Digital sovereignty for Europe

Briefing 02-07-2020

There is growing concern that the citizens, businesses and Member States of the European Union (EU) are gradually losing control over their data, over their capacity for innovation, and over their ability to shape and enforce legislation in the digital environment. Against this background, support has been growing for a new policy approach designed to enhance Europe's strategic autonomy in the digital field. This would require the Union to update and adapt a number of its current legal, regulatory and financial instruments, and to promote more actively European values and principles in areas such as data protection, cybersecurity and ethically designed artificial intelligence (AI). This paper explains the context of the emerging quest for 'digital sovereignty', which the coronavirus pandemic now seems to have accelerated, and provides an overview of the measures currently being discussed and/or proposed to enhance European autonomy in the digital field.