The Multisided Path to European Digital Sovereignty and the future of EU-US Relations (PromethEUs Publication)

PromethEUs | 30/11/2021

PromethEUs latest pubblication explores the concept of digital sovereignty applied to the European Union, placing the current policy initiatives, regulatory interventions and international relations, especially with the US, in this context. It is the result of the collaboration of four think tanks from Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain), sharing some common problems and challenges.

Due to their prominence, strategic autonomy concerning technological and digital assets is at the top of the European economic, social and geopolitical agenda.

However, there are different possible declinations of the concrete meaning of digital sovereignty. This paper clearly rejects protectionist stances, opportunistically derived from an extreme notion of sovereignty, while embracing the aspiration to play a greater role independently exercised by Europe on the global stage, open to a fruitful collaboration with other world areas and countries, starting with our main ally, the US.

Chapter 1 points out that the discussion around digital sovereignty is a part of a broader effort by the EU to reinforce the Union’s general strategic autonomy in areas ranging from energy to health. Digital sovereignty is especially important in the EU, due to the clear competitive disadvantage that the Member States (MSs) currently have compared to the US and China.

In Chapter 2 the reasons behind the failure of the Lisbon Agenda of 2000 are recalled, while in Chapter 3 the focus is on how, based on the scenario of EU’s growing over-dependence on foreign-owned technology providers, it is strongly working to harness public-led initiatives to foster the private sector.

Chapter 4 goes on measuring the level of digitalisation of the EU MSs, compared with other advanced countries, while Chapter 5 discusses the evolution of the digital regulatory framework in the EU and US and presents the major milestones in recent decades, before focussing on the US regulatory perspective, strongly conditioned by the overall vision of an essentially self-regulating market.

Lastly, Chapter 6 affirms that, although the idea of a digitally autonomous EU may be attractive, to reach the forefront of technological development, the EU will need to ensure strong political and trading partnerships.

Please find attached the full publication and its press release.

Joint_Paper_PromethEUs_Digital_Sovereignty_30.11.21

Press_Release_Joint_Paper_PromethEUs