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Nové technologie  |  September 05, 2023 09:59:12, updated

Building European Resilience in the Digital Age - Keynote speech by European Commissioner Thierry Breton at the Tallinn Digital Summit - Tech and Geopolitics

Madam Prime Minister, Dear Kaja [Kallas],

Ladies and gentlemen,


I am very happy to be here today to address the Digital Summit.

And I am particularly pleased to be in Tallinn. Not only because Estonia is a pioneer in advanced digital solutions, in e-government, e-voting and digitisation of business – and therefore there is no better place to speak about the European digital agenda.

But also because Estonia has shown impressive solidarity with Ukraine. You have driven the agenda of unity at European level, on sanctions, military support or the fight against Russian propaganda. Of course, this is a collective endeavour at European level, but we all know what Estonia is doing – and for this I want to thank you.

Given the current geopolitical context, this year's theme of the Summit for a more resilient democracy in the light of technological progress is of particular relevance. Be it cyberattacks, massive disinformation campaigns, or the weaponisation of our dependencies, our societies and economies are increasingly under threat.

Yes, the digital transformation is a huge opportunity for citizens and businesses in Europe – hence our ambition to make this our Digital Decade.

But we must also acknowledge that technology and especially digital applications have also been used to “stress test” our society.

It was therefore time to turn the tables. Building on our strengths – a vast, integrated Single Market – over these past four years we have led an unprecedented effort to organise the digital space, the same way we had to organise the physical space, with clear rules of the game, rights and obligations. These efforts to provide a clear and predictable legal framework go hand in hand with an ambitious innovation and technological leadership agenda.


[Europe's new digital rulebook]

Let me start with Europe'snew digital rulebook for the next decade.

Europe has successfully removed barriers to the circulation of products and services among our 27 Member States. But in the digital sphere, the last major digital regulation (the e-commerce directive) dated back to 2000. I don't need to explain how the digital space has changed since then! It was high time to update our rules of the game.

And that's what we've done! On online platforms, so they no longer behave, in Europe, like they are too big to care. On Artificial Intelligence, to help start-ups harness this disruptive technology while protecting our citizens. On industrial data, which will be a key driver of innovation and competitiveness. On cyber, to ensure that any product placed on the Single Market meets minimum cybersecurity requirements.

“It will be too complicated”, we were told. “You're too ambitious!” “You're too fast!” Well, we managed, listening to all stakeholders, working hand in hand with our democratic institutions, taking decisions in the common European interest.

Let's start with our new platform regulation.

Child pornography, cyberbullying and riots across the globe have shown the role that powerful yet unregulated digital spaces and platforms can play in our lives.

Rather than relying on platforms' good will or artful interpretation of the law, Europe has chosen to organise and restore trust and safety in the digital space.

With the Digital Services Act andthe Digital Markets Act we are bringing fairness, choice and safety into our digital environment.

The DSA is already legally binding on 19 Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines, like X/Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, which have to comply with new obligations: on transparency, privacy, removing illegal content and products, protecting vulnerable users, tackling disinformation and so on.

Child protection will be an enforcement priority, as will be fighting disinformation, in particular as we are entering a period of elections in Europe.

Our democracies are under threat, and with Russian disinformation around the war in Ukraine we have seen the most striking example of the risks that foreign information manipulation and interference pose to our society. The DSA provides a framework to fight disinformation, in terms of content moderation but also algorithmic amplification. And we will pay attention to ensure that disinformation is combatted equally and efficiently in all Member States and all languages… including Estonian.

Now let's turn to the Digital Markets Act. We know that some tech giants have used their market power to give their own products and services an unfair advantage and hold back competitors from doing business and creating added value and jobs. These practices distort competition, undermine free consumer choice and hold back SMEs' innovation potential notably arising from Web 4.0 and virtual worlds.

It was high time that Europe sets its rules of the game upfront, providing a clear enforceable legal framework to foster innovation, competitiveness and the resilience of the Single Market, rather than having to rely on lengthy and not always effective antitrust investigations. The DMA does just that.

Tomorrow we will officially designate the companies that provide an important gateway between businesses and consumers. and we will finally rein in their market power.

They will have to adapt their technologies and business models to give more choice to consumers and stop creating obstacles to smaller innovative tech companies (interoperability, sideloading, no self-preferencing, enhanced protection for user data, etc).

Secondly, Artificial intelligence. AI offers great opportunities for European citizens and businesses but can also be used in ways that run counter to our principles, values and rights.

In Europe, we decided to act quickly and develop the world's first comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, the AI Act. It promotes innovation, gives legal certainty to developers and users, and enables European citizens to confidently use innovative AI systems.

It prohibits AI use cases that carry an unacceptable risk (such as social scoring) and sets clear rules for high-risk use cases (such as healthcare). It's fantastic to be able to interpret an X-ray with the help of all the knowledge accumulated through access to thousands of cases of similar pathologies, but as a doctor and as a patient, you want to be sure that the AI system meets requirements of high-quality data, transparency and accuracy. Other commonly used applications, such as those that generate texts, photos or voices artificially, like ChatGPT or MidJourney, will have to comply with transparency obligations.

The AI Act is pro-innovation, thanks to its risk-based approach, its regulatory sandboxes to support experimentation, and its predictable framework. Because in Europe, safety, trust and innovation go hand in hand

Thirdly, if Europe missed the personal data revolution 10 years ago, it will not miss the industrial data tsunami that is coming.

