KCSS: How can we leverage from European practices to enhance critical infrastructure identification in Kosovo?

In an era of rapid technological advancement, safeguarding critical infrastructure (CI) has become a matter of utmost concern for nations across the globe. The European Union (EU) defines critical infrastructure as threats to citizens’ security and well-being. Strategically located in the Balkan region, Kosovo faces the all-important task of identifying and securing its critical infrastructure assets. Drawing insights from diverse methodologies, legislative frameworks,
and collaborative strategies adopted throughout Europe, Kosovo aims to secure its critical infrastructure protection (CIP). While Kosovo has regulated some aspects of its CI through sector-specific laws, the dedicated Law on Critical Infrastructure (LCI) was enacted in March 2018. This law defines critical national infrastructure, establishes criteria for identifying European critical infrastructure (ECI), outlines risk assessment and management procedures, and assigns roles and responsibilities for security coordination in this sector. Despite its promising intent, the LCI has faced challenges in the implementation process due to political crises, the pandemic, and government negligence. Efforts to implement the LCI have gained traction in recent years, with steps taken to establish a dedicated Division for Critical Infrastructure (DCI) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA). Harmonizing with evolving European legislation, particularly the EU-NIS Directive 2, poses an additional challenge. It advocates for accelerating LCI implementation and draws from European best practices to guide the identification and protection of critical infrastructure in Kosovo. Given Kosovo’s sensitivity to both natural and man-made hazards, including floods, earthquakes, and security risks, fortifying CI resilience is vital. Key provisions of the LCI mandate the development of operator security plans and the appointment of security coordinators. The limited resources of the newly formed DCI raise concerns about its operational capacity. International financial assistance, especially from the EU, is crucial to ensure effective protection measures. The EU’s emphasis on safeguarding CI aligns with Kosovo’s aim, and support in implementing the LCI can foster regional and European security collaboration. In comparison to international models, Kosovo’s CI sector remains in its inception phase. The identification of key sectors, alignment with European directives, and the need for cross-border protection reflect shared challenges. Successful frameworks from countries like the UK, Sweden, and EU member states can inform Kosovo’s strategy to enhance CIP. Strengthening CIP in Kosovo demands a proactive implementation of the LCI, informed by international best practices. This effort aligns with the EU’s commitment to secure CI resilience and contribute to regional security. By prioritizing CIP, Kosovo can bolster its national security, public safety, and overall societal well-being.

 

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