The European Union is often criticized for its performance in regulating technology.
For an American company based in Silicon Valley, the very idea of a new round of European regulations is, to say the least worrisome. And yet, over the last months, we have more and more instances of CEOs of big tech requesting regulation. That is for two main reasons. Firstly a set of comprehensive rules and principles offers the necessary legal certainty that any business would need, in order to develop in the EU. Secondly, quite simply,
the EU has done quite a good job in creating the conditions for a European Digital Single Market to function.
Critics of the EU tend to forget that the state of the DSM in 2019 is largely a product of the last 4-5 years when the European Commission and the European Parliament rolled up their sleeves and started working on taking down barriers and putting safeguards in place. A big part of what is already in place in the European Union and affects largely the global regulatory evolutions has come into fruition because of our work in the European Parliament. For example, the abolishment of roaming charges, the implementation of GDPR, the Copyright and the audiovisual reforms, the ban on geoblocking and online discrimination, the first set of rule for business and platform relations, a comprehensive set of rules that protect consumers online, a cybersecurity framework. These have been fundamental
reforms that are already in place and affecting the lives of millions of citizens and influencing other regulators to follow the same direction.
However, our work looks further than the current challenges that we face. We have also been trying to address emerging disrupting technologies. The EU has started multiple initi- atives unlocking innovation and implementing new solutions to problems. In that framework, I had the chance to work extensively on blockchain and DLT technologies. The EU has an important role to play in cultivating this technology and we aspire to make it the leading player in the field of blockchain. With our work, we have facilitated the strong entre- preneurial interest in blockchain, by ensuring legal certainty and by abiding by three funda- mental principles:
1. Technology neutrality
2. Business model neutrality
3. Innovation-friendly approach
Moreover, the EU is championing the creation of an ethical framework for the functioning of AI. As the draftsperson for the European Parliament text addressing artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation we have stressed the importance of the human inter- vention in key decisions and most importantly create a safety net that will allow for the ones left behind by the rapid changes to catch up.
For the creation of a well functioning Digital Single Market, there is also the need to heavily invest in innovative ideas and in infra- structure. And this is where the EU has put its money where its mouth is. For the last years, there have been quite some very interesting ideas popping out of EU funding and quite some remarkable scientific discoveries made because of it, with most recent and impressive the first photo of a black hole, a project that has received EU funding. In the negotiations for the new Multiannual Financial Framework, the budget of the EU for the next years, we have been adamant about the need to spend more on disruptive technologies and science. And we actually managed to deliver; we have secured more than a trillion euros in funding, through different funding tools and platforms, in order to enhance the capacities of the EU and enable it to compete on a global scale.
And this has been our goal. The EU needed to step up its game and create the conditions for a thriving Digital Single Market. During the last five years, despite the stereotypes about Brussels bureaucracy, we have proved that we are willing to take the extra step and lay the groundwork for a society that is fueled by growth while respecting and safeguarding the privacy, the wellbeing and the rights of our citizens.