THE European Council is seeking to develop a safe, public digital form of ID (e-ID) to be implemented across the European Union. This electronic ID would enable citizens to control their personal details online, as well as being able to access cross-border digital services. According to plans being drafted in the run-up to the Special European Council meeting taking place on September 24 and 25, the Council is calling on the European Commission to submit a relevant proposal by the middle of 2021.
President of the European Council Charles Michel has stated that the forthcoming meeting will primarily aim to deal with all issues that had previously been put to the side due to the coronavirus outbreak. The meeting will focus on digital transition within the union, and international commerce. The preliminary agenda contains a section on the planning of the aforementioned e-ID, as well as a unified cloud service which will host EU data.
According to a document seen by the Cyprus News Agency, the EU27 will consider “the two interconnected driving forces [to drive] a resurgence are a transition to green energy and a digital transformation, in combination with a strong and deep common market, [which] will promote new forms of development in our society and bolster Europe’s resilience”.
The draft document also says that all member states have signed a statement declaring that the “European Union must be a global leader in the development of safe and ethical Artificial Intelligence”. Moreover, the European Council calls on the European Commission to suggest ways of increasing international and national private investment in research, innovation and development within the Artificial Intelligence and machine learning field.
The European Council has also approved the conclusions of the meeting which took place on June 9, for the shaping of the union’s digital future. It calls on the EU itself as well as individual member states to fully implement the 5G toolbox which got approved on January 29, and move ahead with the relevant limitations and restrictions on all suppliers and distributors who have been deemed “highly dangerous”. The council underlines the need to assess every 5G equipment supplier with the objective criteria agreed upon in place during the assessment process.
Regarding personal data, the European Council hails the union’s strategy on data and personal information, saying that “it supports the Union’s global digital ambitions while also promoting European values and safeguarding a high level of personal data security and user privacy”.
The European Council also stresses the need to make “high quality data available and to promote the better exchange and concentration of data”. Within this framework, the council says that “ensuring the interoperability of European data is vitally important”.
The council also underlines the “need for the creation of reliable, safe and secure European cloud services, so that European data is safeguarded and can be stored and processed across Europe based on European rules and standards”. The council welcomes the idea of “unified European Union cloud infrastructure” and asks the Commission to implement this as soon as possible.