France launches digital sovereignty observatory

The new observatory, which has been joined by Capgemini Invent, EDF, Renault, Orange Business Services, Thales and Village by CA have joined, has set itself the objective of deciphering initiatives in the field of digital sovereignty: 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence, connected objects, etc. [sdecoret/Shutterstock]

Telecom Paris and Netexplo officially launched the Technologies & Digital Sovereignty observatory on Thursday (20 May), which aims to bring together companies and startups as well as political players. EURACTIV France reports.

“There is no sovereignty without technological sovereignty”, said Digital Minister Cédric O at the launch event of the new observatory which he will oversee and will start work on 3 June.

O stressed the crucial importance of this “essential” and “protean” subject and said he was betting on the emergence of large French digital companies in the CAC 40 in the “next three or four years”. The digital minister also highlighted the national strategy for a “sovereign cloud” launched by the government earlier this week.

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The new observatory, which has been joined by Capgemini Invent, EDF, Renault, Orange Business Services, Thales and Village by CA, has set itself the objective of deciphering initiatives in the field of digital sovereignty: 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence, connected objects, etc.

It will report on its observations at an annual event on “New technological horizons of digital sovereignty”.

Two training programmes, lasting 20 hours and certified by Télécom Paris, will also be provided: a “5G Masterclass” to prepare “company directors and managers, as well as local authority executives to […], seize the opportunities of 5G” – training already available – and a “Deep Tech for business” programme which will raise the awareness of “company executives and high-potential managers of the applications, potential and challenges of critical technologies” from 15 October.

Digital sovereignty is becoming an increasingly important issue in public debate as the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology and the public is becoming more aware of data protection and privacy issues.

Last March, a study by the Jean Jaurès Foundation revealed that 91% of Europeans considered “control of digital infrastructures (social networks, 5G, Cloud, data storage, submarine cables, satellites, etc.)” important – even “essential” for 46% of them – if the EU is to become genuinely sovereign.

Three in four EU citizens want a more sovereign Europe

The demand for more European sovereignty within the EU is strong despite disparities between countries, according to a study published Tuesday (2 March) by the Jean Jaurès Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in partnership with the Ipsos polling institute. EURACTIV France reports.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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