Slovenia saw an increase in the number of cyber attacks last year

Ljubljana (STA) – Slovenia recorded 4,123 cyber security incidents last year, an increase of almost a third compared to 2021, the SI-CERT National Cyber Security Response Centre (NSCRC) said in a report on cyber security. The year 2022 was marked by the war in Ukraine, which highlighted the importance of information sharing with the international community.

Last year, phishing attacks again stood out among the incidents recorded, with 1,432 incidents compared to 950 the previous year. This category was again the fastest growing. In most cases, the attack vector was email, but the response centre saw a sharp rise in phishing attacks via SMS and messaging apps. “So it is no longer just email, where very good filters on mail servers protect us from phishing, but also SMS and other private messages, where no such protection exists,” the SI-CERT warns.

In recent years, there has been a clear trend for threats to migrate to smartphones in the form of SMS messages requesting authentication details to access electronic banking under the guise of verifying data or confirming transactions, the SI-CERT stresses. (29 June)

Scholz: There should be no new conditions for North Macedonia’s accession negotiations

Berlin (MIA) – The accession process of North Macedonia should be regular according to what has been recorded in writing and there should be no new conditions referring to the bilateral situation between North Macedonia and Bulgaria, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski, who was on a two-day official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany.

“Let me be clear. It is clearly agreed and should be a regular accession process under the procedures managed by the EU. These are things that are already on paper, and nothing else should come as far as the bilateral situation is concerned. I vouch for that,” Chancellor Scholz said, when asked by a journalist whether he could accept Bulgarian President Rumen Radev’s statement that the constitutional amendments laid down in the negotiating framework were only a preliminary condition for the country, and that they did not exhaust all the conditions for North Macedonia to enter the second phase of negotiations.

Scholz said that the constitutional amendments were of key importance for North Macedonia’s path to the EU and that Germany took the country’s EU perspective seriously. (28 June)

Share of people living alone in Germany well above EU average

Wiesbaden (dpa) – According to statistics, significantly more people live alone in Germany than in most other countries of the European Union. The Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden reported on Wednesday, on the basis of data from the European statistics office Eurostat, that the share of people living alone in Germany amounted to 20.1 percent last year, well above the EU average of 15.8 percent.

Only in the Scandinavian countries Finland (25.4 percent), Sweden (23.5 percent) and Denmark (23.2 percent), as well as in Lithuania (22.7 percent) and Estonia (21.8 percent), the share of people living alone was greater. By contrast, the rate was particularly low in Slovakia (3.1 percent), followed by Cyprus (8.0 percent), Poland (8.5 percent), Croatia (9.6 percent) and Portugal (9.9 percent).

According to the data, women were more likely to live alone than men in most EU countries. On average, around 55 percent of people living alone in the EU last year were female. Older people were also more than twice as likely to live alone as the average population.

Recently, the Federal Statistical Office had announced that the share of single-person households in Germany had more than doubled since the 1950s. (28 June)

European Parliament puts the brakes on rules for restoring ecosystems

Brussels (ANSA) – There is no majority in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee to approve the position on the draft regulation on the restoration of ecosystems. Just as on 15 June, there was also no majority to reject the measure in its entirety. On both occasions, the vote was tied at 44 to 44. In between, more than 2,500 amendments were scrutinised one by one and approved or rejected, often on a knife’s edge.

The tug-of-war will continue in plenary, in a paralysed European Parliament unable – for the first time – to decide on one of the regulations of the Green Deal, the centrepiece of the von der Leyen Commission’s programme. On the one hand, the European People’s Party (EPP), as well as part of the Liberals and the Right in the European Parliament, demand the withdrawal of the proposal. On the other hand, there are those on the left who would like to see the regulation go ahead. The risk of rejection is real, as parliamentarians  are navigating on sight. This also concerns the date of the showdown in Strasbourg, which could be as early as July or, according to some members of the People’s Party, postponed until September.

“The vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee confirms that the reservations expressed by Italy were justified and shared,” stressed Italian Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin. Last week, EU ministers gave their general approach the green light by a narrow majority, with Italy and six other countries voting against. “We are confident that after this setback the text can be significantly improved,” Pichetto added. (27 June)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.