The EU's security agency is on the way to getting more muscle to help it keep member states' cybersecurity up to scratch.
MEPs in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) passed a proposal by 52 to 3 on Monday to strengthen and extend the lifespan of the European Networking and Information Security Agency (Enisa).
"Europe cannot afford not to take internet security seriously," digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. "Enisa has a vital role to play in re-enforcing Member States' abilities and cooperation in this area."
If the proposals are passed by the European Parliament, Enisa will take on a more central role in supporting and coordinating member states' Computer Emergency Response Teams (Cert) in response to cyber-threats.
In extreme circumstances, the agency could even be called upon to provide operational assistance to member states or EU institutions to secure affected networks in the case of a cyber-threat.
By Jack Clark , 7 February, 2012 17:50
It would also extend the lifespan of the agency from 2013 up to 2020.
Kroes has promoted an expanded Enisa; in November she called for "a more muscular Enisa" to help the EU get better internet security.
For UK organisations a beefier Enisa would give them a better view to the cyber-health of states and organisations across the EU, and help protect them from member states' with weak security policies.
"It helps to have an overall coordination," digital agenda spokesman Ryan Heath told ZDNet UK. "It's in the UK's interest for all the boats to rise. We're only as strong as our weakest link. We're creating more of an ability for the UK to create a safer environment."
Tom Espiner contributed to this article.