Archivi tag: technology

LETTERS TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND THE COMMISSION

During this period, when every important decision is suspended in the expectation that the pandemic will decrease earlier or later, further time cannot be lost for deciding which future we want for Europe.

Europe’s decision-making processes have been paralyzed since two years: first, because of the European Elections; afterwards, for the cumbersome procedure of forming the new Commission, and, finally, by the exception state during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

But already before, a hurdle of unsolved problems was cumulating: the uncertainty in the relationships with the rest of the world and the ongoing demographic, cultural, political, economic and technological decadence as compared with the other Continents.

Conscious of these dangers, Associazione Culturale Diàlexis is going on soliciting all responsible entities to take care of this urgency, inserting it into Europe’s priorities.We report systematically, via the Alpina-Diàlexis website, about our steps with the different Institutions. Only a few ones have given a response.

When we were urging, several decades ago, not to cede to irrealistic ideologies, nobody wanted to listen; when we tried to address the interest of Italian scholars towards the study the Central European social system, for deriving teachings from it, nobody was interested;when we travelled throughout the world for promoting a form of globalization which could be fruitful for Italy, Europe and third parties, we were boycotted by everybody; when we warned against complacency on the lack of a European Identity, people even denied that the problem existed; when we warned that, without an annual theoretical growth of 4.5%, Europe and Italy would have been in a pernìmanent de-facto recession, this seamed to be unbeleavable, but now data about Europe’s positioning in the world economy in the last forty years are available and undeniable.

Now, we are warning about the technologhical gap between Europe, from one part, and China, US, South Korea and Israel, from the other.

Also now, most people try to misinterpret this warning, as if new technologies would mean just Industry 4.0, electrical car, solar plants and G5, whilst the world is driving towards Total Surveillance, concentration of Big Data, Quantic computing, Space rush. So, Europe will remain still more backward than before and will be obliged to accept, de-facto, the ideological and business solutions chosen by technological hyper-powers.

We have already published the letters sent to the members the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament. By this post, we report now about the letters addressed to the members of the Council and of the Commission.

Up to now, the only one authority which has given a follow-up answer is the President of the European Parliament, Davide Sassoli.

Turin, 22 May 2020

Dear Sirs

We have addressed to the Members of the European Council (including President Ursula von der Leyen), the following letter, which we send also to you for what is of your specific competences.

We take the opportunity to note that, in the website of the Commission, the page devoted to a “European Industrial  Strategy”, included in the timeline for the European Digital Green Deal, and foreseen for March 2020,  is lacking.

We understand that, in March, in the middle of  the Coronavirus crisis, it would have been difficult to decide upon a European  Industrial Strategy. However, without an Industrial Strategy, any Recovery Plan does not make sense, especially if it is linked to the 7 years budget 2021-2027. Our book and the attached proposal for the Conference for the Future of Europe constitute a tentative to fill this gap with the creation of a new entity devoted to a large part of this task: new technologies. The basic assumption is that, in the third decade of the III Millennium, no problem of mankind (environment, peace, culture, equity, health), not to speak of Europe, can be solved without mastering the new technologies, and first of all, Big Data, the Web, cyberintelligence, AI Digital Financing. As long as Europe gives up to have its own high tech, its decadence will go on indefinitely.

This decade will be decisive for the world’s and Europe’s destiny. Europe cannot remain a passive spectator of a technological revolution which runs contrary to the European Way of Life and to Europe’s legitimate interests.

We are confident that the Institutions will take care of this inconsistency both in working out the 7 years budget and in structuring the Conference on the Future of Europe.

We remain at your disposal for highlighting our studies and debates on this urgent matter.

Thanking you in advance for your attention,

Kindest regards,

For Associazione Culturale Diàlexis,

The President,

Riccardo Lala

Associazione Culturale Diàlexis, Via Bernardino Galliari 32  10125 Torino,  tel 0039011660004  00393357761536  website: http://www.alpinasrl.com

Turin, 14/5/2020

To the members of the European Council

Ladies and gentlemen,

We had addressed ourselves to the rapporteurs to the Committee “Industry, Research and Energy” of the European Parliament in the session of April 28 for the discussion (and possible approval in first reading) of two proposals, concerning a revision of the regulation governing the EIT, and its re-financing for the period 2021-2027.

