extremely pragmatic in advice on risk;” and having “great insight into the regulators.”

Drawing on over 15 years of experience advising global companies on a variety of tech regulatory matters, Mark specializes in:

  • Advising on potential exposure under GDPR and international data privacy laws in relation to innovative products and services that involve cutting-edge technology (e.g., AI, biometric data, Internet-enabled devices, etc.).
  • Providing practical guidance on novel uses of personal data, responding to individuals exercising rights, and data transfers, including advising on Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) and compliance challenges following Brexit and Schrems II.
    Helping clients respond to investigations by data protection regulators in the UK, EU and globally, and advising on potential follow-on litigation risks.
  • GDPR and international data privacy compliance for life sciences companies in relation to:
    clinical trials and pharmacovigilance;

    • digital health products and services; and
    • marketing programs.
    • International conflict of law issues relating to white collar investigations and data privacy compliance.
  • Cybersecurity issues, including:
    • best practices to protect business-critical information and comply with national and sector-specific regulation;
      preparing for and responding to cyber-based attacks and internal threats to networks and information, including training for board members;
    • supervising technical investigations; advising on PR, engagement with law enforcement and government agencies, notification obligations and other legal risks; and representing clients before regulators around the world; and
    • advising on emerging regulations, including during the legislative process.
  • Advising clients on risks and potential liabilities in relation to corporate transactions, especially involving companies that process significant volumes of personal data (e.g., in the adtech, digital identity/anti-fraud, and social network sectors.)
  • Providing strategic advice and advocacy on a range of EU technology law reform issues including data privacy, cybersecurity, ecommerce, eID and trust services, and software-related proposals.
  • Representing clients in connection with references to the Court of Justice of the EU.