Europe 2020? Rather Europe 1980!

The European Commission has published its most important document. Europe 2020.

However, after a lot of noise, and with minimum participation from European citizens (less than 500 responses, mainly from Spain, Poland, Germany, France and UK)*, the Barroso strategy Europe 2020 seems to let down the Internet users and businesses.

There is a whole section, Flagship Initiative: “A Digital Agenda for Europe” (more on it here), which seems as if written by the hands of the lobbyists, who one can meet in Brussels every minute. All the fields, where the EC says what it will do are cliches from the 20th Century textbooks. Certainly, the EC is capable of more, but why it has not delivered in this document is unknown.
The aim of the Digital Agenda is, “to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits from a Digital Single Market“. Could this really be the aim? Are not these the tools for achieving the aim? The aim can be building competitive Internet services, which should be delivered worldwide, and not only, as the “Strategy” suggest, in the European Union. These services will be provided by EU companies, which will create new jobs, create the first wave of EU IT-billionaires, bring the EU to the level of the USA. Or at least, try to do it.
The aim could (or should?) be to ensure the creation of European Amazon, European Goolge, European eBay – companies not copying these, but as big as they are. The European Union can certainly do better than just point towards high-speed Internet. The fast and ultra fast Internet is not an issue for Bulgaria (with majority of the people living in big cities having 100 Mpbs, and some even 1 Gbps connections at their homes. If Bulgaria can do it, even before joining the EU, what prevents the EU from doing it? Perhaps the fact that there is not enough entrepreneurship in the EU?

Most importantly – the whole strategy lacks even a single word about ensuring the security of the European Union cyberspace.

One can not but think that this lack of understanding of the importance of the cooperation in that area, is a symbol of the fact that the EU is, in some ways, living in the 19th century. In times, when EU citizens suffer from computer malware, hackers, cyber criminals, or just computer viruses, the European Commission is looking towards a “regulatory framework with clear rights regimes, the fostering of multi-territorial licenses, adequate protection and remuneration for rights holders“. So, instead of looking that there is hardly any content of interest for the people even in the EU itself, the Commission is already defending the interests of the big lobbyists.

The lack of vision for the EU and the EC in the field of cybersecurity is clear; the question is how to help EU Commissioner Kroes to engage more into that area. She responded in the hearings at the EU Parliament in January, among other things,

    “Ivailo Kalfin (S&D, BG) elaborated on some other MEPs’ questions about the regulation of cyberspace and asked if she intends to create an office of EU cyberspace regulator, working with national counterparts in the Member States. Ms Kroes said she was aware of the scope of cybercrime, which was not limited by borders, and that she wanted Europe to become the safest place for internet consumers, but she was not keen on the idea of an EU cyberspace regulator and preferred more cooperation and a stronger role for ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency.”

If Mrs. Kroes indeed wants Europe to “become the safest place for Internet consumers”, the way to do it is not via ENISA, which states on its site, “Together with the EU-institutions and the Member States, ENISA seeks to develop a culture of Network and Information Security for the benefit of citizens, consumers, business and public sector organisations in the European Union.”

If the European Commission wants to have modern, secure, useful Internet for its citizens by 2020, it should do much more, than what’s written in the Europe 2020 agenda.

* – I personally feel guilty for not participating, but I simply… didn’t know there’s such a discussion! Apparently, the EC needed to make this discussion better known. Veni.

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