In that letter, we emphasized  that, after the Coronavirus crisis, everything had changed in the world, so that  preceding policies should be in any case modified. As President Ursula von der Leyen had said “…because this crisis is different from any other, so must our next seven-year budget be different from what we know. We will need to frontload it so we can power investment in those crucial first years of recovery”.

We had sent to the rapporteurs  the digital file of the book  “A European Technology Agency”, which we send to each of you, including a proposal of Associazione Culturale Diàlexis for an overall restructuring of European technology policy alongside the Commission’s priorities, and especially its Digital Strategy, thoroughly revised in the light of the recovery needs after the incoming economic crisis and Coronavirus.

We start by noting that the European Coal and Steel Authority, of which the 9th of May has been the anniversary, was at the end of the day a European agency for the management of a European consortium, which, at that time, represented the core of crucial industries. In the same way, we propose now to put, under the common European control, the most sensitive European industries: the ones of new technologies. As the Coal and Steel Industries were pooled because they constituted the basis of military preparedness, such are today Internet, European Champions, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Currencies, Energy control, Biomedical.

The approach followed up to now, where new technological developments in defence, aerospace, digital, biology, transportation, environment, communication, organisation, are so much dispersed as to result ineffective , has to be reconsidered thoroughly, with the idea of a sole planning organisation, common to EIB, Commission, Council, Member States, Regions, Companies and Cities, which may concentrate this huge effort of the next few years, for challenging, from one side, DARPA, and, from the other, “Made in China 2025”and “China Standards 2035”.

Let’s recall also that Jean Monnet, before been appointed the first Chairman of the High Authority, had been the French Commissaire Général au Plan, and before, had worked for a military consortium of the Allied forces.

It is sufficient to say that, as it results from the papers to which the Parliament is confronted now for the discharge of their  accounts, the Agencies and Public-Private Entities of the Commission (mostly with high technological responsibilities) are almost 40, to which important entities such as ESA have to be added. It would be much more reasonable to have a sole big entity like MITI or DARPA, with a global vison of what is going on in all branches of technology, and the capability to react immediately.

We had sent the book and the proposals to members of Parliament and relevant Commissioners, urging them to consider its arguments and the proposals contained in it. Finally, we are also preparing a second book, devoted to a debate among intellectuals, politicians, European Movements  and  civil society, on technological humanism in Europe after coronavirus. We hope we will receive contributions from everybody, in time for influencing the ongoing debates. Of course, we think, in fist instance, of the addressees of this communication.

The basic idea is that, already before the Coronavirus crisis, the authoritative studies carried out by the French Senate (Rapport Longuet) and by the German Government (Nationale Wirtschaftsstrategie) had certified that Europe has no prospect to recover in time its positions in web industries, European Champions, cyber-intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, cyberwar, digital currencies, biotechnologies, before the proposed deadline of 2030, and the joint French-German Manifesto has already been overcome by the events of the last few months.

As a consequence, Europe’s situation is  condemned to deteriorate constantly, from the point of view of overall economic results (see Mazzucato, Morozov and Zuboff), from the one of military security (De Landa, Dinucci, Mini) of environmental crisis (Greta Thunberg, “Laudato Sì, Querida Amazonia) and of the protection of citizen’s rights (Assange, Snowden, Greenwald), unless the European Union undertakes an overall strategy of reflection, of political debate, of institutional reform, culminating in a new era of Digital Humanism, alternative to the one of Superpowers.

For the above reasons, during the discussions about the 2021 seven years budget which are bound to start soon, as well in the ones that must precede the Conference on the Future of Europe, the question of an overall restructuring (philosophical, conceptual, geo-political, institutional, technological and financial) of the orientation of European society cannot be escaped.

For these reasons, a preliminary question is whether the existence of EIT still makes sense, and whether or not should it be merged with ESA and other entities.

Let’s recall just some fundamental and unresolved issues, which have to be addressed before it is too late:

-the lack of a digital-humanistic ruling class;

-the abuses of the digital-military complex in the areas of data storage, tax evasion and antitrust;

-the upgrading of the European society, from an Industrial Society, to a Society of Intelligent Machines;

-Europe as an ideal battlefield among great powers in all possible areas of human life: economic war, battle of narratives, NCBW, political destabilisation…

Our book, and our formal proposal for the Conference, has the ambition to suggest the headlines of a global response to these unanswered questions

President Sassoli has replied to us very kindly, suggesting to address all the members of the ITRE Committee, who are, in last instance, responsible for a decision together with the Council (see below).

