Connected Europe: Addressing the weaponisation of digitalisation

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Digital & Data Governance
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Connected Europe: Addressing the weaponisation of digitalisation

Summary

How can digitalisation help us find a path out of the current health, economic and security crises that are impacting the world? And who needs to work together to bring about real change?

These global challenges and the current geopolitical upheaval were discussed at an event hosted by Friends of Europe on 29 March against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The discussion took place under Chatham House rules and as part of the Connected Europe initiative, in partnership with Vodafone.

Bringing together senior leaders from European and international public and private sectors, the event aimed to discuss these opportunities, challenges and threats, and address what bold action is required. If Europe can show leadership, strategy and global competitiveness, everyone stands to gain from it.

About

About

It is time for Europe to come together to address how it will respond to digitalisation – not only the opportunities but the challenges and threats as well. In the context of the invasion of Ukraine, we must examine what strategies, regulations and legislative initiatives are necessary to tackle the growing threat of cyber-warfare and cybercrime. A number of ambitious programmes and initiatives are under way in Europe – at the level of the EU, national governments and involving cross-border, cross-sector alliances – that can contribute to reinforcing Europe’s digital security. This is a source of hope. But urgent, bold action is required from leaders and actors across all sectors, particularly in view of the Ukraine crisis, to deliver on these ambitious targets, ensure accountability and rise to the immense challenges that we face. If Europe shows leadership, strategy and global competitiveness, everyone stands to gain from it.

Connectivity can be source of support not only in the matters unfolding in Ukraine, but also across the rest of Europe. If we harness the potential of digital technology and connectivity effectively, we can maximise Europe’s future and make the digital decade a success. To achieve this, the public, private and civil society sectors must come together, through strong partnerships, to deliver a paradigm shift. We must ensure concrete measures are taken, such as implementing a regulatory framework that sets out a clear data lifecycle (from collection to deletion) which manages the critical free flow of data, but also that measures are taken to better manage Europeans’ relationship to – and trust in – digital, including around cybersecurity, disinformation, privacy and data protection.

This invitation-only dinner debate will be a future-focussed discussion using the insights of the Connected Europe report as a starting point to examine the policy environment at this critical time for international security and diplomacy. Participants will include key stakeholders and a cross-party group of key MEPs, providing an opportunity to contextualise specific recommendations based on the 2022 policy context and future outlook. This occasion will be an opportunity for participants to provide recommendations to inform effective policy, inspire bold action and contribute to realising our vision of a connected Europe.

Schedule

Schedule

Welcome cocktail and registration of participants
Connected Europe: Addressing the weaponisation of digitalisation
Expand Connected Europe: Addressing the weaponisation of digitalisation

Questions for discussion include:

  • In light of the Ukraine crisis – what can Europe do to better prepare for conflict, and cooperation, in the digital age? What needs to be done to protect Europeans from greater cyber-security risks?
  • How can Europe keep its strategic autonomy, in the age of cybersecurity, while preserving an open economy – in line with the aims of the EU cybersecurity act?
  • We are now seeing the effects of digitalisation on conflict and security, but it affects every other aspect of our lives. What is the EU’s role in ensuring that digital aspects of society are resilient and successful in the face of great challenges?
  • How can we support member states and non-EU actors to build resilient and secure digital societies, which will benefit all citizens in the long term?
  • The European Parliament’s adopted position on the Digital Services Act is now being negotiated by the other EU institutions, and the Digital Market Act is under negotiation by EU member state governments – how will these acts effect society in the digital/green transition?

Kick-starters

Rosa Aldea Busquets

Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General for Budget

Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou

Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade

Michal Šimečka

Vice-President of the European Parliament and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson

Contributors include:

Contributors include:

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

Michal Šimečka
Michal Šimečka

Vice-President of the European Parliament and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Michal Šimečka

Michal is the first Slovak politician to serve as a Vice-President of the European Parliament. The highest-ranked Slovak in the Parliament’s history, Michal is responsible for democracy and human rights. He is a former vice-president of Renew Europe and was the rapporteur for a key proposal to introduce a new mechanism for the protection of democracy, the rule of law and European values in member states. A champion of a free, secure and democratic Europe, Michal is a Founding Member and the Vice-President of the Progressive Slovakia, a pro-European party in Slovakia. Previously, he worked as a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague, studying European integration and security, and served as an advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Michal began his professional career as a journalist for SME, a Slovak newspaper, and then the Financial Times.

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