Critical infrastructure means an asset, system or part thereof which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact at national level as a result of the failure to maintain those functions.

Critical infrastructure protection (CIP) means all activities aimed at ensuring the functionality, continuity and integrity of critical infrastructures in order to deter, mitigate and neutralise a threat, risk or vulnerability;

In order to establish a procedure for the identification and designation of European critical infrastructure and a common approach to assess the need to improve the protection of such infrastructures The European Union adopted The Council Directive 2008/114/CE of 8 December 2008 on the identification and designation critical infrastructure and the assessment of the need to improve their protection.

Coordination at national level of the activities on the identification, designation and protection of critical infrastructure is made by the Prime Minister who designates, in this sense, a state councilor.

Responsibility for the cooperation between national rresponsible authorities and non-governmental structures with the Ministry of Administration and Interior, hereinafter referred to as MAI, is at the Centre for Coordination of Critical Infrastructure Protection, which will ensure the national contact point in the relationship with other Member States, the European Commission, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other international bodies and the national management of CIWIN System.