How should the new Biden administration meet the digital challenge with our European allies? In this issue brief, Europe Center Distinguished Fellow Frances Burwell proposes a US-EU Digital Council as a forum for high-level, strategic dialogues to build a transatlantic consensus on digital and tech policy.
As the new Biden administration confronts its foreign policy priorities, it should not avoid the looming digital debate with its European allies. Transatlantic policy on the digital space is by no means aligned between US and European policymakers. While the United States has taken a largely laissez faire approach to regulation, the European Union serves as the leader in digital regulation. Yet, the effects of digital policies do not stop at each other’s borders, and transatlantic rifts in regulation will continue to have immense consequences. From digital taxation to data storage and privacy rights, issues that will define the success or failure of transatlantic digital policy—with hundreds of billions of dollars on the line—remain unsettled.
An US-EU Digital Council Digital Council offers a starting place for discussions on these issues. This Digital Council also has the potential to foster significant breakthroughs, or at the very least provide an arena to air grievances and share perspectives on digital regulation. In shaping an effective and productive Digital Council, policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic should remember to:
- Gain the commitment of senior leadership on digital and tech policy;
- Focus on strategic discussions;
- Not shy away from policy differences between the United States and the EU;
- Have authority to engage agencies and departments across governments;
- Delegate specific issues to relevant decision-makers, provide guidance, and track progress; and
- Provide an opportunity for all stakeholders—business, consumers, and legislators—to engage.
A successful Digital Council will provide a meaningful and concrete manifestation of transatlantic engagement, and cement the United States and Europe as leaders in digital and tech policy.
Issue Brief Dec 18, 2020
Engaging Europe: A transatlantic digital agenda for the Biden administration
By Frances Burwell
Without engagement, Europe and the United States are likely to continue their disparate approaches to the digital economy. The Biden administration must meet the challenge of building better US-EU cooperation on digital issues, for the sake of transatlantic security, prosperity, and shared values.
Issue Brief Jun 22, 2020
The European Union and the search for digital sovereignty: Building “Fortress Europe” or preparing for a new world?
By Frances Burwell, Kenneth Propp
However the EU redefines sovereignty post-COVID-19—including technological or digital sovereignty—the impact will not be limited to Europe and European companies.
New Atlanticist Mar 3, 2020
First privacy, now data: The EU seeks a managed digital space
By Frances Burwell
On February 19, the European Commission launched a major regulatory initiative aimed at creating a transformational digital economy in Europe. Given the close integration of the US and European Union (EU) economies—including in the digital sphere—this European initiative is likely to have a significant impact on US companies and consumers.