Digital sovereignty central to EU’s strategic autonomy: Michel

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BRUSSELS. Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — The COVID-19 pandemic has made Europe’s digital transformation strategy “more necessary than ever” as the Digital Agenda is crucial to Europe’s strategic autonomy, European Council President Charles Michel said here on Wednesday.

Addressing the “Masters of Digital 2021” online event, Michel said that digital is one of the two pillars, along with climate change, of the European transformation strategy, which had been conceived well before anyone had heard of COVID-19.

“COVID has shone a brutal spotlight into every corner of our societies. It has revealed our strengths, but also our weaknesses. This is particularly true where our over-dependence makes us vulnerable,” he said.

“Strategic autonomy does not mean producing everything ourselves. Strategic autonomy is about being able to make choices. We want greater autonomy and greater independence in an open and global environment,” he said.

The European Union (EU) is the number one trading powerhouse in the world. It has negotiated significant trade agreements with other major economies and regional blocs, he said, and the vision has been to make Europe a digital powerhouse.

“Europe has enormous potential in the fields of data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things,” he said. “A move towards edge computing will put Europe in a much more favorable position.”

“Masters of Digital 2021” is the flagship annual event of DigitalEurope, the leading trade association representing digitally transforming industries. The event, which focuses on the role of digital in helping Europe emerge from the pandemic, runs until Thursday. Enditem

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