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EU tech agenda during the coronavirus pandemic

The digital strategy, data strategy and AI White Paper were top of the Commission agenda just a few weeks ago. The coronavirus pandemic has shifted priorities.

Less than a month ago, tech was top of the European Commission’s agenda. Still in the first 100 days of the new term, a new digital strategy, a new data strategy and an AI white paper were all released on 19 February and were very much meant to keep the Eurobubble busy for the next few months. Except that one thing that changed everything.

So, what’s happened to the EU tech agenda then?

The new priorities emerging from the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will inevitably drive some re-thinking of digital policy in the European Commission over the coming months.

The consultation on the Digital Services Acta mammoth legislative proposal covering all digital services, has been postponed. It is unclear when it is going to be launched, but we can safely assume they’ll be waiting for a moment when the world may actually pay attention.

The AI and data consultations for now stay on track with a deadline for responses at the end of May, which doesn’t mean the timelines could not change later in the spring. The Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, has strongly rejected the claim that the future EU regulatory framework could hamper AI applications in healthcare. She remains convinced that trust is the only way forward.

The Commission’s initiative on business to government data sharing takes centre stage. In February, an expert group report looked into how businesses could share their data with government authorities “for the common good”. Expect data altruism to feature in the upcoming Data Act.

The review of the GDPR is the most recent victim of the new rescheduling, now expected to be published in June. A reminder that the Commission has to review how the regime is being implemented two years after it came into force.

Should members have questions on any of the files mentioned, reach out to Sabina Ciofu.


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