Protecting critical infrastructure: SMEs are calling for government emergency programs

Protecting critical infrastructure: SMEs are calling for government emergency programs

Berlin The managing director of the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW), Markus Jerger, calls for state help to protect against attacks on the critical infrastructure (Kritis). In the affected sectors, “massive investments must be made in system security and security protection,” Jerger told the Handelsblatt. Of the middle class but is no longer financially able to do so. “Therefore, it requires government emergency programs that companies can access.”

Jerger reacted to the Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faser (SPD), which asked operators of critical infrastructure facilities to do more for security. You would have to “invest massively” in order to build up structures several times and to have more back-up systems if the main systems should fail, said the SPD-Politician of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”.

The minister also warned in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” that the operators had to arm themselves against dangers such as natural disasters, terrorism, sabotage, but also human error. The destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea and the attacks on the Deutsche Bahn had clearly shown “that we have a changed threat situation. We have to prepare for all conceivable scenarios and continue to ramp up protective measures.”

Critical infrastructure includes facilities from the energy, transport, water, food, state and administration, health, information technology and telecommunications sectors.

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Jerger said that medium-sized companies were appalled that the minister made it clear with her statements that the worst was to be feared. “It is more than a disappointment that our country, a leader in the world, is literally running out of juice,” he said, referring to energy supplies. Of course, government, business and people would have to work together now to prevent an even greater catastrophe. Party-political quarrels are just as unhelpful as sticking to debt limits. “Whoever doesn’t react now loses,” stressed Jerger.

fibers also emphasizes the turning point in internal security

In Germany It is fundamentally the task of the companies and authorities that operate critical infrastructure to ensure the safe and reliable operation of their systems and facilities. When it comes to cyber security, for example, they are in contact with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). When it comes to espionage risks, they receive warnings from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

>> Read also: Greens see massive deficits in the protection of critical infrastructures

Faeser confirmed that she wants to present key points for a new “Kritis umbrella law” this year. It is intended to stipulate how operators can protect themselves better and when they must report an incident. At the same time, Faeser admitted that it would not be possible to “fully protect 34,000 kilometers of railway lines and millions of cable kilometers with cameras, sensors or even police officers”.

At the same time, the minister emphasized that the protection of critical infrastructure had “top priority”. “The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine also marks a turning point in internal security. We are arming ourselves for this.”


Green leader Omid Nouripour also said that sabotage on the pipelines, on Deutsche Bahn or the power outage on the Danish island of Bornholm had shown how acute the problem was.

The discussion arose after explosions in the Baltic Sea damaged the two natural gas pipelines of Nord Stream 1 and one of the two strings of North Stream 2 had been destroyed. However, no gas from Russia was currently being transported through the pipelines anyway Germany delivered.

In addition, unknown persons had cut an important radio network in two places in North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin last weekend, so that rail traffic in northern Germany came to a complete standstill for several hours. The chairman of the secret service control committee in the Bundestag, Konstantin von Notz (Greens), criticized that a lot had been missed in recent years. Central security policy risks have not been recognized as such for years. It’s taking revenge now, he said.

City day thinks blackout is a realistic scenario

The Greens in particular have been calling for a “Kritis umbrella law” for some time, which should also regulate IT security issues. In the coalition agreement of SPD, Greens and FDP such a law was agreed. “Today, the law is more urgent than ever and must be implemented immediately,” the Greens warned in a motion for the federal party conference in Bonn.

>> Read here: Six German companies affected: Cyber ​​attacks on European energy companies are increasing

Of the CDUPolitician Roderich Kiesewetter meanwhile called on the population to better arm themselves against power failures. Not everyone is aware of “the seriousness of the situation”. The government must therefore say to the citizens: “Buy radios with batteries, make sure you have water supplies.”


The German Association of Cities also called for the population to be better informed about the possible consequences of energy shortages or sabotage. “A blackout is a realistic scenario,” said managing director Helmut Dedy of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”.. “People have so far been inexperienced with crises and disasters. “That’s why continuous, transparent and low-threshold information about possible risks is important.”

A functioning emergency supply of water and heat is only possible for a maximum of 72 hours, according to Dedy. Municipal civil protection cannot handle blackouts lasting several days alone. Government agencies would then have to work together across all levels.

More: “The threat is growing” – How endangered is the critical infrastructure in Germany

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