Europe’s digital sovereignty: From rulemaker to superpower in the age of US-China rivalry

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Publication Date July 2020
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  • COVID-19 has revealed the critical importance of technology for economic and health resilience, making Europe’s digital transformation and sovereignty a question of existential importance.
  • Rising US-China tensions are an additional incentive for Europe to develop its own digital capabilities; it risks becoming a battleground in their struggle for tech and industrial supremacy.
  • Democratic governments – keen to preserve an open market in digital services while protecting the interests of citizens – find the European model an increasingly attractive alternative to the US and Chinese approaches.
  • The EU cannot continue to rely on its regulatory power but must become a tech superpower in its own right. Referees do not win the game.
  • Europe missed the first wave of technology but must take advantage of the next, in which it has competitive advantages such as in edge computing.
  • EU member states lack a common position on tech issues or even a shared understanding of the strategic importance of digital technologies, such as on broadband rollout or application of AI.
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