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When the new European Commission took office under President Ursula von der Leyen in 2019, enhancing digital capabilities across the European Union immediately emerged as a top priority. Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the debate about Europe’s digital sovereignty. The pandemic, combined with geopolitical concerns including growing concerns about China’s rapidly increasing role in the European economy, is prompting a review of Europe’s strategic position. At least for some, it has also given rise to a belief that Europe should seek greater “strategic autonomy,” including in the digital and technology spheres. The search for digital sovereignty has important implications for transatlantic relations and European relations with China.

On June 22, the Council’s Future Europe Initiative launches its latest issue brief, “The European Union and the Search for Digital Sovereignty: Building ‘Fortress Europe’ or Preparing for a New World?” On June 25, co-authors Frances G. Burwell, Distinguished Fellow, and Kenneth Propp, Nonresident Senior Fellow, will lead a discussion with experts and policymakers on how the EU may define technological or digital sovereignty post-COVID-19, whether Europe’s search for digital sovereignty will turn into “Fortress Europe”, and how this is playing out in key sectors of the digital economy – from cloud computing and 5G to artificial intelligence and digital taxation. How may this drive for digital sovereignty impact the transatlantic partnership and how can the United States and EU begin to identify shared perspectives and objectives in the digital policy realm again?

Please join us on Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (EDT) via Zoom. In order to participate in the call, please register below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join.


Mr. Axel Voss
Member of the European Parliament

Ambassador Karan Bhatia
Vice President, Government Affairs & Public Policy

Mr. Rupert Schlegelmilch
Director, Neighbouring Countries, USA, and Canada, Directorate-General for Trade
European Commission

Mr. Kenneth Propp
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Future Europe Initiative
Atlantic Council

Moderated by

Dr. Frances Burwell
Distinguished Fellow, Future Europe Initiative
Atlantic Council

Read the report