Commerce and technology
The aim is to coordinate strategic priorities between EU and US in view of the pursuit of common interests. Define a joint EU-US technology agenda. Harnessing the speed of technological development to guide and address the challenges posed by rival digital governance systems. Issues relating to artificial intelligence, security and digital sovereignty are included; from critical infrastructures, 5G, 6G, to cybersecurity assets, to data governance and the role of online platforms.
In this sense, the reference to the European regulatory frameworks on digital in the process of being introduced and which are aimed at “large online gatekeepers” is immediate:
- Digital Service Act – DSA (the provision that will establish new obligations and responsibilities for digital intermediaries and in particular for online platforms, as regards the content they host wherever they are in the EU)
- Digital Markets Act – DMA (the measure on digital markets and competition rules that addresses the economic power of large online platforms)
- Data Governance Act – DGA (the data governance provision that aims to encourage the sharing and re-use of data between sectors, while protecting Europe’s economic interests and the privacy of its citizens).
The proposals of which after the presentation by the Commission will subsequently be discussed in the Council and the European Parliament in the course of 2021.
All measures having a significant transformative impact on the great US technology champions and their business models. Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, of course, but also WeChat and other Asian super-apps. An anti-gatekeeper (but not anti-US?) front that intends to act in synergy with the role played by the European antitrust regulatory authorities which have proved to be mostly unsuccessful in addressing the systemic problems generated by the private power of data. This in the context of a scenario that is also consistent with the lines of action held in the USA where the federal government and individual states do not show any signs of reducing the pressure on Big Tech: most recently, after Google, Facebook is now called to respond to allegations made by the FTC and 45 prosecutors in two antitrust lawsuits centered on the social takeover of Instagram and WhatsApp and on the rules governing external software developers (Facebook announced in 2012 the acquisition of Instagram for $ 1 billion and, two years later, announced the acquisition of WhatsApp for $ 19 billion).
In the meantime, there are already those who are wondering whether the new requirements for online platforms foreseen by the announced European regulatory frameworks DSA, DMA and DGA, such as the size of the company, the user base or the market share, would be consistent with the Europe’s obligations under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services ( GATS ) aimed at creating a system of rules that stimulate trade in services through progressive international liberalization of market access. The trial scenario on this point promises to be rather animated.
But that is not all. The idea supported by President Von der Leyn and Borrell is in fact to reach a transatlantic agreement on artificial intelligence to define a plan aligned with global standards and common values that can foster regulatory convergence thus facilitating the free flow of data.. These are also rather “gritty” premises if read in the light of the second ruling of invalidity of the “privacy shield” by the Court of Justice
A global action towards a safer, more prosperous and more democratic world
The intent is to encourage the development of solutions that respect the common values of equity, human dignity, democratic principles, free competition, albeit in the context of diversified approaches. Since the resolution of the continuing problems in the context of bilateral trade between the EU and the US in terms of tariffs and taxation of digital services (the EU had already invested in a digital taxation agreement at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but how known Trump abandoned the negotiations in the summer), to the common desire to compete with the Chinese Belt & Road initiative.
In its proposal, the EU said a first step in this direction would be to finalize the appointment of a new WTO Director General and “explore how to restore the essential dispute resolution function by reforming the Appellate Body”.
Another essential front, moreover, is that of strengthening the mechanisms of transatlantic cooperation and the synergies of defense and international security.
And, therefore, implement in the context of the European plan Strategic Compass: Developing strategic principles, the guiding lines for a rapid and synergistic response in the event of a security crisis: not a little if we consider that the exhortations from Brussels addressed to Washington EU and NATO hope to hold a summit in early 2021 in Brussels with Biden in attendance.
Furthermore, accelerate the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a matter of absolute priority.
Support the promotion and better protection of workers’ rights by encouraging worldwide adherence to relevant conventions under the International Labor Organization.
Sharing the strategic interest and planning the lines of action for an inclusive geopolitical security architecture both in the areas of the Middle East, Libya and Iran, Afghanistan, as well as in North Africa and in the Sahel region as well as in the Mediterranean and Latin America. Encourage transatlantic cooperation in Russia: Ukraine, Belarus and the Western Balkans area, crucial in the dialogue (mediated by Europe) between Belgrade and Pristina.
In this regard, it is no coincidence that Josep Borrell, all the more so after the joint declaration of France, Germany and the United Kingdom – which expresses strong concern for the law approved by the Parliament of Tehran which – if implemented – would expand the program nuclear power plant of Iran with measures incompatible with the JCPOA (a confidential report from the IAEA.