EU leaders to call for progress in common data spaces, summit drafts reveal

EU leaders will press the Commission to make 'swift' progress in the establishment of sectoral data spaces as outlined in the executive's landmark Data Strategy, draft European Council summit conclusions obtained by EURACTIV reveal.

Member states want progress on the Commission's plans to introduce sectoral data spaces. [Shutterstock]

EU leaders will press the Commission to make swift progress in the establishment of sectoral data spaces as outlined in the executive’s landmark Data Strategy, draft European Council summit conclusions obtained by EURACTIV reveal.

Proposals put forward by the Commission last year include the creation of nine common EU data spaces across sectors including healthcare, agriculture, and energy, as a means to foster greater industrial data sharing.

And as part of European Council talks taking place next week, EU leaders are likely to press the Commission into making progress on the plans, the draft conclusions say.

The European Council “recognises the need to accelerate the creation of common data spaces and invites the Commission to swiftly present the progress made and the remaining measures necessary to establish each of the nine sectoral data spaces,” the draft states.

The establishment of cross-sectoral data spaces are widely regarded as strategically important for making the most of the EU’s troves of industrial data and were pitched as a central part of the EU’s Data Strategy which the Commission unveiled in February last year, with President von der Leyen noting at the time that within the EU’s industrial data stocks “lies an enormous amount of precious ideas, potential innovation, and untapped potential we have to unleash.”

In order to support the establishment of such spaces, the Commission would also like to see timely adoption of last year’s proposed Data Governance Act, which aims to provide the framework for fostering greater data sharing on the bloc. In this vein, the Commission forsees the establishment of so-called “data sharing services” should be set up as a means to act as a go-between for exchanges between data producers and acquirers.

Von der Leyen opens the doors for an EU data revolution

The EU is set to exploit the “untapped potential” of vast troves of industrial and sectoral data, allowing public and private actors “easy access” to huge reserves of information, the European Commission announced on Wednesday (19 February).

EUCO Summit conclusions: Call for progress on key files

Elsewhere, the draft conclusions also call upon co-legislators in Brussels to make swift progress on the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, two landmark regulations that the Commission presented in mid-December last year.

As part of the Digital Services Act (DSA), platforms will face the prospect of billions of euros in fines unless they abide by new rules across fields including advertising transparency, illegal content removal, and data access.

The Digital Markets Act, meanwhile, will put forward a series of ex-ante prohibitions as well as introduce a ‘market investigation tool’ to detect anti-competitive behaviour across the platform economy.

The DSA is currently being debated over in the Council’s Internal Market Working Party, and the DMA in the Competition Working Party, with both files falling under the Competition council. For its part, it is believed that the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee will lead both files, despite protest from the Economics Committee.

Moreover, in response to the Commission’s 2030 Digital Decade targets, the draft conclusions state that Council working parties should examine the objectives quickly as a means to “identify strategic digital capacities and infrastructure” while “ensuring a more developed policy approach towards them.”

The 2030 Digital Targets, unveiled by the EU executive last week, pitched several ambitious goals in digital capacity building, but were fairly thin on the details of how the EU was expected to achieve the targets.

Such benchmarks included the production of cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors in Europe including processors to be “at least 20% of world production in value,” by 2030, and to cover all households with a Gigabit network, also ensuring that all populated areas are covered by 5G connectivity by the end of the current decade.

[Edited by Josie Le Blond]

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