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Getting Europe ready for next generation of connectivity infrastructure

I am delighted to be back in Finland to talk about the “EU’s Digital Ambitions.” There couldn’t be a better setting. Finland is one of the Member States with the most ambitious digital agenda, and leading digital competitiveness rankings, in the EU and worldwide.

In the Commission, we are working every day for each and every Member State and the European Union as a whole to be digital leaders, and to embrace the full potential of digital to modernise our Single Market.

Our ambitions are clear. Empower our citizens and businesses in a smoothly functioning Single Market without barriers, protect our democracies, and lead the technological race. By setting clear targets for 2030 to federate our efforts, and providing the necessary regulatory framework and investment conditions.

With two guiding principles:

  • more self-assurance regarding our strengths: our attractiveness as the world’s largest Single Market; and our ability to lead not only on research and well-established technology, but also to lead on the markets of the future;
  • and more self-assurance regarding our ability to set our own rules of the game, rather than just accept the choices of others, giving us the capacity to project ourselves onto the global stage and attract foreign investment.

And I dare say that we are delivering. Let me quickly mention a few examples.

With the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act we have reorganised our digital space. The DSA will protect our citizens in the digital world against disinformation or cyberbullying of children. The DMA will ensure fair competition in the access to the digital space so that platforms cannot abuse their gatekeeper position. I am in contact with platforms so they get ready to comply. In Europe, the largest integrated digital market in the world with its 450 million population, online platforms will no longer be able to act like they are “too big to care”.

We are rolling out an ambitious strategy to unlock the full potential of the data economy. With the Data Governance Act, already adopted, and the Data Act, in advanced negotiations, we are building a genuine Single Market for data, opening up opportunities for all economic players and making Europe a global leader in the data-agile economy.

And we aim to double our global market share to 20% by 2030 and produce the most sophisticated and energy-efficient semiconductors in Europe. With the European Chips Act, we are setting the conditions and mobilising the investment needed to ensure the EU’s security of supply, resilience and technological leadership in semiconductor technologies and applications. We already see these investments materialise on the ground with many mega fab projects emerging, not to mention the ongoing IPCEI with 100 companies in 20 Member States including Finland.

Semiconductors and data are two prerequisites for Artificial Intelligence, on which we are also taking action by establishing a solid and proportionate world-leading regulatory framework to increase trust and reliability, and building partnerships to boost its uptake, innovation and investment in Europe.

With our EU Standardisation Strategy, we are reinforcing our role as a global standard-setter, promoting digital standards that reflect European values and boost the international competitiveness of our industry.

We are also making great strides when it comes to cybersecurity, in all its dimensions: mandatory security requirements and incidents reporting for all critical economic operators; minimum cyber security requirements for any product, software or hardware; operational cooperation between the 27 Member States and more recently stronger cyber defence cooperation. We are also consolidating our international cooperation especially with the US: I just launched with Secretary Mayorkas several concrete workstreams to enhance our cyber cooperation as part of the EU/US cyber dialogue. We have also increased the cyber security of our 5G networks through the 5G Toolbox to remove any high-risk suppliers from the core and RAN. Let me mention here that although 23 Member States took legislative action to implement the toolbox, only 7 of them have actually imposed the necessary restrictions. This is not enough.

Finally, we agreed on the establishment of IRIS², our space based secured connectivity infrastructure. IRIS will increase our resilience and sovereignty by complementing terrestrial infrastructure and delivering high-speed internet access through a multi-orbital system. It will be ultra-secure, thanks to quantum encryption, enabling defence and security governmental applications. The war in Ukraine has shown the strategic interest of Low Earth orbit systems to ensure connectivity in any circumstance.

CT Bureau

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