A broad alliance of scientists, IT experts and media managers has called on the EU to build an independent digital infrastructure for Europe. The alliance believes it is “high time” for an alternative to the Internet giants from the USA and China.
An appeal led by former SAP manager Henning Kagermann and the director of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (BR), Ulrich Wilhelm, said that Europe must have sovereignty over data and digital infrastructures. Such a digital ecosystem must follow European values such as openness and diversity.
“We want to strengthen digital sovereignty – that is, the self-determination of Europe as a community of rights and values and every single user,” said Kagermann, according to a message. The corona crisis shows how digitization is pervading life, but also how dependent Europe is on platform operators outside. This endangers the freedom and privacy of the citizens.
The alliance particularly calls on Germany, which currently has the EU Council Presidency, to act, as well as France. It also appeals to the Parliament and the EU Commission with their digital strategy. The challenge is so great that without state action there is no prospect of success.
Wilhelm has been committed to such an infrastructure for a long time. “If Europe acts now vigorously and starts an ambitious initiative, a public digital space can be created that offers fair access and conditions of use, strengthens public discourse and ensures Europe’s identity-building plurality,” he said, according to the communication.
The alliance made no statements regarding the cost of such an initiative. In a dpa interview, Wilhelm said: Experts initially assumed a lower single-digit billion amount. “Measured against the huge sums that are now flowing to stabilize the economy, the amounts involved are relatively small.”
- Internet networking: © Sergey Nivens – Fotolia.com