The heads of government of Germany, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland: Europe’s digital sovereignty gives us the ability to shape our own future

02.03.2021 | 12:09

Stenbock House, 2 March 2021 – Following Germany’s initiative, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin sent a joint letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, proposing ways to achieve European digital sovereignty more quickly. This means, above all, an increase in Europe’s technological capability and its ability to establish values and rules in a technology-rich world.
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Germany, Denmark, Estonia, and Finland call on the European Union to accelerate the digital transformation with the help of the new EU budgetary instruments and to focus on a digital policy that includes society, economy, and governance equally and supports the transition to a green economy.

“The widespread adoption of digital technologies is crucial for restarting the European economy and for the success, security, competitiveness, and prosperity of societies. This is one of the greatest opportunities and challenges for Europe’s future and it must benefit Europe’s people, society, and economy. Europe needs to identify strategically important key technologies and critical areas for action and ensure the free flow of data in all areas of the internal market. Governments must take the lead, and to achieve this, Europe needs the widest possible toolbox of measures in innovation, industrial, competition, trade and other policies,” the four heads of government write.

The leaders of the four countries consider it necessary to effectively ensure competition and market access in a data-driven world. Critical infrastructures and technologies must become sustainable and secure. They also highlight the importance of digitising governments to build trust and promote digital innovation.

The joint letter states that digital sovereignty is about building on Europe’s strengths and reducing strategic weaknesses, not excluding others or protectionism. As the EU is a part of global supply chains, they must be developed in the interests of European countries. Merkel, Frederiksen, Kallas, and Marin highlight the commitment to open markets and free, fair, and rules-based trade, and point out that digital sovereignty means just that for these countries.

In the joint letter, the four countries consider that three steps need to be taken to strengthen the European Union’s digital sovereignty: firstly, critical technologies and strategic sectors must be identified in order to determine Europe’s strengths and potential strategic weaknesses; secondly, the European Union must strengthen its approach to critical technologies and strategic sectors: open markets and open supply chains must be ensured in order to avoid dependencies. Thirdly, the four countries highlight the need for a permanent and recurrent evaluation system that stems from a broad societal, scientific, and economic basis. The evaluation system aims to facilitate innovation and development in order to ensure European sovereignty, security, competitiveness, and leadership position in the development of digital technologies.

Text of the joint letter

Conclusions of the European Council, October 2020

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