We are at your disposal for further illustrating the proposals, as well as for collaborating with your services in arriving at more concrete results. At the same time, we are addressing the same appeal to the Commission, so that this crucial deadline of European history is not missed.

We would be honoured by any reaction on your side, and we remain available for any form of cooperation.

Thanking you for your attention,

Kindest regards,

Riccardo Lala

Associazione Culturale Diàlexis

Riccardo Lala

Associazione Culturale Diàlexis

Via Bernardino Galliari 32

10125 Torino

Tel: 00390116690004

00393357761536

Da: SASSOLI David, President <President@europarl.europa.eu>
Inviato: martedì 12 maggio 2020 11:07
A: Riccardo Lala <riccardo.lala@alpinasrl.com>
Oggetto: RE: Sessione straordinaria del 28 aprile della Commissione Industria, Ricerca e Energia D(14934)

Caro Dott. Lala,

Grazie per la Sua cortese lettera, per la pubblicazione “European Technology Agency” e per le proposte dell’Associazione Culturale Diàlexis sui nuovi ecosistemi tecnologici.

Il pacchetto “EIT” sta seguendo la normale procedura legislativa e si trova attualmente in prima lettura ad una fase iniziale. In occasione della riunione della commissione ITRE, lo scorso 28 aprile, si è tenuto un dibattito approfondito che ha messo in luce come la crisi provocata da Covid 19 sia attualmente al centro del confronto e delle decisioni politiche europee. È in questo contesto che gli europarlamentari di ITRE sono ora chiamati a presentare gli emendamenti al pacchetto “EIT”. Relativamente alle implicazioni sul bilancio dell’EIT, il Consiglio Europeo sarà inoltre chiamato a decidere sul prossimo Quadro Finanziario Multilaterale (MFF), relativamente al quale la Commissione europea avanzerà presto una nuova proposta che dovrà riflettere la nuova realtà della crisi Covid 19 e della risposta da dare a quest’ultima.

Ho trasmesso la Sua pubblicazione al Segretariato della commissione ITRE affinché possa essere distribuita ai Relatori del pacchetto “EIT”. La invito inoltre a mettersi direttamente in contatto con i membri della commissione ITRE per assicurarsi che la sua proposta possa giungere ai legislatori che, in ultima istanza, saranno chiamati a decidere sulla questione.

Cordiali saluti,

David Sassoli

EVERYTHING IS DIGITAL:WELCOME TO THIERRY BRETON

A commentary to the Turin Tecnological Kermesse (Decode Symposium and Festival della Tecnologia).

The approval, by the European Parliament, of Thierry Breton as the candidate of France to the new Commission opens up the necessary debate about a coordinated European policy for digital. I think that this is the key issue of this political phase.

Not everybody is persuaded of that. On the contrary, many tend to deny also now that Europe must start as soon as possible with a new affirmative strategy for catching up the distance accumulated, not only towards America, but also towards China, Russia, India and Israel.

When I have asked, to the panel of the Decode Symposium of 5-6 November, in Nuvola Lavazza, Torino, whether they did not think that Europe needs now a new Institution, and even a “Single Man in Power”, for handling all of the Digital Issues presently at stake, Luca Di Biase answered me in a hurry that, since everything is becoming  digital now, my proposal would mean that such person would become “a Fuehrer”.  But this is precisely the direction into which all areas of the world are going, not because of a specific ideological choice, but because of the technological evolution of the Digital Era obliges nations and societies to follow that path. In the States, if the “Fuehrer” were not Trump, it would be Kurzweil or Zuckerberg.

1.Focus on Europe ‘s lack of sovereignty.

