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Thursday, February 22, 2024

7 cities are competing to host the EU’s new cyber center. Here’s how they stack up

Seven European cities are facing off to host an agency that will hand out billions of euros in cybersecurity funding — and bring much-needed jobs.

Brussels, Munich, Warsaw, Vilnius, Luxembourg, Bucharest and León, Spain are all vying for the prize — the European Cybersecurity Competence Center (ECCC), which will be distributing EU money for research into technologies like encryption and network security.

While the ECCC is not a formal EU agency, it does promise to bring dozens of jobs to the winner — about 30 to start, and up to 80 according to some guesses. It should also help boost business for local cybersecurity companies and burnish the host country’s reputation on cyber.

An added perk: The ECCC will serve as a meeting point for EU cyber policymakers and industry officials, promising to boost the local hospitality industry when coronavirus restrictions are eventually lifted.

Countries have been asked to pitch locations that have international schools, nurseries and connections to airports and train lines, as well as an appropriate building to host the center. Among the contenders for an HQ: An iconic TV tower, a 19th-century train station and a shopping center with walkways covered by hanging foliage.

According to the European Commission, the center’s core job will be to manage cybersecurity funds from the EU’s research budgets, including about €2 billion earmarked in its Digital Europe program and many millions more via its innovation funding and coronavirus recovery funds, in addition to member country contributions.

EU deputy ambassadors will select on Wednesday the seat for the center in a vote that requires an absolute majority of the 27 votes to win in one or, if needed, two rounds.

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