Bitkom on Germany’s upcoming EU-presidency

  • President Berg: “Guiding Europe out of crisis with courageous digital-centred presidency”

Berlin, 29. April 2020  - The German government’s efforts are fully focused on planning the upcoming EU-presidency, starting on 1 July 2020. Bitkom president Achim Berg comments:

“The crisis around Corona will inevitably cast a shadow on the German EU-presidency. But despite these circumstances, the presidency cannot become a mere emergency presidency. The government needs to focus its efforts on helping to reshape Europe and keep the continent united.

It is up to the government to - not only outline short-term ways out of the crisis - but also think of new and sustainable long-term perspectives. Digitalisation has to be the focal point for two reasons: On the one hand as virtual arena for political deliberation, on the other hand as a clear priority for political efforts.

Europe is facing its hardest test as a political project yet and new ways for exchanging views, conciliation and joint action have to be found. The European institutions need new procedures to ensure their functioning without the possibility of physical meetings – not only during times of crisis but also beyond. Once again, the EU has to prove that it can remain operational in times of significant challenges.

In terms of agenda setting, Germany more than ever needs to put the focus on advancing digitalisation to drive Europe’s high ambitions in developing digital technology. Currently, there are heated and ongoing discussions about the prospective EU budget, the multiannual financial framework. Investments in digital technologies have to be more pronounced than initially envisaged. Digitalisation offers for instance enormous opportunities with regard to the EU’s environmental ambitions. Likewise, the German government should prioritise the discussion on European data spaces. The Corona crisis highlights how important an innovative data economy would be for sharing medical knowledge, for working on joint solutions and thereby fundamentally protect the continent from recurring border controls”.