In fact, my provocation was not just a strange personal idea, but rather corresponds to a clearly perceived need, shared by  a relevant segment of European politics, citizens and think tanks. As written by the European Foreign Relation Council (ECFR), “European countries are increasingly vulnerable to external pressure that prevents them from exercising their sovereignty.” By the way, these pressures have been very heavy since a long time, i.e., since the end of  World War II:  for example, as concerns the drafting of the new constitutions, the repression of alternative political movements, the stationing of US and USSR forces and armaments in Europe, the impunity of these armed forces and intelligence. However, notwithstanding the end of the Warsaw Pact, the European weakness has never been so striking as now, since at least the competition between US and USSR opened up some spaces of freedom, such as the ones exploited by national-communist parties, by de Gaulle, by the Ostpolitik and by the dissident movements of Eastern Europe.

Taking into account this present situation, the ECFR has written that ” to prosper and maintain their independence in a world of geopolitical competition, Europeans must address the interlinked security and economic challenges other powerful states present – without withdrawing their support for a rules-based order and the transatlantic alliance. This will involve creating a new idea of ‘strategic sovereignty’, as well as creating institutions and empowering individuals that see strategic sovereignty as part of their identity and in their bureaucratic interest. Most fundamentally, the EU needs to learn to think like a geopolitical power”.

2. AI has worsened Europe’s weakness.

As stated by many people, including Hawking, Rees, Musk and Putin, Artificial Intelligence constitutes a fundamental existential risk, i.e., the risk that mankind will cease to exist because intelligent machines will render it useless or even dangerous. This risk is strictly connected with the one of the extinction of Europeans because of their inability to cope with the digital revolution.

Within the above framework, Ulrike Franke has written: “AI’s potential can appear almost limitless. It is not only ‘dual-use’, in the sense that it can be used for both civilian and military applications, but ‘omni-use’, potentially able to influence all elements of life”(such as religion, freedom, human structure, sex, family, politics, economy, work, ethic…).The US, China, and Russia grasp this geopolitic impact of AI and  pursue their imperial agendas in recognition of this. The negligence of the Europeans is highly suspect, and connected with the overwhelming nature of American hegemony. As Franke remarks,  “the recently published ‘Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence’ takes a clearly geopolitical approach, and emphasises that: ’continued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States and to shaping the global evolution of AI in a manner consistent with our Nation’s values, policies, and priorities’. In contrast, the European Commission’s ‘AI Factsheet’ only emphasises the importance of AI in sectors such as healthcare, transport, and public services. “

Contrary to the optimism expressed by Thierry Breton during his hearing in front of the European Parliament, Kai-Fu Lee has claimed that Europe is “not even in the running for bronze AI medal”.

3.A criticism to the vision of Evgeny Morozov and of the Decode Project.

Evgeny Morozov, which was the soul of the Decode Symposium, expressed without hesitation a need for a strong European state intervention against digital capitalism. However, according to my mind, as I told him, his proposed strategy is vague,  not drawing all consequences from the “net delusion”. In fact, if “technological sublime” was just the last avatar of the myth of progress, its failure shows also the impossibility to master technology with a “libertarian” approach. The first stumbling block is constituted by the inability of such approach  to cope with the fundamental problem of  labour’s role in the digital society. In fact, the digital capitalism well described by Morozov and Zuboff consists of a step-by-step take-over of the economic system by an alliance of digital industries and finance. Via their control an all production processes, digital capitalists, in the same moment in which they digitalise productive capital (agriculture, manufacture, services), they become the beneficial owners of the same. E.g., in substituting manpower with machines, the  digital industry becomes the main supplier of the manufacturing industry, and, in providing  also the services of Big Data, it substitutes their management staff (which exercised the control over the businesses), and the administrative complex of the State (which exercised the control over economy. At the end, digital giants will remain the only employers of the machines, carrying out the work of all society.

The form of democratic participation favoured by the Decode Project are helpful for maintaining a certain amount of participation at local level, but cannot impede that the giants of the web take over the real infrastructures of society, i.e. the large continental States and the manufacturing complex, nor address the question of power on the big decisions presently taken by States and Corporations.

In a realistic view, decentralisation, as favoured by the Decode Project,  would play a positive role positive in a digital society as in any other society, but will never be integral, because certain fundamental decisions, such as the one about the social model and the one of war and peace have always been centralised, and always will be. We cannot leave them to the digital giants and to Big Data.

