At the cross-roads for building the evolution of Europe
At the cross-roads for managing the ecological change
At the cross-roads for passing to the digital data driven economy
All these cross-roads need a coherent answer. From business and politicians alike. The evolution of our European future will be built by taking the citizens on board. Therefore, the Conference on the Future of Europe will be accompanied by citizens dialogues everywhere on the continent. A perfect bottom-up methodology!
The environmental shift will demand solid investments, quick actions and most of all a profound change of culture and habits in society and industry. The digital innovations will certainly be of substantial help to manage the ecological actions.
The new data-society, with AI and IOT, will only be managed if Europe utilizes all the strength of its knowhow: in talent, in research, in industry, in society…
Our future will be made of personalized medicine, precision environmentally friendly agriculture, smart energy grids, digitalized industrial production, connected mobility. All these innovations can only be put into practice if the necessary infrastructure is available. That’s the essence fo the geopolitical power-game.
5G is this a game changer, at the heart of the digital engine for our future interconnected data-economy.
A speedy implementation of the infrastructure gives a chance to first-mover applications in industry and society. A slow-down of the infrastructure would automatically lead to a slow-down of the implementation of the future digital economy. “And this is not about “toys” but about making our lives better”, to quote Vice president Vestager. The whole struggle for global leadership in the digital technology lies in these considerations.
That is why Europe must not hesitate. It has to go ahead, quickly, solidly. It does not have the choice nor to wait, nor to fail. But building quickly only for the sake of being the first builder, would certainly not be a wise way to proceed. The Commission has fully understood this. The “5G toolbox” is a solid instrument to combine security and solidity.
Thierry Breton says: “5G will be at the heart of our business, infrastructure and public service, and will interlink us all together. We will be particularly strict in monitoring its deployment. We need to ensure that 5G is rolled out without compromising on our security.”
That brings me to the question of trust and security.
Trust is key
Trust of consumers in entrepreneurs generates demand and growth. It requires high level of consumer protection, data protection, security standards. Trust of citizens in policy-makers is equally crucial. It requires state of the art legislation “Big data” → “Big Rights” → “Big security”
So, Yes, the Commission is right to present the Toolbox on 5G.
Not to slow down building of an infrastructure with too many rules, but to have infrastructure by the rules.
Not to bend to exterior political threats, but to create our own rules, fit for the European interests, enhancing our technological sovereignty.
Not to ostracise companies, but to make sure that all companies operating on our territory abide to the same European rules and standards.
We will do it our way and we will do it!
Of course, cyber security is a real challenge and problems are there to be “challenged” and solved. It will be indispensable to have a coordinated risk-assessments, to operate under common rules and with a solid monitoring-mechanism, to work with several suppliers in order to avoid dependence on a single vendor, to mitigate risks in sensitive networks, to promote open-source software. Efficiency and security have to go hand in hand.
But one wisdom, learned by the decades-long experience of European history, should never be forgotten.
Sovereignty is not about building walls. It is about securing the bridges, clearly defining the building standards and having a close look at who is crossing the bridges, for what purpose.
Let’s not be naïve: computer-security is never absolute. But building robust networks, utilizing checkable equipment and sharing expertise would be the best answer to hackers and trade-war warriors. And this we should do, building on talent and rules.