Spain: Post-2020 European Digital Policy

The Council of the European Union hasadopted the Conclusions on the future a highly digitalized Europebeyond 2020: “Boosting digital and economic competitiveness acrossthe Union and digital cohesion.” It defines aroute map to guide the European digital policy as of 2020.

The Conclusions place emphasis onspecific areas to foster the consolidation of a competitive, innovative, safeand digitalized Europe. The Council indicates that new goals and challengesmust be set for:

  • Supporting innovation;
  • Encouraging European key digitaltechnologies;
  • Respecting ethical principles and valuesin artificial intelligence;
  • Strengthening Europe’s cyber-securitycapacity;
  • Improving e-skills;
  • Developing the gigabit society,including 5G;
  • Increasing gender equality in the sector;and
  • Enabling all groups to benefit fromdigitalization, including the potentially vulnerable.

The Conclusions extensively develop theuse and corresponding restrictions of artificial intelligence technology. TheCouncil stresses the capacity of this branch of science to improve efficiencyand competitiveness in our economy by optimizing processes. It also stressesits ability to solve or at least alleviate the greater social challengesrelating to health services, food safety and the climate.

The Romanian Minister for Communicationand the Information Society and President of the Council, Alexandru Petrescu,recalled the need to be led by ethics and humanity when developing digitalpolicy, including regulations on artificial intelligence, and warns of theimportance of avoiding “any unnecessary red tape that would hamper innovation.”

The EU Council applauds the existence ofthe digital single market and considers that developing strategies toeliminate unfair barriers to encourage a defragmented market is key tosafeguarding it. To get there, Members States and the competent Europeanauthorities must work together with the Council to assess the efficiency andconsistency of the current regulatory framework.

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