So, at the end of the day, if we follow the suggestions of the Decode Project, we will have a concentration of political and economic power in a few digital capitalists, and probably a certain vague and useless decentralisation of municipal life. The main problem, the one to transfer the profits of the digital complex to the unemployed population would  remain unsolved. The idea of “citizenship income”, even if it would be really be implemented, would be unsatisfactory, before all because it would involve the whole population,  but will not solve the problem of power. Citizens have power only if they have a role in the production and management cycle, and this role will not be guaranteed by participation just in municipal life, but, on the contrary, by the one in production processes.  Whilst physical production will be concentrated in machines, immaterial processes (or, better, decision-making processes) should be concentrated in humans.

 

4.Europe’s Digital Sovereignty

Because of the need to assert the people’s sovereignty over the digital-military complex, people’s participation should be guaranteed not just at local level, but also, and above all, Europe.

Unfortunately, because of the omni-pervasive impact of AI, digital subordination of Europe just increases the former general kind of subalternity. As the Brueghel think Tank puts it, “Europeans like to believe the European Union has the collective economic size and capacity to determine its own economic destiny. But the behaviour of others global powers is increasingly calling this ability into question. China and the United States, especially, do not separate economic interests from geopolitical interests in the same way the EU does. They are increasingly using economic connections, from cyberspace to financial links, to gain geopolitical advantage or to serve geopolitical goals. Europe’s economic sovereignty is at stake”.

Tis problem is tightly linked to the one of participation, shown by the debates inside the Decode Symposium. In fact, as, in the West, digital giants are all American, the expropriation of all production structures from their former owners amounts, in the long term,  to the colonisation of Europe’s economy by America, as foreseeen by Lev Trockij already during World War I. This problem is worsened, now,  by the fact that, for being able to maintain a minimum of balance with America, European are favouring the presence,  beside the American multinationals, of Chinese, Arab, Indian and Russian ones. This has led to  a substantial absence of managerial skills in Europe, both in the private and in the public sector. An extreme paradox is constituted by the fact that the Italian State, after having privatised ILVA considering the private sector as more effective than the public one, and after the bankruptcy of the Italian investors, has attracted an Indian group, which, immediately thereafter,  would be happy to flee away, but which the Italian State pretends to “oblige” do hold its investment in Italy.

As I personally recalled during the Festival della Tecnologia at the Politecnico di Torino, Emmanuel Macron has recently declared: “My goal is to recreate a European sovereignty in AI. And, as ECFR has written,  “the EU has the market power, defence spending, and diplomatic heft to end this vulnerability and restore sovereignty to its member states. But, unless it acts soon, Europe may become not a player in the new world order but the chessboard on which great powers compete for power and glory”. “This means fundamentally rethinking the purpose of European integration. In an earlier era, the main tools of EU policymaking served quite different purposes than they do today. Defence and security policy was about demilitarising Europe rather than building capabilities and a capacity for action. Competition policy was about eliminating state aid and unfair competition within the EU rather than defending European consumers and companies from the predatory behaviour of actors outside Europe’s borders. Equally, European technology and research policies were about redistributing resources within the EU rather than matching the best in a global technology race”.

5.AI and Defence

Paradoxically, recovering European sovereignty would be easier in the defence sector than in the civil one, because cyberwar is less expensive than traditional warfare based upon a mix of infantry, marine, air forces, missile nuclear forces and covert operations.

Ulrike Franke writes, for this purpose, that  “ignoring the impact that AI can have on warfare is not a viable long- or even short-term approach. Indeed, there may even be opportunities for European countries that they have not yet acknowledged: the new competitive landscape could, in fact, benefit middle powers, as they will have greater capacity to compete than they did in the creation of the complex – and expensive – military platforms used today, such as precision-guided missiles and nuclear-powered submarines. Political scientist Michael Horowitz argues: ‘As long as the standard for air warfare is a fifth-generation fighter jet, and as long as aircraft carriers remain critical to projecting naval power, there will be a relatively small number of countries able to manufacture cutting-edge weapons platforms. But with AI, the barriers to entry are lower, meaning that middle powers could leverage algorithms to enhance their training, planning, and, eventually, their weapons systems. That means AI could offer more countries the ability to compete in more arenas alongside the heavy hitters.’ Horowitz even goes as far as to say that it is ‘possible, though unlikely, that AI will propel emerging powers and smaller countries to the forefront of defense innovation while leaving old superpowers behind’”.

6.A general survey on the Festival della Tecnologia.

