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Tech’s Take on the EU’s Historic Election

This week, the European Union (EU) conducted the second largest democratic exercise worldwide and, as a result, will welcome 751 new members to the European Parliament in Brussels this summer. This historic event will have an important impact on the global tech industry.

The EU plays a significant – and frequently leading – role in international policymaking. Its active membership and citizenship often set the tone for debate on key issues. Its strong and increasing voter turnout in the recent election – almost 51 percent, the highest in 25 years – reinforces the EU’s influential voice, especially when it comes to tech policy debates we expect in the coming years.

While digital policy wasn’t a prominent element of the recent campaigns, there will likely be more focus on concrete action, programmes, and digital issues as discussions about the next European Commission President unfold over the coming weeks. As these conversations take place, our industry believes that it is essential for both new and returning policymakers to take the right approach to tech policies now, in order to realize a compelling European tech agenda for the 21st century in years to come.

Technological innovations, and the digitalisation of the economy more broadly, have brought innumerable benefits to European industry and society. Our industry is committed to upholding the fundamental principles of privacy, inclusivity, and transparency, as well as the democratic values that underpin European society, while preserving an enabling environment for innovation to ensure Europe’s global competitiveness and security.

Ahead of the election, ITI released its Policy Recommendations for a European Tech Agenda, offering policymakers a clear and actionable plan to advance policies that address the economic and social implications of technology in a manner that supports innovation, while recognising the very real public interests European policymakers are working to advance. Our recommendations focus on the areas we think will drive much of the debate on digital issues in the EU and across the world, including artificial intelligence, interoperable privacy rules, global cyber and supply chain security, and digital trade. We are eager for policymakers to work in collaboration with industry, academia, civil society, and other stakeholders to consider these recommendations and ensure the EU helps innovation thrive globally.

Increasingly, tech and other policies will be permeated by major themes stemming from the recent election, including climate change and a return of nationalist sentiments. These factors present opportunities to engage with our industry on solutions, for example using technology to address present and future environmental challenges as well as implementing programmes with EU member states to prepare workers for new skills needed in the workplace.

ITI looks forward to serving as a resource and partner with new and returning European policymakers and hopes to provide them with a broad perspective and insight on policy activities around the world. At the same time, we will continue to advocate for public policies that advance innovation, open markets, and enable the transformational opportunities that our companies create each day.