This Forum Europe debate addressed strategic autonomy and how the EU and its member states are approaching technology sovereignty development. It looked at issues around data ownership and how and where data were used and held; considered new, sustainable business models that are constructed around privacy by design, data sovereignty and data innovation, and the potential roles for European and international businesses, investors, regulators and civil society in determining the path for Europe’s digital future
This event was co-hosted by MEPs García del Blanco (S&D), Eva Maydell (EPP), Alexandra Geese and Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA).
What role the public and private sectors must play to grow the European digital eco-system, including non-EU firms.
What legislative and political tools the EU and its member countries have or might need to ensure less dependency on non-European digital service providers and greater competition on the market.
Examples of initiatives by European firms to build and provide viable alternative products and services for European citizens and businesses.
How, if Europe gets this right, its push for digital sovereignty could further encourage and cement a values-based approach to global digital cooperation.
Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union
State Secretary and Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology
German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community
Director-General, DG Research & Innovation
Acting Director, Data, DG Connect
Member of the Interim Management Team and Acting Interim CTO
Chief Representative to the EU Institutions and Vice-President European Region
Itsme & Belgian Mobile ID
Vice President of European Government Affairs
Head Global Government Relations
Head of EU Representative Office
Director, Data Sharing Lead
Head of European Affairs
Note: All timings are in CET
This session will look at aspects of the European technology landscape and analyse what European businesses in some areas require, in order to provide competition and value to European consumers. What can both established European firms and those seeking to scale, do independently, and where might the development of partnerships help to bolster growth and consumer choice? What are the values that should be reflected in Europe’s drive for digital autonomy?
This session will explore the case for maintaining global cooperation and partnerships, in an environment when increasingly, calls are for more regional and local solutions. For so-called Open Strategic Autonomy to flourish, speakers will explore how autonomy and global partnerships will interact, and how the right balance can be struck between the global and the regional approach.
This session will focus predominantly on the question of industrial data innovation and the means by which Europe can develop its ecosystem, reinforcing and supporting EU businesses while at the same time ensuring that Europe remains exposed to the very latest technological innovations, particularly around AI and 5G, regardless of where they come from.
Europe’s burgeoning drive for open strategic autonomy is ambitious and likely to be complex. Increased autonomy poses practical, technical, political, and diplomatic questions while at the same time, offering exciting possibilities for the future of tech and data in Europe.
The delivery of a more independent European digital infrastructure, driven by Europe’s legitimate privacy and security priorities, and increasingly linked to questions around competition and dependency, will demand large investments from the public sector and strong cooperation between business and government. It will insist on a combination of greater autonomy on the one hand and greater collaboration on the other, to deliver competitive digital services that respect European values.
It would, however, be too simplistic and economically damaging to cut the digital umbilical cords of which society has come to depend. Europeans rely on a data and digital eco-system that, while mostly non-European, has made a significant contribution to productivity in the EU. It is also clear that any Balkanisation of the internet would not be in the EU’s interests. Working towards mutual trust and the development of global norms that reinforce shared values is critical.
The choices available to the EU are, broadly, to prioritise privacy-focused, secure technologies and services, using additional regulation and competition enforcement if required, regardless of where the services may be based or headquartered; or to work towards strategic autonomy through the development of services and infrastructures that are European built and delivered. A combination of the two may emerge.
This event was kindly supported by:
This event took place using Forum Europe’s virtual solution. For more details, please visit forum-europe.com.