Data fuels innovation and growth. Europe is home to vast amounts of industrial data. By using this data more than we do today, we can make big advances in manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and sustainability. But we need to break down the barriers that prevent data from being shared and used, and build a real European single market for data.

The Data Governance Act and the Data Act do exactly that. They ensure fairness in the allocation of value among the actors in the data economy and increase security for data sharing, thereby increasing trust. They also make sure that Europeans and businesses can benefit from the data that they generate and are not subject to unjustified extraterritorial access claims.

Fourthly, cybersecurity. As Europe has become a global political, economic and security actor, it is also a growing target for cyberattacks aimed at destabilising our systems and at disrupting our critical infrastructures. Europe is equipping itself with cyber space firewalls to protect its citizens, businesses and strategic interest.

This is why, over the past four years, we have completely overhauled the cybersecurity framework in Europe. In an interconnected single market, we are only as strong as the weakest link, whether it is a vulnerable Member State, an unsecure product or ineffective coordination.

We increased the cyber resilience of our main critical economic operators and now of all the products placed on the single market – imposing “cyber by design” features.

We are building the embryo of a European cyber shield – a network of Security Operations Centres, powered by artificial intelligence, to support detection and awareness of cybersecurity threats – and creating the first ever European cyber reserve of trusted private cybersecurity providers that support Member States under attack.

The message is clear: Europe is united against cyber threats.

We have also imposed strict security requirements on 5G networks to exclude high-risk providers. 5G networks are critical infrastructures –for sectors such as energy, transport, health and financial services. A number of Member States have already decided to exclude completely Huawei and ZTE from their 5G networks, in line with the European toolbox.

I am calling on all Member States to take the necessary decisions to ensure Europe's resilience and avoid dependencies in a critical infrastructure.


[Europe's ambitious innovation and technological leadership agenda]

We can take pride in our regulatory efforts, which we know are being closely watched across the globe.

But: referees don't win matches. For Europe to be a digital leader, we need to invest in innovation, industrial development and digital infrastructure deployment so that our digital players can grow and expand.

To make Europe the best place to invest and innovate. Let me give you a few examples.

Semiconductors: With the Chips Act, we have set the right conditions to attract major investments into of the European semiconductor production value chain. Over €100bn of investments have already been announced around projects of megafabs but also across the whole supply chain.

We will develop unprecedented infrastructures to accelerate the industrialisation process of research output, reduce our dependencies and secure the supply of advanced chips needed for our industrial transition..

Supercomputers:Europe is developing the most advanced and powerful supercomputer infrastructure in the world: 10 supercomputers in 10 Member States, including 2 exascale computers ranked among the world's top 3 supercomputers to surpass 1 billion of billion calculations per second. By 2025, Europe will be the continent with the largest computing power in the world.

We will put 50% of this capacity at the disposal – for free – of start-ups, innovators, and researchers to take their findings to the next level whether it is in health, energy or climate change.

We will use this capacity to put generative AI “made in Europe” on the world stage, boosting our start-ups by helping them train their AI models faster. Expect more on this in the coming weeks.

Quantum:Quantum technologies will make the unimaginable happen: look far beneath the ground or under the sea, perform complex computational tasks like modelling biomolecular and chemical reactions, diagnose diseases more quickly and accurately.

Quantum has the potential to completely change everything: from computing to cybersecurity, from communication to defence. And Europe is at the forefront of the second quantum revolution.

I am working on a new strategy to make Europe the world quantum valley consolidating our research excellence, industrialising it, scaling it up and creating lead markets, notably in four key applications : Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, quantum sensing and Post Quantum Cryptography.

Finally, let me say a word on connectivity. Secure connectivity, beyond 5G, is critical for our economy and society.

The EU has set the target of ensuring affordable, high-speed and secure connectivity for everybody and everywhere in Europe by 2030.

With the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, we will significantly increase the reference speed from 30 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second.

But much more is needed. The cloud, the metaverse, quantum, artificial intelligence, satellites, submarine cables… all these technologies are leading to a radical transformation of the connectivity sector. I am working on a Telecom Act to build a new industrial approach to leverage the strength of the Single Market also in the connectivity sector and support the investments in the network infrastructure of the future in an efficient and timely manner.



Ladies and gentlemen,

Europe has all it takes to lead the digital transition, and we are playing all our cards.

A clear and predictable legal framework for our vast, integrated Single Market while at the same time making our societies and democratic institutions more resilient

An ambitious investment agenda to foster technological and digital innovation.

Strong digital and tech diplomacy partnerships, through Trade & Technology Councils and dedicated digital partnerships.

All of this will allow Europe to position itself asa tech and digital global leader, standard-setter and innovation hub.

However, in the face of the new geopolitical realities, we also need tools to defend European interests and reduce current – and avoid future – dependencies.

This is the sense of our Economic Security Strategy from June. To adjust our approach towards four types of risks: technological, supply chains, critical infrastructure, trade actions. We are finalising a list of critical technologies whose enabling and transformative nature and risk of fusion with military use by a third country is high, requiring a detailed assessment and monitoring.

This is not about closing Europe. It is about de-risking Europe to make our society and economy more resilient.

It is about managing our dependencies, preserving European interests, and avoiding technologies being used to destabilise our societies and democratic values. In short, making Europe more resilient.

This is exactly the Europe I believe in: assertive, not naive, open but at our conditions, and playing its full part as a geopolitical power.

Thank you.

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