The European Commission was represented by Commissioner Thierry Breton.

Federal Minister Altmaier:

Only if swift progress is made on the digitisation of our businesses and society will we be able to successfully address the major challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and also from any future crises. We in the German Presidency of the Council of the EU want to work closely together with the member states of the European Union as we foster the digital transition and safeguard Europe’s technological sovereignty. This is an important contribution to refreshing Europe’s economic strength. The data economy will make a decisive contribution to this. Also important in this context is that we strengthen data use and data availability in the EU, and design a clearer European framework for this. This is why, today, we want to discuss a legislative proposal on this subject, which was recently put forward by the European Commission.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and Commissioner Thierry Breton at the beginning of the Videoconference of EU-Ministers for Telecommunications and Digital Policy © BMWi

The focus of the political debate was the proposal for an EU Data Governance Regulation which the European Commission tabled on 25 November as part of its European Data Strategy. Ministers discussed this very first proposal under the strategy, and engaged in a conversation about what needs to be done to facilitate the use and sharing of data. For instance, there was a debate on transaction costs and how these could be lowered. Also on the agenda was a discussion on how to provide truly effective incentives for innovative business models in Europe.

Federal Minister Altmaier reported on the state of the negotiations on various legislative proposals made by the European Commission, and on Council Conclusions on cybersecurity for connected devices. The Council Conclusions have already been adopted by the Member States and encourage the introduction of binding cyber security requirements for connected devices.

In the run-up to the video conference, 11 Member States also signed a Joint Declaration, calling for a European initiative on microprocessors and semiconductor technologies. This initiative is to help with the establishment of a European Alliance for Microelectronics, and the creation of an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) on microelectronics and communication technologies. In this way, the Joint Declaration will make an important contribution to Europe’s data sovereignty.