Welcome to this edition of Europe’s Digital Agenda. In this space I uncover and detail last week’s digital developments from across Europe, highlighting the most relevant news and forthcoming activities.
Europe at a glance
5G. The European Commission and the European Agency for Cybersecurity have published a high-level report on the coordinated risk assessment of 5G networks security.
The report identifies a number of important security challenges, which the advent of 5G networks are likely to give rise to or intensify, while taking into account the evolving nature of the 5G technology and environment.
The US has been lobbying against Chinese tech firm, who they claim may have embedded back-doors tools in their software to allegedly allow data to be siphoned off to the Chinese state.
The US government extended its blacklist of businesses to include some of China’s largest artificial intelligence (AI) companies, punishing Beijing for abusing Muslim minorities, and heightening tensions in the run-up to high-level trade talks in Washington this week.
Meanwhile, this week, the Romanian Minister of Communications and Information Society Alexandru Petrescu announced the begin of the implementation of 5G technology in the country in 2020.
The announcement arrived with and interesting timing, coming just weeks after Radoslaw Kedzia, Huawei VP for the Central and Eastern European region, landed in the Eastern European country of Romania to negotiate with officials about a potential ban against the Chinese company in the auction for 5G frequency bands.
FAKE NEWS. The European Commission has released a call for tenders for the development of the a European Digital Media Observatory to help counter misinformation in Europe.
The European Digital Media Observatory will serve as a forum for fact-finders, scholars and researchers to work together and actively engage with media organizations and media literacy experts and to help policy makers.
The call for tenders of up to € 2.5 million is the first real step towards the introduction of the European Disinformation Center on the Internet.
EASTERN EUROPE. Senior officials representing countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation group convened this week, in a bid to support the roll-out of innovative technological solutions in the region. Vadim Brinzan, Moldova’s Economy Minister, said ICT firms are afforded the benefit of “separate tax environments” in his country.
COMMISSION PICKS. MEPs have begun hearings of Commission picks to ensure their suitability for the job and deliver on citizens expectations. Day one saw Trade, Innovation and Inter-institutional relations on the menu.
Phil Hogan from Ireland, the Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel and the Slovak Maroš Šefčovič were all heard and questioned by Parliamentary committees. After scrutinising their abilities and plans, Parliament will have the final say on the Commission.
DIGITAL TAX. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published its proposal for a digital taxation. The OECD set the goal to achieve overall consensus by the end of 2020. A public consultation is due to run until November 12.
TERRORISM ONLINE. The European Parliament has announced that its intention to start negotiations with EU member states to draft new rules for internet firms to remove content promoting terrorism within an hour of being notified.
This position was already agreed by the parliament before May’s European elections and confirmed by the current parliament’s civil liberties committee.
The new measure is aimed at combating radicalisation online.
If approved, internet companies will be required to remove online content promoting terrorism within an hour of receiving an order from national authorities
Europe’s Digital Agenda – The Week Ahead
- US-China trade talks.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India
- Prime Minister of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh to visit Kazakhstan.
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to visit Turkey
- Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Nepal
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit France
- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Saudi Arabia.
- The European Parliament President and political groups’ leaders will hold an exchange of views with the three Executive Vice Presidentsdesignate of the incoming European Commission: Valdis Dombrovskis (an Economy that Works for People), Margrethe Vestager (a Europe Fit for the Digital Age) and Frans Timmermans (the European Green Deal).
- European Parliament’s political groups will prepare for the 21-24 October session in Strasbourg, where MEPs are set to elect the new European Commission, following the presentation by Ursula von der Leyen of the College of Commissioners and their programme.
Mover and Shakers
- Yoomi Renström, mayor of Ovanåker (Sweden), and Christophe Rouillon, mayor of Coulaines (France), were elected as the new president and first vice president of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Group in the European Committee of the Regions.
- Stanislav Máselník, previously at Hyundai, is now manager of regulatory research at Mazda and in charge of Mazda’s Brussels office.
- Germany nominated Freya Lemcke as a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, to replace Günter Lambertz
Summit and Meetings
Bridging the Digital Talent Gap – Towards Successful Industry-University partnerships conference (Rome, Italy, 30 October 2019)
The workshop aims to address the systemic gap of advanced digital skills the EU is facing with the contribution of experts from relavant stakeholder such as universities, industry and public policy makers.
Boosting Connectivity Investments conference (Brussels, Belgium, 2-3 December)
The Boosting Connectivity Investments conference will explore how 5G corridors carry the Union’s leading connectivity to a more robust, stable and cost-effective network, enabling new concerted action between the transport, power and digital sectors.