Frenchman Macron outlines a vision of European “digital sovereignty”

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French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on screens as he addresses the nation about the state of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic in France in this illustrative photo on the 28th October 2020.
Christian Hartmann | Reuters
LONDON – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Europe must preserve its “digital sovereignty”, highlighting a number of measures aimed at reducing its dependence on US tech giants.
Although U.S. digital platforms have contributed to a “great transformation” of society following the coronavirus outbreak, there must be a “European solution and European sovereignty” when it comes to technology, Macron said.

“We need European funding, European solutions, European talent, European regulations,” Macron said in a conversation with Niklas Zennström, the Swedish billionaire who co-founded Skype.

“We have regulations… but we don’t have the equivalent of these very, very large caps,” Macron added, referring to highly regarded technology companies in the United States like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

The French leader presented three requirements for Europe to implement such a digital sovereignty strategy. They include:

  • More European Union integration on things like seed funding
  • A “digital single market” promoting confidentiality and technological innovation
  • European cloud and data solutions to reduce reliance on US businesses

Digital sovereignty has become an integral concept in the EU’s attempt to become a global tech powerhouse, fighting the dominance of big US tech companies.

The bloc is soon set to unveil revolutionary new rules governing digital markets and services, which could have significant consequences for US giants like Google and Facebook.

Meanwhile, the European Commission, Germany and France are working on an initiative to reduce reliance on the US and Chinese cloud giants. Dubbed Gaia-X, the project aims to develop a new framework for data infrastructure in Europe – essentially plans for the future European cloud provider.

Atomico, Zennström’s venture capital firm, released a report on Tuesday showing that Europe’s tech sector is on track to win more than $ 41 billion in startup investments in 2020. It also highlighted the related challenges the mobilization of growth funds and the diversification of technology.

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