The festival has had the huge advantage of bringing all these problems to the forefront in a region still obsessed by the idea of “factory” and “manufacturing”. Fortunately, the simultaneous news about the German crisis, the creation in Berlin of a Tesla plant, the FCA-PSA agreements which oresee the control by the French (and the Chinese) over the FCA group, the non solution of the crises of Embraco, Mahle, Pernigotti…have shown  to everybody that, either Piedmont choses new types of specialisation , or it will disappear as an economic subject. The Technology kermess constitutes a tentative to go in the right direction.

The number and qualities of the interventions on all matters concerning the connection between technology and society have been exceptional. The historical and philosophical trends of the digital civilisation have been outlined, i.a,,  by Elena Loewenthal, Laura Curino, Massimo Leone, Luca Peyron, Davide Sisto, Dario Voltolini, Derrick de Kerkhove, Gaetano di Tondo, Pier Paolo Peruccio, Vincenzo Giorgio, Denis Maggiorotto, Eleonora Monge, Valerio di Tana, Giancarlo Genta, Paolo Riberi, Claudio Allocchio, Elia Bellussi, Vittorio Bertola, Andrea Casalegno, Arturo di Corinto, Francesco Ruggiero, Marcello Fois, Giuseppe Cambiano, Christian Greco, Cecilia Pennaccini.

The philosophical and political challenges of digital technologies has been outlined by  Pierluigi Fagan, Stefano Quintarelli, Geert Lovink, Steve Graham, Simone Arcagni, Ugo Pagallo, Niculae Sebe, Tommaso Valletti, Enrico Donaggio, Franco Bernabè, Marcello Chiaberge, Viola Schiaffonati, Gianmarco Veruggio, Paolo Benanti, Marina Geymonat, Alessandro Montelero, Carlo Blangino, Francesco Garibaldo, Tatiana Mazali, Nicola Scarlatelli, Juan Carlos De Martin, Cristofer Cepernich, Fabio Chiusi, Paolo Gerbaudo, Valeria Cirillo, Cinzia Minzolini, Giulio de Pietra, Deborah De Angeli, Enzo Mazza, Marco Ricolfi, Peppino Ortoleva, Stefano Geuna, Massimo Inguscio, Giammarco Molinari, Simona Morini.

A so wide range of speakers brings about obviously a wide spectrum of ideas and of positions. Unfortunately, the fact that all these specialists, representing an elite in our society, have been able to acquire their skills and renown having worked, directly or indirectly, for the digital giants, has unfortunately had a negative impact on their capability to be fully objective, and as critical as necessary, towards the obscure prospects of the ongoing trend towards the Society of Total Control.

This situation has been addressed openly by Carlos de Martin, who has recognized that, even in University, research on digital  matters is financed mainly by the US giants. But this is just a part of a general landscape where all research is financed by multinational corporations,  what explains the wide-ranging conformism of today’s culture.

Therefore, criticisms are always very prudent. Especially, nobody wants to arrive at any practical conclusion, from a cultural, historical, political and legislative point of view. Those, who, like we do, raise too many questions, are considered troubleshooters. Their questions are not properly addressed. I recall, among others, the questions concerning the proviso not to try to insert ethics into the programs for machines; European Digital Sovereignty (which, i.a., was supposed to be the object of the Decode Symposium); the need to define the concepts of digital revolution not only with reference to Western cultures, but also to the Eastern ones; technological unemployment; especially, the question of who will take care of all these matters at a European level.

The final mock trial, devoted to a “process to technology”, shows this excessive  prudence. As the new Rector of the Politecnico, Guido Saracco, has stated candidly at the end, he could not, in his position, condemn technology.

  1. A European Sovereignty Strategy

Taking into account the links of European digital sovereignty with the Common External and Defence policy, ECFR has suggested that the new High Representative (Josep Borrell) is charged to work out a comprehensive strategy in this direction, but the mission letter of Ursula von der Leyn is much more prudent in this regard. Personally, I wonder whether the High Commissioner is the most appropriated subject for this coordination task, which, as said before, is multidisciplinary. In fact, as the ECFR writes: “Principally, any such strategy will need to integrate geo-economic and strategic policymaking. Currently, European economic governance purposefully ignores geopolitical considerations. So, for example, EU state aid rules make it difficult to channel support to emerging strategic industries such as AI, thereby allowing other powers to gain an advantage in such areas”.

