- Working groups
By Lise Fuhr and Daniel Pataki
The European Union has a data inferiority complex. This risks undermining the bloc’s digital sovereignty goals and could hamper the long-term strategic interests of Europe’s citizens and businesses. The new ePrivacy Regulation proposal from the German presidency of the European Council would further aggravate the situation. Let us explain why.
Europe’s data sovereignty vision, explained
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal market, has a vision “to make Europe a global data hub, both personal and industrial, benefiting all European economic players – SMEs, start-ups, large groups – and, of course, all European citizens”. We agree with him.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare that Europe must leave behind the illusion that it can simply sit and regulate digital services developed by foreign companies. While regulation is critically important, there is no substitute for global industrial leadership. This is why the telecoms sector supports the new direction of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner Breton: Europe must build industrial leadership at home and become an exporter of data-based services abroad.
This means unleashing European innovation in data, ranging from AI to cloud services, the industrial internet and more. The benefits are clear: digital products and services developed in Europe will be designed around our core values, with personal data and privacy on top of the list.
There should be no dilemma between privacy and innovation. The big question is: how do we foster European digital innovation in a privacy-friendly way and in coherence with European values? The answer must align the ePrivacy Regulation with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or risk failure.
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