1. A change of era, a crossroads for Europe
The technological and digital revolution is a change of era, full of complexity, uncertainties and challenges. It is changing the way we live, not only as individuals but also as societies.
Technology has also broken down traditional borders between countries. The advances and services that come hand-in-hand with new technologies prevail in a globalized world. Faced with this reality, Europe is at an historic crossroads: To take a passive role or aspire to lead the future.
2. The technological and digital revolution is a huge opportunity to create a stronger and more united Europe
The European Union is a global leader in the protection and promotion of human rights. This has brought Europe the longest period of prosperity and peace in its modern history. We believe that, as opposed to the voices that are currently questioning it, the European project today makes more sense and is more necessary than ever.
These days every dimension of our lives has an online, digital expression. Likewise, technology occupies a central place in the key political, economic and social processes in our States.
All of this offers an immense opportunity for the European Union: to be able to bring European citizens closer together and unite them in the certainty that all the digital dimensions of their lives will develop under the principles and values that we choose for our common project. That is: dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity and justice.
We believe that Europe must take on the response to the challenge of the Technological and Digital Revolution as an orderly transition process. That is, ensuring that no breaches are created between countries and the collectives who end up being winners or losers in this process. Winners, those who have control over technologies. Losers, those who do not. We advocate for an orderly European Digital Transition for all.
3. But the technological and digital revolution also poses a threat to European sovereignty
Even while being unquestionable levers for progress, over the past few years we have witnessed events that demonstrate that technology and the digital realm also pose major threats to the quality of democracy and the rights and freedoms of Europeans. Cyberattacks, cases of computer espionage, privacy breaches, interference in electoral processes, fake news, etc.
On the other hand, the technological and digital revolution is producing changes and disruptions in the economy, the business world, labour relations and forms of consumption. These are alterations in the modus operandi of our economies, which compete in a globalized order where controlling technology and data is a huge advantage. And with multiple implications for Europeans’ present life and future prosperity.
All of this points to a certainty: In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the technological and digital component is key. Only with technology and data is it possible today to perform analysis and diagnostics; make decisions with agility and substantiation; carry out actions and do follow-up. Only with technology and data can a territory today own its future, be sovereign.
In the EU’s response to the challenge of the technological and digital revolution THREE EUROPEAN SOVEREIGNTIES are at stake:
i. Political Sovereignty. The quality of our democracy. Our ability to decide about our own future without interference.
ii. Economic Sovereignty. Our prosperity. Europe’s ability to build a fertile future for itself. Something these days that can only be achieved with control over key technologies. Leading people to be creators and producers, not mere consumers. Leading them to create needed wealth and thus be able to guarantee the current rights of European citizens in the future.
iii. Individual Sovereignty. Our rights and freedoms. Europe’s ability to assure its citizens that their lives will develop in the digital environment with the same rights and guarantees as when off the internet. With respect for civic freedoms. With respect for privacy. With digital trust.
4. The EADT: for technological and digital leadership for the EU
We are European citizens who uphold that ‘Europe must be able to remain Europe’, with the same principles, values and rights, even as new changes from Technology and the Digital and Data Society continue to take place.
There is only one way to do this: strengthen ourselves technologically and digitally to ensure true sovereignty politically and socially and a prosperous labour and economic future. To assure Europeans control over their own future.
We call for ambition from EU institutions: aspiring to maximum leadership in the technologies that are shaping, and will shape, the society of the future. Europe has the necessary bases to achieve this: talent, knowledge and creativity; important companies; start-ups; connectivity, etc.
Europe is not too late to meet this challenge. The fusion of technologies (such as robotics; artificial intelligence; nanotechnology; quantum computing; biotechnology; the Internet of Things, etc.) will further break down boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological spheres, and may lead to even greater changes than those already experienced. The big game is yet to be played.
We advocate for a European Digital Transition that guides us to technological leadership so we can remain the Europe we are.