Is it time for Europe to step up and guarantee its digital sovereignty? Europe has long preferred a model of digital governance based on an open market in digital services combined with the protection of the rights and interests of citizens. Until now, the EU has acted largely as a regulator in the digital arena, but will this approach be sufficient over the coming decade? Surely those who create (and own) the technologies of the future will be the ones to set the standards and regulate their use?
If the EU wants to be able to enforce its approach, domestically and internationally, does it need to become a tech superpower? Would this enable Europe to reap economic and geopolitical benefits? And would continuing to rely on foreign tech giants will make the EU vulnerable and unable to enforce the rights of its citizens?
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Craig, who wants the EU to develop strong digital sovereignty because “Europeans have too long been de facto dependent on the United States”, including in terms of big US tech companies.
Next up, Carmelo sent us a : “There should be a compromise between national and European sovereignty, but a country that chooses to join an economic and political union shouldn’t then cherry pick the benefits.” When it comes to developing digital sovereignty, what might be the things to watch out for in terms of “cherry picking”?
Peter argues that European digital sovereignty could, for example, “ensure a more balanced way between blind market faith and protectionism”. Could greater European digital sovereignty mean the EU can retain strong social protection (e.g. around privacy and consumer protection) and still encourage robust digital innovation?
To get a response, we put these comments and questions to:
- Julia Pohle, Research Fellow at the Research Group “Politics of Digitalisation” at the Berlin Social Science Center
- Johannes Bahrke, Coordinating Spokesperson for the digital economy, research and innovation at the European Commission
- Ben Wreschner, Chief Economist and Head of Public Affairs, Vodafone Group
How can Europe reach digital sovereignty? When it comes to developing digital sovereignty, what might be the things to watch out for in terms of “cherry picking”? Could greater European digital sovereignty mean the EU can retain strong social protection (e.g. around privacy and consumer protection) and still encourage robust digital innovation? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!