The EU should tap into increasing volumes of data as a source of growth and innovation, says a report adopted on Thursday.
For European businesses, universities and research to be globally competitive, an EU-wide strategy that enables the free flow of data within the EU is needed, MEPs are set to say. A data society must be set up that is built on rights and EU values such as privacy, transparency and respect of fundamental rights, leading to better and automated real-time services, sustainable growth and high-quality jobs. Citizens should have full control over their data and be empowered to take decisions about it, MEPs stress.
The free flow of data in the Europe must remain the founding principle in future policies, and this will entail challenges related to data quality, bias, protection and security or unfair trading conditions, which will have to be addressed, MEPs say.
The non-binding report adopted on Thursday with 602 votes to 8 and 78 abstentions is a response to the European Commission’s communication on a European strategy for data.
“The data strategy is at the heart of Europe being fit for digital age. At the moment only the tech giants have the full capacity to benefit from data economy and Artificial Intelligence” said lead MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D, FI). “When more and more data is collected e.g. from industry, we do not want to leave it for the hand of few but innovations and value creation needs to benefit European companies too” She said. “Europe needs decentralized and interoperable data sharing society and economy that allows all players – big or small – to be a part of and gain benefit from European data ecosystems” she added.
The European strategy for data, tabled in February 2020, aims at creating a single market for data that will ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and data sovereignty. Common European data spaces will ensure that more data becomes available for use in the economy and society, while keeping companies and individuals who generate the data in control.
The Data Strategy and the White Paper on Artificial Intelligence are the first pillars of the new digital strategy of the Commission. They all focus on the need to put people first in developing technology, as well as on the need to defend and promote European values and rights in how we design, make and deploy technology in the real economy.