Work is currently underway on the EU's data strategy, looking at how best to utilise data within the internal market. Swedish Enterprise is contributing to this work, among other things, by highlighting the needs and desires of the business sector, and has recently responded to a consultation on the EU Commission's ongoing work, writes Carola Ekblad, Digital policy.
We emphasise that there is great development potential in the data-driven economy, not least in areas such as research and innovation, sustainable development and counteracting climate change.
However, there are also many obstacles that need to be overcome. Among other things, there is a need to find staff with the correct training and experience. Here, both the EU and the Member States must work together with the business community to ensure the right skills, otherwise there is the risk that the EU will fall behind its competitors.
Accessing public data is currently unnecessarily complicated and time-consuming. Data sharing between companies is also complicated when different systems are not compatible. It is important that the EU promotes the work of European standardisation bodies in developing market-relevant technical standards that can support interoperability and technology transfer. Standards have a crucial role to play, not least in promoting excellence in AI. An international approach would be best; Europe should only set its own standards in the field of public sector data or where there is an absence of international initiatives. This will be essential in ensuring the sustainable global competitiveness of European industry.
Access to data in the public interest should be encouraged, in order to strengthen European research and competitiveness. A careful assessment of the costs and benefits of ensuring appropriate compensation for companies, as well as a common understanding of what data is in the ”public interest”, would help facilitate this.
Existing legal frameworks that affect data sharing between companies should be evaluated and clarified to facilitate both access to, and sharing of, data, particularly in the area of intellectual property rights, privacy and competition. Difficulties in applying existing legislation must not be allowed to hinder development capable of benefiting both individuals and communities. The principles of rule improvement and rule simplification must also prevail here, with continuous evaluation and mapping of both existing and proposed regulations.
Where new legislation is required, it is important that it relies on principle-based rules that are technology-neutral and thus relevant for a longer period of time. In addition, as technology advances continue, self-regulation over the enactment of laws offers considerable advantages.
A common strategy can provide major benefits in continuing to work on data-driven development, but it is of the utmost importance that the EU ensures that development guides legislation, not vice versa. Otherwise, the work risks hindering, rather than helping, European development, and as a result leaving the EU in hopeless pursuit of the technology of the future.EU