European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip has opened Digital Day 2018 by sharing his view on Europe’s digital and data-based future.
The inaugural Digital Day event was held in Rome, Italy last year, and sought to establish an agenda for innovation towards the EU’s digital single market ambitions, and encourage member states to make commitments to Europe’s digital and data-based future.
Ansip opened his address by celebrating the progress that has been over the last year on constructing the digital single market, particularly in terms of removing barriers to development and implementation.
He highlighted a number of particular measures, including:
- The general data protection regulation;
- Strengthening cybersecurity;
- Banning roaming surcharges;
- Outlawing unjustified geo-blocking; and
- Creating cross-border access to online subscription content.
He also welcomed an upcoming telecoms policy, which will be negotiated by EU member states over the next few weeks, which will begin to create and integrate infrastructure for 5G internet technology.
What are Ansip’s priorities for this year?
The commissioner expanded on the European Commission’s announcement yesterday, which detailed overall digital single market priorities. He suggested that the legislative and regulatory environment that the EU is creating will facilitate its aim to be a world leader in a number of emerging technological sectors, including in 5G and artificial intelligence.
This aim is further supported by the efforts of member states, Ansip added. He said: “I am pleased to see AI come onto the political agenda in many EU countries… We are home to the world’s leading AI research community. And the European tech sector identifies AI and blockchain as the areas where Europe is best positioned to play a leading role.”
He insisted that this cannot be achieved without political and financial investment, however. He welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that France will invest €1.5bn over five years to support joint AI projects with Germany.
Ansip concluded with an acknowledgement that to secure Europe’s digital and data-based future, these technologies will require funding at an EU level, and that to facilitate this, support is needed from stakeholders across the sector, particularly as the European Commission begins preparations for its next multiannual financial framework.