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„Digital Sovereignty“ has become a buzzword in any political discussion on the EU’s global role. In May 2020 and January 2021, the European Commission published two communications aiming to build and maintain the EU’s open strategic autonomy. The German Presidency of the Council of the EU had put digital sovereignty at the heart of its program. Accordingly, on the last Digital Summit of the German Federal Government, Chancellor Angela Merkel clearly called for a European independence without reservation.mDigital sovereignty has become a synonym in the public debate for the European race to catch up with especially the US and China when it comes to technological leadership.
In the context of the political discussion on safeguarding competitiveness of banks and FinTechs in Europe, the debate on digital sovereignty is also reflected in the European financial sector and its regulation. Legislative initiatives such as the Digital Operations Resilience Act (DORA), Market in Crypto Assets (MiCA) or the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act demonstrate the efforts of politics to strengthen the digital sovereignty of the European financial marketplace. The initiative by the German Federal Government for a European open data infrastructure, GAIA-X, also goes in the same direction. Nevertheless, given the current market structure, there is still a long way to go to European digital sovereignty. Finding the right balance between sovereignty and keeping enough flexibility and openness for business activity in a globalized world will be key.
This virtual debate, part of the KAS-BdB Finance Forum, will discuss how this balance can look like: How much technological self-determination is reasonable and feasible in an interconnected world? Where is the line between strengthening sovereignty and protectionism? Is a full digital sovereignty even possible in our globalised and highly collaborative economy?