Europe’s Digital Strategy and the Global Race for Digital Sovereignty

FavoriteLoadingIncorporate to favorites

“Data has turn out to be a make any difference of geopolitics and geoeconomics”

On the January 29, 2020, the European Fee (EC) released the “Fee Work Programme 2020″. Under the 2nd precedence, “A Europe match for the electronic age” – the EC declared its intention to place forward for session a prosperous array of strategic files outlining Europe’s electronic strategy, writes Protected Refrain founder Elisabetta Zaccaria.

The 1st established of files were being published on February 1, 2020 like ‘Shaping Europe’s Digital Technique’, ‘A European Technique for Details’, and the white paper ‘On Artificial Intelligence – A European tactic to excellence and trust’.

As portion of the very same entire body of do the job, the EC intends to publish a prosperous array of further files in the long term, some will be new and some a revision of current kinds. The EC is preparing to evaluate the ‘Directive on Protection of Network and Information and facts Systems’ and the ‘Digital Instruction Motion Plan’.

New upcoming frameworks for electronic will incorporate inter alias the ‘Digital Products and services Act’, an ‘Industrial Technique for Europe’, a ‘SME Strategy’, a report on the ‘Single Marketplace Barriers’, a proposal for a ‘Single Marketplace Enforcement Motion Plan’, and a ‘White Paper on an Instrument on Overseas Subsidies’. Eventually, it will publish an up to date ‘Communication on the Future of Analysis and Innovation and the European Analysis Area’.

The leitmotif of this established of files sticks near to what are by now familiar themes for governing administration electronic approaches – a declaration of electronic independence.

In truth, not only the EU but also other governments are hunting to create sovereign electronic infrastructure and regulatory frameworks governance mechanisms to management info in alignment with their political, countrywide security and financial agendas.

Europe's digital strategy
The European Parliament, Strasbourg, credit: David Levêque, by way of Unsplash

Details, a make any difference of geopolitics and geoeconomics

In the area of just a couple several years, info has turn out to be a make any difference of geopolitics and geoeconomics. Figuring out how to govern the sophisticated info ecosystem, both enabling its possible and controlling its dangers, has turn out to be for governments a make any difference relating to politics, countrywide security and economic system.

Just as the allies collected at Bretton Woods in 1944 with the principal aim of regulating the international financial and money get soon after the conclusion of Entire world War II, governments are now negotiating, at international stage, info and electronic infrastructure sovereignty, territoriality and governance.

The EU is hardly the only a single issuing a new strategy to increase its electronic sovereignty. Lots of nations around the world have issued similar approaches and bodies of legislation for example, in China and Russia the function of the point out in info protection and cloud infrastructure has been put at the epicentre of regulation.

 A closer seem at the EU plans on electronic sovereignty

Following up on the EU Lisbon Strategy’s aim to turn out to be the ‘most dynamic and aggressive information-based mostly economic system in the environment by 2010’, in 2015 the EU adopted its Digital Single Marketplace Technique (DMS) – an bold established of steps largely focused on legislative and coverage reforms addressing inter alias challenges connected to e-commerce, copyright, telecoms, audio-visual media, on the web platforms, major info, protection of own info, and cybersecurity, as very well as standardisation and e-governing administration.

In 2018 the EU issued a landmark piece of legislation – the General Details Defense Regulation (GDPR) – regulating own info protection of EU citizens, irrespective of which portion of the environment the data handler is in.

However, in the wake of a international electronic ‘cold war’, the EU seems to have occur to the realisation that its normative tactic is no lengthier sufficient to protect its political, countrywide security and financial interests and that it requirements to create its possess electronic sovereign ability. This is to, 1st, turn out to be less reliant on international technologies which is a problem from a defence and countrywide security point of view. Second, info sovereignty is crucial for the EU to be able to enhance its domestic electronic economic system as very well as contend at international stage.

In reaction, the EU has lately published its Digital Technique 2020 – 2025, which is a mix of both legislative and non-legislative initiatives. I am giving below an overview of the most noteworthy initiative.

‘See: A European Technique for Data‘

Potentially the most noteworthy non-legislative portion of A European Technique for Detailsis the advancement of Frequent European Cloud Infrastructure and the development of Frequent European Details Areas.

Europe’s motivations for wanting its sovereign Frequent European Cloud Infrastructure will come from its extensive-standing problem for its overdependency on international cloud suppliers.

To start with, the EU is anxious that its regulatory frameworks will no lengthier be sufficient to protect its info which are getting processed outside its territory to reduce international nations from implementing their possess lawful frameworks around these kinds of info, the EU has realised it requirements to create its possess sovereign cloud ability.

Second, overeliance on international tech companies also poses a problem from a defence and countrywide security point of view especially in relation to domestic important countrywide infrastructure.

Third, the advancement of sovereign cloud ability meets the EU ambition to develop a sturdy domestic market place of cloud suppliers.

A different crucial cornerstone of its info strategy is the development of Frequent European Details Areas, recognising that access to info is a prerequisite for robust Artificial Intelligence (AI) units for the profit of EU economic system. The aim is to produce a legitimate solitary market place for info wherever public and personal sectors have uncomplicated access to large quantities of significant-good quality info to produce and innovate.

See: White Paper on Artificial Intelligence

With its white paper ‘On Artificial Intelligence – A European tactic to excellence and trust’, the EU needs to establish an ecosystem of believe in within evidently defined moral boundaries. In get to achieve that, its white paper outlines a risk-based mostly tactic to make proportional regulatory intervention largely in relation to ‘high-risk’ AI applications.

The white paper also aligns with the Pointers on Trusted AI, particularly human company and oversight, technological robustness and protection, privacy and info governance, transparency and accountability, diversity, non-discrimination and fairness, societal and environmental wellbeing.

Digital Products and services Act

Afterwards this year, the EU will also present a Digital Products and services Act (DSA) which aims to strengthen the solitary market place for electronic companies. The act will place bigger transparency and compliance obligations for electronic platforms as very well as supply a more robust anti-believe in framework to be certain a good and aggressive electronic market place, especially for scaled-down enterprises. The closing aim is to be certain that EU lawful procedures implement on the web as they would offline. The legislation will be the 1st of its form globally to observe content material on electronic platforms at scale and have to have elimination of misinformation and unlawful content material or deal with fines.


Although the EU remains open up for enterprise with international tech, its electronic strategy has created a crystal clear statement outlining its company intention to create sovereign electronic ability in get to superior protect its countrywide security and choose comprehensive financial benefit of the info economic system. Second, international participation in EU electronic market place will be on EU phrases from now onwards.

See also — Europe’s Marketplaces Watchdog: Confirm You Can Exit the Cloud