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The European Commission has adopted a ‘Digital Europe Programme’ and allotted it €1.98 billion of funding to strengthen technological sovereignty

The European Commission has adopted a Digital Europe Programme and allotted it €1.98 billion (US$2.25 billion) of funding as part of the Europe’s Digital Decade initiative. The funding is split into three programs, which in turn spread across the overall objectives.

The Commission agreed on the €7.5 billion ($8.5 billion today) Digital Europe Programme in December 2020 as part of the 2021-2027 budget period to boost the bloc’s “technological sovereignty” via the development of supercomputing (€2.2 billion earmarked), artificial intelligence (€2.1 billion), cybersecurity (€1.7 billion), advanced digital skills (€580 million) and “ensuring the wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society” (€1.1 billion).

The latest funding announcement shows that the main work program will receive €1.38 billion for investment in AI, “cloud and data spaces” that facilitate cross-border data sharing and edge computing, quantum communication infrastructure, advanced digital skill and the wide use of digital technologies across society and the economy until the end of 2022. The main program budget release will also go towards funding “set-up, operations and evolving and continuous maintenance of digital services supporting cross border interoperability of solutions in support of the public administrations (e.g. European Digital Identity).”

The EU is currently developing a regional digital identity system based on digital wallets with biometric access control.

An additional two work streams will receive €269 million for cybersecurity and €329 for establishing and operating a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs across the EU.

“This is Europe’s Digital Decade. By 2030, data, cloud, edge and quantum computing will drive industrial and societal innovation, creating new business models,” said Thierry Breton, commissioner for Internal Market.

“The €2 billion investment announced today enables European companies – of all sizes and notably startups – to seize opportunities in fast-growing markets. It will also empower European citizens with the skills needed to thrive in a safe digital environment. This strengthens our technological sovereignty.”

The Council of Europe Data Protection Unit looks for data protection experts

Also in Europe, but distinct to the EU, EC, EP and European Council, the international organization for human rights, rule of law and democracy in Europe, the Council of Europe, is seeking to create a pool of experts to identity and study new and emerging challenges and threat to individuals’ personal data.

The Council of Europe upholds international conventions for its 47 member states (compared to the EU’s 27), operates the European Court of Human Rights which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights.

The hiring round is for Convention 108 and 108+ which seeks to provide recommendations and legal instruments to inform policy makers as well as civil society and private companies about the impacts of the digitalization and globalization of personal information.

It is hiring experts on issues such as children’s personal data, privacy by design, blockchain, AI, 5G, sensitive data and sport data.

Article: European Commission allots €2B of funding for AI, quantum, digital skills

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