Towards a sustainable and resilient future internet 

European Strategic Autonomy series - Digital & Technology

Policy Brief

06/02/2023

In 2020, the European Commission published its ‘Shaping Europe’s Digital Future’ communication. It announced a set of digital policies that would enhance Europe’s technological sovereignty, whilst ensuring a sustainable and resilient internet. 

This policy brief analyses the EU’s digital policy initiatives and argues that they risk remaining too fragmented to effectively reduce Europe’s dependency on a few foreign firms and miss a powerful opportunity to spur the development of an ecosystem of value-led alternatives. Whilst recently proposed and enacted laws for online platforms and data governance are promising, they do not take a holistic view of the way the different levels of the technology stack interact. Most importantly, they fail to pay sufficient attention to developing open standards, protocols and digital public goods. 

If the EU wants to break through the harmful dynamic of centralisation of power that dominates the current digital economy, it should adopt a public digital infrastructure (PDI) model. This policy brief provides a blueprint of the institutions necessary to implement such a PDI framework. First, an independent public digital infrastructure agency would develop open standards and protocols around data governance, collaborative interoperability, and more. Second, on top of that, a public technology fund would develop and maintain open tools, such as mobility apps, online education tools and an open European web index to enable growth. Finally, these institutions should support the development of a secure personal data wallet and self-governed online identity, which would allow individuals to share and pool their data, in full respect of their privacy and interests.

This Policy Brief is part of a Strategic Autonomy Series, you can find out more about this issue on the project webpage.

Network
Fondation Jean-Jaurès
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
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