BRUSSELS -- The European Commission has proposed a set of measures to scale up the bloc's response to what it called a "dramatic rise in cybercriminal activity."
In a September 19 statement, the commission said that it is proposing to set up a new European Cybersecurity Agency that would build on the already existing European information security agency (ENISA).
It said the proposed agency would have more staff and would be given a permanent mandate to assist EU member states in dealing with cyberattacks.
It would also organize "yearly pan-European cybersecurity exercises" by ensuring better sharing of intelligence, the statement said.
"Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent, imaginative, and global," said the European Commissioner for the EU digital single market, Andrus Ansip. "Europe needs to be able to respond to them 24/7 in all countries."
The EU says there were more than 4,000 ransomware attacks per day in the bloc last year, and 80 percent of European companies experienced at least one cybersecurity incident.
The initiative comes after a series of global cyberattacks disrupted multinational firms, ports, and public services this year.
There have also been allegations that Russian hackers interfered in last year's U.S. presidential election and could try to influence this month’s general election in Germany.