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Fostering Europe’s Strategic Autonomy - Digital sovereignty for growth, rules and cooperation

Andreas Aktoudianakis

Date: 18/12/2020
Digitalisation is driving major transformations in economics, politics, and the balance of power in global affairs. To catch the current wave of technological innovation and cope with its geo-economic and geopolitical implications, the EU should enhance its data infrastructure, unleash the potential of its Digital Single Market, and design a digital policy that contributes to the development of global digital governance and fosters multilateral cooperation.

In order to foster its digital sovereignty, the EU and its member states should follow a strategy based on three main pillars: bracing to address European overdependence on foreign technologies, unfair competition in digital markets, and infrastructure vulnerabilities; empowering Europe by removing barriers in the Digital Single Market, implementing the principles of data-openness and innovation outlined in the EU digital strategies, addressing unfair data-merging practices, expanding EU funding for innovation with a focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises, and enhancing the digital skills of the workforce; and engaging internationally to leverage EU regulatory power and boost alliances for effectively regulating emerging technologies, digital markets, data governance, and international data flows.

Digitalisation, innovation, digital skills, and international engagement will be crucial to sustaining Europe’s competitiveness and economic growth. The recommendations outlined above will enable the EU to pursue its objective of digital sovereignty during its “digital decade,” as European Commission President von der Leyen put it in her first State of the Union Address.

This paper is part of the joint European Policy Centre – Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung project on ‘Fostering Europe’s strategic autonomy: priorities for action’ that runs throughout 2020 and aims to outline a concrete agenda to strengthen Europe’s role in the world and its sovereignty.

Read the full paper here.

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