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

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“Data has develop into a subject of geopolitics and geoeconomics”

On the January 29, 2020, the European Fee (EC) launched the “Fee Work Programme 2020″. Below the next priority, “A Europe suit for the digital age” – the EC introduced its intention to put forward for session a loaded array of strategic paperwork outlining Europe’s digital system, writes Safe Chorus founder Elisabetta Zaccaria.

The initially set of paperwork ended up released on February 1, 2020 together with ‘Shaping Europe’s Digital Technique’, ‘A European Technique for Knowledge’, and the white paper ‘On Artificial Intelligence – A European solution to excellence and trust’.

As element of the very same human body of get the job done, the EC intends to publish a loaded array of added paperwork in the long run, some will be new and some a revision of current ones. The EC is scheduling to evaluation the ‘Directive on Security of Network and Facts Systems’ and the ‘Digital Schooling Action Plan’.

New upcoming frameworks for digital will include inter alias the ‘Digital Providers Act’, an ‘Industrial Technique for Europe’, a ‘SME Strategy’, a report on the ‘Single Current market Barriers’, a proposal for a ‘Single Current market Enforcement Action Plan’, and a ‘White Paper on an Instrument on Overseas Subsidies’. At last, it will publish an current ‘Communication on the Long term of Exploration and Innovation and the European Exploration Area’.

The leitmotif of this set of paperwork sticks near to what are by now acquainted themes for authorities digital tactics – a declaration of digital independence.

In actuality, not only the EU but also other governments are wanting to establish sovereign digital infrastructure and regulatory frameworks governance mechanisms to management data in alignment with their political, countrywide security and economic agendas.

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

Knowledge, a subject of geopolitics and geoeconomics

In the place of just a few many years, data has develop into a subject of geopolitics and geoeconomics. Figuring out how to govern the sophisticated data ecosystem, both of those enabling its probable and handling its risks, has develop into for governments a subject relating to politics, countrywide security and economic climate.

Just as the allies collected at Bretton Woods in 1944 with the principal intention of regulating the worldwide financial and economical order right after the summary of World War II, governments are now negotiating, at worldwide amount, data and digital infrastructure sovereignty, territoriality and governance.

The EU is rarely the only one particular issuing a new system to greatly enhance its digital sovereignty. Quite a few nations have issued very similar tactics and bodies of legislation for instance, in China and Russia the function of the point out in data defense and cloud infrastructure has been positioned at the epicentre of regulation.

 A closer appear at the EU plans on digital sovereignty

Following up on the EU Lisbon Strategy’s aim to develop into the ‘most dynamic and competitive understanding-dependent economic climate in the earth by 2010’, in 2015 the EU adopted its Digital Solitary Current market Technique (DMS) – an formidable set of steps largely focused on legislative and coverage reforms addressing inter alias troubles similar to e-commerce, copyright, telecoms, audio-visible media, on the internet platforms, large data, defense of own data, and cybersecurity, as very well as standardisation and e-authorities.

In 2018 the EU issued a landmark piece of legislation – the Common Knowledge Security Regulation (GDPR) – regulating own data defense of EU citizens, regardless of which element of the earth the data handler is in.

Nonetheless, in the wake of a global digital ‘cold war’, the EU seems to have appear to the realisation that its normative solution is no for a longer time sufficient to secure its political, countrywide security and economic passions and that it desires to establish its own digital sovereign ability. This is to, initially, develop into considerably less reliant on international technologies which is a problem from a defence and countrywide security standpoint. Second, data sovereignty is crucial for the EU to be in a position to boost its domestic digital economic climate as very well as contend at global amount.

In reaction, the EU has lately released its Digital Technique 2020 – 2025, which is a blend of both of those legislative and non-legislative initiatives. I am providing underneath an overview of the most noteworthy initiative.

‘See: A European Technique for Data‘

Probably the most noteworthy non-legislative element of A European Technique for Knowledgeis the progress of Popular European Cloud Infrastructure and the development of Popular European Knowledge Spaces.

Europe’s motivations for wanting its sovereign Popular European Cloud Infrastructure arrives from its extensive-standing problem for its overdependency on international cloud companies.

Very first, the EU is nervous that its regulatory frameworks will no for a longer time be sufficient to secure its data which are becoming processed outside its territory to avoid international nations from employing their own lawful frameworks over these kinds of data, the EU has realised it desires to establish its own sovereign cloud ability.

Second, overeliance on international tech firms also poses a problem from a defence and countrywide security standpoint specially in relation to domestic crucial countrywide infrastructure.

3rd, the progress of sovereign cloud ability fulfills the EU ambition to mature a robust domestic sector of cloud companies.

A different crucial cornerstone of its data system is the development of Popular European Knowledge Spaces, recognising that entry to data is a prerequisite for sturdy Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods for the profit of EU economic climate. The goal is to develop a real one sector for data in which public and personal sectors have straightforward entry to big quantities of significant-good quality data to develop and innovate.

See: White Paper on Artificial Intelligence

With its white paper ‘On Artificial Intelligence – A European solution to excellence and trust’, the EU wishes to create an ecosystem of have confidence in inside of obviously defined ethical boundaries. In order to accomplish that, its white paper outlines a hazard-dependent solution to make proportional regulatory intervention largely in relation to ‘high-risk’ AI applications.

The white paper also aligns with the Rules on Trusted AI, namely human company and oversight, technical robustness and basic safety, privateness and data governance, transparency and accountability, diversity, non-discrimination and fairness, societal and environmental wellbeing.

Digital Providers Act

Later on this 12 months, the EU will also current a Digital Providers Act (DSA) which aims to strengthen the one sector for digital products and services. The act will spot larger transparency and compliance obligations for digital platforms as very well as offer a more powerful anti-have confidence in framework to make certain a truthful and competitive digital sector, specially for smaller organizations. The last intention is to make certain that EU lawful principles implement on the internet as they would offline. The legislation will be the initially of its variety globally to monitor written content on digital platforms at scale and need removal of misinformation and unlawful written content or deal with fines.


Whilst the EU remains open for enterprise with international tech, its digital system has built a very clear statement outlining its agency intention to establish sovereign digital ability in order to greater secure its countrywide security and get comprehensive economic edge of the data economic climate. Second, international participation in EU digital sector will be on EU phrases from now onwards.

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