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EU Policy. Give us time to implement laws, telecom ministers ask Commission

Belgian minister Petra De Sutter, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, Belgian state secretary Mathieu Michel.
Belgian minister Petra De Sutter, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton, Belgian state secretary Mathieu Michel. Copyright Flickr/Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU/Julien Nizet
Copyright Flickr/Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU/Julien Nizet
By Cynthia Kroet
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They also ask for a mid-term review to analyse the interplay between laws and sectoral updates.

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EU telecom ministers today (21 May) called upon the next European Commission to leave enough time for coherent implementation of tech laws, instead of presenting more digital regulation.

In their “Future of Digital Policy” conclusions, meant as input for the incoming Commission which will begin after the EU elections, ministers from the 27 countries noted the “significant number” of EU legislative acts that have been adopted in recent years, and “stress the need to prioritise in the coming years their effective and efficient implementation."

The Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen presented and adopted a number of laws such as the AI Act, the Digital Services Act as well as a variety of data and cybersecurity rules.

Denmark’s Marie Bjerre, minister for digital government and gender equality, said at today’s ministerial roundtable discussion that the digital framework should be one that consumers can rely on. “We now need to adopt all guidelines, implementing acts and standards in a timely manner – they are important for our businesses, and we need to have coordinated guidance.”

Stefano Verracchia, Italy’s deputy permanent representative in Brussels, said that governments now “need to work on implementation and make the most of the role of the national parliaments in approving them.”

In response to the ministers’ call, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said that many member states have not yet appointed the right authorities tasked with overseeing the laws on a national level.

“Everyone has to play their part. Half of the member states are behind. And some want to do things at their own pace. Now we have EU horizontal laws; we need to accelerate and stop with specific national regulation,” Breton added.

Mid-term

Ministers also encouraged the Commission to carry out a mid-term analysis of the interplay of horizontal and sectoral EU digital laws. In addition, they said digital transformation should go hand in hand with sustainability goals, and more needs to be done to attract and retain a digitally skilled workforce.

The countries today also spoke about the importance of the international dimension of EU digital policy and welcomed digital partnerships and trade agreements with like-minded countries.

Germany’s Minister of Digital Affairs and Transport Volker Wissing called the current digital rulebook ambitious. “A successful implementation can lead to other markets adopting our rules – which will strengthen the role of Europe,” he said at today’s meeting.

In a separate document related to the future of cybersecurity policy, governments said that besides implementing the laws, more needs to be done.

“In light of the changed and rising threat level, the EU Cybersecurity Strategy from December 2020 should be reviewed, updating its objectives and approach, setting a clear framework with roles and responsibilities for all entities involved,” the document said.

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