The European Commission is planning a single European market for data, in hopes that by pooling talent, the region can compete with Big Tech in Silicon Valley and China, Reuters reported on Tuesday (Feb. 19).
The proposed plan to revamp the region’s digital market policy also includes measures to limit data control by Google, Facebook, Amazon and other Big Tech firms.
Having lagged behind on technologies like smartphones, social media and eCommerce, the European Union wants to catch up and keep EU firms from having to rely on data from U.S. and Asian competitors.
“The battle for industrial data starts now and Europe will be the main battlefield. Europe has the largest industrial base. The winners of today will not be the winners of tomorrow,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton told a news conference.
By making use of businesses’ industrial data — like Germany’s Siemens and France’s Alstom — Europe could be in the lead to leverage the internet of things (IoT).
Breton said the plan’s cornerstone calls for the creation of a €2 billion EU cloud platform alliance. No other details about the platform were revealed. The European Commission is also planning to devise leaner data markets focused on particular industries.
The final proposals — including feedback from stakeholders — are anticipated by the end of 2020.
The proposals coincide with efforts by some EU countries to levy digital taxes on large American technology companies. Washington is against that move, saying it is parallel to protectionism.
Other details in the proposals include directives about cross-border data use, data interoperability and standards for manufacturing, climate change, the auto industry, healthcare, financial services, agriculture and energy.
There is also a proposal for getting rid of EU regulations against anti-competitive data sharing.
The EU is also thinking about regulations that would prevent Big Tech companies from controlling access to data or benefiting from it.
“We see some platforms as gatekeepers, that is not what we want for our internal market,” Breton said.
Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s digital and antitrust commissioner, said she is considering launching an inquiry into industries using new technologies. Past inquiries served as catalysts to deeper probes into individual firms, which brought fines and other punitive measures.
On Monday (Feb.17) Breton rebuked Facebook’s proposed new internet rules, saying it was Facebook‘s responsibility to adapt to the EU and not the other way around.