Improve Europe’s position in the digital age

October is European Cyber Security Month. Several events will take place all accross Europe to raise awareness on the need to protect our digital lives.

As stated in our manifesto published in May, FERMA strongly believes that digital transformation requires genuine European leadership to exploit its opportunities. The new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is already making proposals in key digital areas to improve Europe’s position in the digital age in her political guidelines and mission letters to the commissioners-designate.

  1. Legislation on Artificial Intelligence will be proposed within the first 100 days. Following the publication of ethical guidelines and policy recommendations by the high level expert group on AI, the incoming European Commission will accelerate the regulatory pace with a legally-binding text  about the sharing and use of non-personalised big data, as well as the human and ethics implications of the AI technologies. The regulation of AI will have to coexist with the need for Europe to boost its innovation capacities and generate growth opportunities for EU businesses.
  2. A proposal for a Digital Services Act will follow during the second semester of 2020. This text will replace the 20 years old E-Commerce Directive. This upgrade will take into account the new environment of digital platforms and services and social media which is currently made of different national rules about liability and safety, such as illegal content, online advertising and tax matters. The proposal will also address the role of algorithms in content moderation and advertising transparency. A leaked document from the current European Commission cites this fragmentation as an obstacle to allowing EU start-ups and newcomers to effectively compete with US giants.
  3. European standards for leading technologies like 5G networks, blockchain, and high-performance and quantum computing will also be part of the next Commission’s priorities. The new EU-wide voluntary cybersecurity certification framework for technology products, processes and services will support this emphasis on standards.

Three Commissioners-designate mainly share the portfolio of digital transformation:

All new Commissioners proposed by the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will go through a series of hearings by the European Parliament from 30 September to 8 October (schedule here).

Three Commissioners-designate mainly share the portfolio of digital transformation:

  • Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President-designate Europe Fit for Digital Age
  • Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President-designate for An Economy that Works for People
  • Sylvie Goulard, Commissioner-designate for Internal Market

The European Parliament will then proceed to a final vote on 23 October, which will endorse the new team before its effective start on 1 November 2019.

See also FERMA’s priorities or a European leadership in digital transformation