20 Feb, 2020

Vestager presents strategies to achieve a Digital EU

On 19 February, the European Commission unveiled its strategy to shape Europe’s digital future. This plan, overseen by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and supported by Commissioner Thierry Breton, is one of the tools launched by the European Commission to pave the way for a European digital transformation and become a world leader in technology.

Technology that works for people, a fair and competitive economy and an open, democratic and sustainable society are the three main priorities of the strategy.

The Commission’s Digital Strategy includes both a Data Strategy and a White Paper on Artificial Intelligence.

Data Strategy

The Data Strategy is aimed at boosting the digital sovereignty and completing the single market of data. It is based on four main pillars: (i) the creation of a Common European Data Space that will enable data to be shared; (ii) a governance framework that include the development of a Data Act at the end of the year; (iii) competences and skills strategy; and (iv) enablers.

The data space will foster Europe’s digital sovereignty while empowering individuals by giving them tools to enforce their rights.

“Europe has everything it takes to lead the ‘big data’ race, and preserve its technological sovereignty, industrial leadership and economic competitiveness to the benefit of European consumers”, said Commissioner Breton during the press conference.

White Paper on Artificial intelligence

The White Paper on Artificial intelligence takes a human-centric approach to mobilise resources amongst the private and public sectors to create the right incentives and build a framework for trustworthy AI based on excellence and trust.

This framework will boost AI technology while establishing clearer and stricter rules based on safety, liability and fundamental rights to address high-risk systems and protect consumers.

“We are what we eat and if there is no data there is no artificial intelligence”, Executive Vice-President Vestager remarked at a CEPS event on the new package on data and artificial intelligence (see the full event here).

The White Paper on AI is open for public consultation until 19 May 2020.

As Liberals, we believe that in this age of digitalisation, respect for EU fundamental values including equal opportunity and the protection of privacy for all citizens, as well as a human-centric approach to Artificial Intelligence are needed to face the digital transformation. Moreover, the EU should be a leader in creating a solid legal framework for these new technologies.

Renew Europe presented its position paper on Artificial Intelligence earlier this month, highlighting the need for a human-centric approach that facilitates accountability, transparency and the protection of data, as well as calling for the completion of a true European Single Market and global leadership of the EU on AI (see full position paper here).

The Digital Strategy is only one part of the measures that the European Commission will present this year, and a Digital Services Act and the Democracy Action plan will be released by the end of 2020.

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