Q3/2019 - European Union
Brussels, July – September 2019
At its first session, the new European Parliament elected Ursula von der Leyen future President of the European Commission. In her opening statement, she announced the challenges in cyber space and digitalisation to be priority issues of her coming five years in office. She mentioned in particular the handling of big data, artificial intelligence and the introduction of a digital tax.
In the new commission, Danish Margrethe Vestager in her role as designated Vice-President will be responsible for key aspects of developing the European Digital Single Market and for Europe’s cyber and digital strategy. Ms Vestager is planned to chair a new inter-sectoral group, the "Commissioners’ Group on a Europe fit for the Digital Age". She will have the task to ensure that Europe will regain a leadership role in the global development. In doing this, she is expected to duly take into consideration the "human and ethical approach" that is distinguishes Europe. In the former European Commission, Vestager was responsible for competition control. In this function, she also dealt with the market power of the large US-American Internet platforms.
An important role in the field of cyber and digital policy of the EU will be assumed by the designated French Commissioner Sylvie Goulard. Goulard will be responsible for the development of the European Single Market. In her mission letter she is entitled with the task to enhance Europe’s technological sovereignty. She shall create a framework which enables Europe to tackle the digital transition. Her responsibilities will include the envisaged "Digital Services Act", a new "Digital Education Action Plan" and a coordinated European approach on artificial intelligence. Moreover, Goulard is to deal with cyber security and the certification of hardware and software. ("I want you to focus on building a real single market for cybersecurity, notably looking at certification, implementing rules on security of network and information systems, rapid emergency response strategies and other relevant areas").
Cyber and digital will also be part of the portfolios of the other EU Commissioners, in particular for the Bulgarian Mariya Gabriel, who was previously responsible for information society and shall now take over the portfolio "innovation and youth". The Commissioners from Belgium, Didier Reynders (Justice), from the Czech Republic, Vera Jourova (Values and Transparency), and from Sweden, Ylva Johansson (Home Affairs), will also get involved with the topic and collaborate in the "Commissioners’ Group on a Europe fit for the Digital Age" chaired by Margrethe Vestager. None of the mission letters, however, mentions the term "Internet governance".