Data governance act
At their informal video conference, telecommunications ministers held a policy debate on the proposal for a data governance act, presented by the Commission on 25 November as the first legislative initiative under the 2020 European data strategy. This major proposal aims to promote the availability of data for reuse across sectors and borders. It is expected to play a central role in enabling and guiding the creation of EU-wide common interoperable data spaces in strategic sectors such energy, mobility and health.
Today’s discussion showed the ever-increasing importance of data for our society and economy, as well as the vital need to make it more available. For this, we need secure and trusted structures and processes, and this is what data governance is all about.
Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and chair of today’s meeting
During the discussion, ministers broadly welcomed the proposal as an important enabler for a strong European data economy and increased competitiveness.
Ministers generally deemed it important to encourage data sharing by individuals and businesses. For this, it is essential to strengthen citizens’ and businesses’ trust in sharing data. To create the conditions for trust, it is crucial to have a clear and transparent legislative framework, which safeguards privacy and security.
Many ministers emphasised the need to have a human-centric approach, with citizens in control of their data.
A number of delegations stressed the importance of interoperability for sharing data and avoiding lock-in effects.
Several ministers mentioned international data flows and the need to respect the EU’s trade commitments in this regard and to ensure a level playing field. Some of them pointed to cooperation with like-minded trade partners in this area.
Today’s debate will provide guidance for forthcoming discussions on the proposal in the telecommunications working party. The Portuguese minister mentioned that the data governance act would be a high priority for the incoming Portuguese presidency.
Under any other business, the presidency updated ministers on a joint declaration by the member states on a European initiative on processors and semiconductor technologies. The declaration aims at strengthening Europe’s capacity to develop the next generation of processor chips in order to meet the data-processing requirements for secure 5G and 6G connectivity, supercomputers, artificial intelligence and many other applications. At the time of the closing of the video conference 17 member states had signed the declaration.
The presidency provided information on a number of current legislative proposals.
On the ePrivacy regulation, further work is needed.
On a temporary derogation from the ePrivacy directive for the purpose of combatting child sexual abuse online, the Permanent Representatives Committee approved a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on 28 October. The presidency explained that it was still aiming to conclude this dossier in the coming weeks.
Negotiations with the European Parliament on the Digital Europe programme and creating a European Cybersecurity Competence Centre and a network of coordination centres are in their final stages. The decision on the seat of the Centre will be taken by representatives of the governments of member states in the margins of the Permanent Representatives Committee meeting of 9 December.
The presidency also briefed ministers on the Council conclusions on the cybersecurity of connected devices, which were adopted on 2 December.
The Polish delegation provided information on the issue of the legal framework of security of network and information systems (NIS).
The Commission briefed ministers on its work programme for 2021.
The incoming Portuguese presidency presented its work programme for the first half of 2021.