The European Union’s executive branch has called for urgent action to reverse what it believes is the region’s heavy reliance on computer hardware and software from other countries.
An internal policy document by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology outlines a proposed “initiative for technological sovereignty.” Without it, the “foundations of Europe’s society and its values will come under increasing strain, as relying on third countries means relying on their values,” according to the document, which was obtained by Bloomberg. “Europe’s position and influence in global markets will be eroded, affecting European leadership and jeopardizing our technological sovereignty in key industrial strategic value chains.”
Johannes Bahrke, a spokesman for the European Commission, said in an email, “We do not comment on leaks.”
“In principle we have good research capabilities in Europe, but we are under investing, and in many cases the talented researchers go elsewhere where they get better paid,” said J. Scott Marcus, a senior fellow with Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. “In some critical areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the lead tends to be in the United States, and China is rapidly coming up. It’s a big problem. There’s a whole innovation engine here that needs to be torqued up.”
During her campaign, von der Leyen released a manifesto stating that she believed Europe could achieve “technological sovereignty” in some areas, and vowed to introduce new legislation to support the ethical development of artificial intelligence within her first 100 days of taking office.