02 Sep, 2020

Breton: assertive and resilient EU can face the impact of COVID-19

European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton discussed trade, industrial policy, data protection and the European digital sovereignty with POLITICO on 1 September.

In his intervention, Commissioner Breton noted that the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends such as digitalisation and influenced the global order. Breton underlined the importance of a more assertive and resilient European Union that can face the challenges and the impact of this unprecedented health crisis. He also took the opportunity to announce that an action plan on raw materials is expected to come in the next days.

On the use and control of data, Commissioner Breton highlighted the role Europe needs to play and called for the digital society – notably the big tech companies – to both take responsibility and to adapt to the EU rules and values.

“European data should be stored and processed in Europe because they belong in Europe. There is nothing protectionist about this,” he said.

On health data in particular, Breton noted that “nothing is more important than our health data and we cannot compromise it” and stressed that while some data could be shared, the GDPR regulation must always be upheld.

Moreover, Breton regretted the dependence on external resources in some areas and stressed the need to develop European Digital Sovereignty based on three key pillars:

  • European secured cloud for industrial data that enables the European Data Alliance;
  • Independency on semiconductors;
  • Connectivity with fibre and 5G.

You can watch the event here or below

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