The final text of the Critical Entities Resilience Directive (CER)

Preamble 21 to 30

(21) Union financial services law establishes comprehensive requirements on financial entities to manage all risks they face, including operational risks, and to ensure business continuity. Such law includes Regulations (EU) No 648/2012, (EU) No 575/2013 and (EU) No 600/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directives 2013/36/EU and 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council.

That legal framework is complemented by Regulation (EU) 2022/2554 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which lays down requirements applicable to financial entities to manage Information and Communication Technology (ICT) risks, including concerning the protection of physical ICT infrastructure. Since the resilience of those entities is therefore comprehensively covered, Article 11 and Chapters III, IV and VI of this Directive should not apply to those entities in order to avoid duplication and unnecessary administrative burden.

However, considering the importance of the services provided by entities in the financial sector to critical entities belonging to all other sectors, Member States should identify, based on the criteria and using the procedure provided for in this Directive, entities in the financial sector as critical entities. Consequently, the strategies, the Member State risk assessments and the support measures set out in Chapter II of this Directive should apply. Member States should be able to adopt or maintain provisions of national law to achieve a higher level of resilience for those critical entities provided that those provisions are consistent with applicable Union law.

(22) Member States should designate or establish authorities competent to supervise the application of and, where necessary, enforce the rules of this Directive and ensure that those authorities are adequately empowered and resourced. In light of the differences in national governance structures, in order to safeguard existing sectoral arrangements or Union supervisory and regulatory bodies, and in order to avoid duplication, Member States should be able to designate or establish more than one competent authority.

Where Member States designate or establish more than one competent authority, they should clearly delineate the respective tasks of the authorities concerned and ensure that they cooperate smoothly and effectively. All competent authorities should also cooperate more generally with other relevant authorities, at both Union and national level.

(23) In order to facilitate cross-border cooperation and communication and to enable the effective implementation of this Directive, each Member State should, without prejudice to the requirements of sector-specific Union legal acts, designate one single point of contact responsible for coordinating issues related to the resilience of critical entities and cross-border cooperation at Union level (‘single point of contact’), where relevant within a competent authority. Each single point of contact should liaise and coordinate communication, where relevant, with the competent authorities of its Member State, with the single points of contact of other Member States and with the Critical Entities Resilience Group.

(24) The competent authorities under this Directive and the competent authorities under Directive (EU) 2022/2555 should cooperate and exchange information in relation to cybersecurity risks, cyber threats and cyber incidents and non-cyber risks, threats and incidents affecting critical entities as well as in relation to relevant measures taken by competent authorities under this Directive and competent authorities under Directive (EU) 2022/2555.

It is important that Member States ensure that the requirements provided for in this Directive and in Directive (EU) 2022/2555 are implemented in a complementary manner and that critical entities are not subject to an administrative burden beyond that which is necessary to achieve the objectives of this Directive and that Directive.

(25) Member States should support critical entities, including those that qualify as small or medium-sized enterprises, in strengthening their resilience, in compliance with Member State obligations laid down in this Directive, without prejudice to the critical entities’ own legal responsibility to ensure such compliance and, in so doing, prevent excessive administrative burden.

Member States could, in particular, develop guidance materials and methodologies, support the organisation of exercises to test the resilience of critical entities and provide advice and training to the personnel of critical entities. Where necessary and justified by public interest objectives, Member States could provide financial resources and should facilitate voluntary information sharing and the exchange of good practices between critical entities, without prejudice to the application of competition rules laid down in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

(26) With the aim of enhancing the resilience of critical entities identified by Member States and in order to reduce the administrative burden on those critical entities, the competent authorities should consult one another, whenever appropriate, for the purpose of ensuring that this Directive is applied in a consistent manner. Those consultations should be entered into at the request of any interested competent authority and should focus on ensuring a convergent approach regarding interlinked critical entities that use critical infrastructure which is physically connected between two or more Member States, that belong to the same groups or corporate structures, or that have been identified in one Member State and that provide essential services to or in other Member States.

(27) Where provisions of Union or national law require critical entities to assess risks relevant for the purposes of this Directive and to take measures to ensure their own resilience, those requirements should be adequately considered for the purpose of supervising the compliance of critical entities with this Directive.

(28) Critical entities should have a comprehensive understanding of the relevant risks to which they are exposed and a duty to analyse those risks. To that end, they should carry out risk assessments whenever necessary in view of their particular circumstances and the evolution of those risks and, in any event, every four years, in order to assess all relevant risks that could disrupt the provision of their essential services (‘critical entity risk assessment’).

Where critical entities have carried out other risk assessments or drawn up documents pursuant to obligations laid down in other legal acts that are relevant for their critical entity risk assessment, they should be able to use those assessments and documents to meet the requirements set out in this Directive concerning critical entity risk assessments. A competent authority should be able to declare that an existing risk assessment carried out by a critical entity that addresses the relevant risks and the relevant extent of dependence is compliant, in whole or in part, with the obligations laid down in this Directive.

(29) Critical entities should take technical, security and organisational measures that are appropriate and proportionate to the risks they face so as to prevent, protect against, respond to, resist, mitigate, absorb, accommodate and recover from an incident. While critical entities should take those measures in accordance with this Directive, the details and extent of such measures should reflect the different risks that each critical entity has identified as part of its critical entity risk assessment and the specificities of such entity in an appropriate and proportionate way.

To promote a coherent Union approach, the Commission should, after consulting the Critical Entities Resilience Group, adopt non-binding guidelines to further specify those technical, security and organisational measures. Member States should ensure that each critical entity designate a liaison officer or equivalent as point of contact with the competent authorities.

(30) In the interests of effectiveness and accountability, critical entities should describe the measures they take, with a level of detail that sufficiently achieves the aims of effectiveness and accountability, having regard to the risks identified, in a resilience plan or in a document or documents that are equivalent to a resilience plan, and apply that plan in practice.

Where a critical entity has already taken technical, security and organisational measures and drawn up documents pursuant to other legal acts that are relevant for resilience-enhancing measures under this Directive, it should be able, in order to avoid duplication, to use those measures and documents to meet the requirements as regards resilience measures under this Directive. In order to avoid duplication, a competent authority should be able to declare existing resilience measures taken by a critical entity that address its obligation to take technical, security and organisational measures pursuant to this Directive as compliant, in whole or in part, with the requirements of this Directive.