From a professional point of view, Thierry Breton is more fit for the purpose, but his conflicts of interest might be an obstacle. These are the reasons why I expressed the above provocative suggestion to create a new Institution, instead of the may already existing and of the others which the European think tanks are suggesting. In fact, the solution proposed by ECFR is a network of inter-Commission committees for coordinating the different aspects of this tremendous challenge. First of all, a  Strategic Sovereignty Committee within the European Commission and an EU Task Force on Strategic Industries and Technologies. Moreover, “in the economic realm, the EU needs to create a Financial Sanctions Enforcement Office and to ensure that all member states are represented on the board of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The EU should also adopt asymmetric countermeasures by setting out a formal legal process for enforcing the EU Blocking Regulation through investigations into companies that withdraw from a country in response to non-European sanctions. The EU could mobilise its competition policy instruments to expand state aid control beyond European companies, and bolster the euro’s international role by fostering deep and integrated capital and banking markets, creating a euro area safe asset, and extending currency swap lines to partner central banks. The EU could improve its AI capacity by leveraging its significant regulatory power through shared, anonymised European databases for research, as well as an EU seal for ethical AI.

As it also needs an effective cyber security institution with centralised functions, Europe could transform the EU Agency for Network and Information Security to that end. An investigative service focusing on foreign interference would also be valuable. “

I may agree that, within the present framework, dominated by power struggles between member States and European Parties for the allotment of competences to their national Commissioners, a system of committees coordinated by  somebody (why not, by the President) is probably the best result that may be achieved. However, this Commission should work out at least a new legal framework which puts “under the same umbrella”, among other things, a European Academy, the EFSI, the existing European Strategic Fund, a new European Intelligence, a European Investment Fund for ITC, a Regulator for the Digital industries. This agency should also rethink and coordinate according to a sole design the very numerous actions under way by the most different entities: international treaties for the regulation of digital; the EU regulations concerning data and robotics; antitrust concerning ITC; Internet tax; financing of EU digital industries and academic research.

Earlier this year, the European Council on Foreign Relations had commissioned YouGov to carry out surveys covering more than 60,000 people across Europe. These included finding out their views on the foreign policy challenges the EU faces. As ECFR writes, “The study reveals a fundamental shift in Europeans’ views of the world. Although there is widespread public support for the idea of the EU becoming a cohesive global actor, there is also a growing divergence between the public and the foreign policy community on several key issues – ranging from trade and the transatlantic relationship to EU enlargement. “The most shocking finding of the survey is that, contrary to what all the establishments constantly thought and said, a large majority of the citizens of all member states, in case of a conflict between US and Russia, would opt for neutrality.

Precisely for this reason is it necessary that the European digital system is disconnected, at least potentially, from the American one. The new Russian law follows precisely that path. Without impeding now the utilisation of the “American” World Wide Web by Russian users, it renders possible, in a case of conflict, to disconnect the Russian web from the general Internet, for the same reason that, since ever, in case of war, there has been always a military censorship on mails sent across the national borders.

Paradoxically, this is already the main reason of dispute between the EU and the USA in the digital  sector. After that, in the Schrems Case, the European Court of Justice had condemned the Commission, obliging it to renegotiate with the US, in substitution of the Safe Harbour Agreement (not complying with the DGPR), the Commission had signed with the US a  new agreement, the Privacy Shield, which was again not compliant, as declared by the European Parliament, and is giving rise to a new action in front of the Luxemburg Court. Why is it non compliant? Because, under the signed copy of the agreement, the US in any case the application of the agreement is subject to the US defence laws (which allow the secret services to have access, with a certain procedure, to the files stored in any part of the world, by US multinational). It is always an effect of the US “military censorship law” for the time of war, which has never been suspended because, from Word War I up to now, the US has never ceased to be at war against somebody. Under these circumstances, it is clear that the privacy of European citizens intellectual property  of European Companies and the military secrets of European Armies will never be safe, until their data will be stored in Europe, by companies or public entities integrally subject to European Law. This renders many of the discussion under way about digital unrealistic, and emphasizes the urgency of an implementation of the ideas of Macron about European Digital Sovereignty.