02 June, 2020

ETNO policy position on the European strategy for data

Executive Summary

This paper outlines ETNO’s views on the European Data Strategy, released by the Commission on 19 February 2020.  The document focuses on the Strategy’s approach to data access and sharing in the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) contexts, also including B2B competition issues linked to exclusive data access. Furthermore, we elaborate on investment in data infrastructures, with emphasis on a European cloud ecosystem.

As big data will blossom at the intersection of 5G, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence, the European telecom industry applauds the Strategy’s vision for creating common European data spaces.  We recommend that the Commission consider some key elements that, in ETNO’s view, will be crucial to a successful single data market that drives innovation and competitiveness:

  • B2B data sharing should generally continue to be based on voluntary contractual agreements, which address the conditions and specificities needed to make B2B sharing mutually beneficial in a flexible way. Barriers and uncertainties around data co-creation, sharing and use could be addressed by greater standardisation of contracts and datasets, use of data marketplaces, and support to data sharing and pooling partnerships.
  • Solutions that facilitate voluntary B2G data sharing, such as contract and data standardisation and regulatory sandboxes, should be supported. Mutually beneficial cooperation between private and public sector requires legal certainty for data sharing in the public interest, fair compensation, and skilled public authorities.
  • A two-pronged approach to preserve fair data access in digital markets and avert abuse of market powers by digital gatekeepers is needed. A review of competition policy to increase its effectiveness in the fast-changing digital markets should be complemented with an ex-ante regulatory regime that prevents competitive issues in a forward-looking manner. Mandatory data access for large online gatekeepers could be considered as a remedy.
  • A pan-EU interconnected “cloud federation” could become the underlying infrastructure of the European data spaces and could reduce Europe’s existing dependencies in this area. This would help achieve long-term data sovereignty goals. Synergy among the different funding programmes is key to the success of the project.
© ETNO 2020
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