EU leaders call for strategic autonomy and a “European Digital Identification”: conclusions from the last Summit

On 1 and 2 October, the heads of state or government of the EU Member States met for a European Council. The conclusions from the Summit mention the objectives of reducing industrial dependencies and strengthening Europe’s digital sovereignty, including strategic value chains such as microprocessors. EU leaders also call for a “European Digital Identification” initiative by mid-2021.

Please find below the link to the conclusions and the key points from this document.

European Council conclusions

Industrial policy: towards less dependency

The European Council invites the Commission to identify strategic dependencies, especially in the most sensitive ecosystems, such as health, and to propose measures to reduce such dependencies. These measures can be diversification of production and supply chain, stockpiling, fostering production and investment in Europe.

For this purpose, the European Council calls for:

-new industrial alliances, including on raw materials, microprocessors, secure telecommunication networks, Industrial Clouds and Platforms;

-stepping up the assistance to existing Important Projects of Common European Interest on Batteries and micro-electronics and developing new projects.

In addition, European competition rules will be reviewed in 2021 to make them fit for innovation, sustainability, and global challenges. The Commission is exploring the possibility of adopting rules on the systemic role and responsibilities of online platforms.


Strengthening Europe’s digital sovereignty

When it comes to digital sovereignty, the European Council underlines that “the EU must build a truly digital single market, reinforce its ability to define its own rules, to make autonomous technological choices, and to develop and deploy strategic digital capacities and infrastructures”. However, the EU will remain open to all companies complying with European rules and standards. EU leaders highlight that 20% of the Recovery fund will be dedicated to the digital transition, including for SMEs.

Such funds, together with the EU multi-annual budget (MFF) will:

-foster the European development of the next generation of digital technologies, including supercomputers, quantum computing, blockchain and human-centred Artificial Intelligence;

-develop capacities in strategic value chains, especially microprocessors;

-accelerate the development of fibre and 5G;

-enhance the cyber-resilience of the EU, provide for a secure communication environment, especially through quantum encryption.

The European Council stresses that the EU and the Member States should make full use of the 5G cybersecurity toolbox and apply the relevant restrictions on high-risk suppliers for key assets.


Call for a “European Digital identification”

EU national leaders call “for the development of an EU-wide framework for secure public electronic identification (e-ID), including interoperable digital signatures, to provide people with control over their online identity and data as well as to enable access to public, private and cross-border digital services.” They further invite the Commission to come forward with a proposal for a ʻEuropean Digital Identificationʼ initiative by mid-2021.


Protecting Europe’s data via an EU federated cloud infrastructure

The European Council welcomes the creation of common European data spaces in strategic sectors, in particular the creation of the health data space which should be set up by the end of 2021. The European Council supports a high level of data security, data protection and privacy.

The European Council further underlines “the need to establish trusted, safe and secure European cloud services in order to ensure that European data can be stored and processed in Europe, in compliance with European rules and standards.” The conclusions mention the concept of an EU federated cloud infrastructure to achieve these objectives


Increasing investments in Artificial intelligence

The European Council invites the Commission to:

-propose ways to increase public and private investments in AI research, innovation and deployment;

-ensure better coordination between European research centres;

-provide a clear, objective definition of high-risk AI systems.


Next steps:

These topics will be further addressed by the European Council in March 2021.


If you have any questions on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact Camille Dornier - Policy Manager:

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