EU leaders ask for highest-level talks on the digital policy

Seventeen leaders of the European Union countries have sent an open letter to the European Council president, Donald Tusk, asking him for highest-level talks on the EU digital policy, saying that the main challenges to fully embrace the opportunities of digitisation are still ahead.

The letter, which was sent to Tusk just a day before the 22-23 June EU summit in Brussels, says the European unity needs a single market “of which the digital dimension is the main engine”.

“It is our firm belief that to continue enhancing European unity and prosperity, and in order to have a sustainable Europe, we need to strongly embed the idea of a strong, connected and developing Single Market of which the digital dimension is the main engine. We are convinced that this principle, adopted in the Rome Declaration, should be of priority interest, and that it needs our strong and continued political support at the highest level.”

The letter was drafted by Poland and also signed by the leaders of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Embracing new technologies

“Even though the digital agenda consists of many separate initiatives, which may seem too technical to be a subject of the European Council’s concern, the cumulative effect of the Digital Single Market is of key importance for the future of the European society and economy,” the letter said. “That leaves us with the need for a new digital driven mind-set that uses digital economy and information society to become a more coherent, innovative, open, fair and sustainable European Union, and to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness.”

To achieve that, the letter proposes a list of measures, among which is embracing new technologies like Blockchain and AI; better regulation and a coordinated approach; and to enshrine a free flow of data principle in the European law.

According to news portal Euractiv, the European leaders are expected to spend part of 23 June, the second day of the summit, discussing the digital single market and a summit on digital issues coming up in September in Estonia.

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Cover: Digital Europe (the image is illustrative.)

About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at sten@estonianworld.com.