eco on the EU Commission Work Programme: Concrete implementation of digital work packages now

Today, the EU Commission presents its Work Programme for the year 2021 in the European Parliament. eco – Association of the Internet Industry welcomes the fact that it also includes numerous digital focal points and legislative projects to bring Europe through the current Corona crisis both economically and socially, and to make it more resilient.

“The new EU Commission work programme is an important step towards a consistent and goal-oriented European digital policy – now, what is important is to implement the individual digital work packages in concrete terms,” says eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme. Here, Süme hopes for a practicable and at the same time efficient implementation of the desired goals, which are currently still formulated in a very abstract way. The Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act will mark the start in December of an exciting and intensive phase of European digital policy.

The eco Chair also welcomes the fact that the importance of digital technologies and applications for achieving the EU climate targets has been recognised. Süme comments that, “Appropriate strategies must now be jointly developed speedily and close consultation with representatives from the sectors concerned, such as the digital sector – and in particular, the operators of digital infrastructures. What further steps could be taken, especially with regard to the EU Green Deal, was outlined by the Association of the Internet Industry in an official Position Paper. “Digital technologies and infrastructures are not part of the problem but part of the solution – this should be reflected in the future policy of the EU Commission,” Süme continues.

At the same time, Süme criticises the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) is not mentioned as a separate topic in the EU Commission work programme, although Commission President von der Leyen announced major plans for this topic in her last State of the Union address. “Artificial intelligence is the dominant topic of future-oriented digitization worldwide, and politics must also deal with it consistently. If the EU wants to be one of the top locations for AI, it must first allow industry and research sufficient room for technological innovation,” according to Süme. “As a basis for a competition and innovation-friendly AI policy, the EU Commission should therefore – finally, in 2021 – set the legal framework for data availability and data processing, without over-regulating algorithms from the outset.”

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