France’s Macron lays out a imaginative and prescient for European ‘digital sovereignty’

French President Emmanuel Macron can be seen on screens as he addresses the nation about the state of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in France in this picture dated October 28, 2020.

Christian Hartmann | Reuters

LONDON – French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Europe must maintain its “digital sovereignty” and outlined a series of steps to reduce reliance on US tech giants.

Although the US digital platforms contributed to a “major change” in society following the coronavirus outbreak, there must be a “European solution and European sovereignty” when it comes to technology, Macron said.

“We need European funding, European solutions, European talent, European regulations,” said Macron in an interview with Niklas Zennström, the Swedish billionaire who co-founded Skype.

“We have regulations … but we don’t have the equivalent of those very, very big caps,” Macron added, referring to highly respected tech companies in the US like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

France’s leader outlined three requirements for Europe to achieve such a strategy of digital sovereignty. They include:

  • More integration of the European Union in terms of start-up financing
  • A “digital single market” that promotes data protection and technical innovation
  • European cloud and data solutions to reduce dependence on US companies

Digital sovereignty has become an integral concept in the EU’s drive to become a global tech powerhouse fighting against the dominance of large American tech companies.

The block will soon reveal groundbreaking new rules for digital markets and services that could have significant ramifications for US giants like Google and Facebook.

In the meantime, the European Commission, Germany and France are working on an initiative to reduce reliance on US and Chinese cloud giants. The project, called Gaia-X, aims to develop a new framework for the data infrastructure in Europe – essentially blueprints for the future European cloud provider.

Atomico, Zennström’s venture capital firm, released a report Tuesday showing that the European tech sector was on track to attract over $ 41 billion in startup investments in 2020. He also highlighted the challenges of sourcing growth funds and diversifying technologies.

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