Data strategy set to be a key plank of Europe's digital fitness training

By Francine Cunningham


Launching a new European Data Strategy that comprises a series of proposals designed to boost the EU data economy, is set to be a priority work stream for the von der Leyen Commission over the coming year. At a time when the EU appears to be lagging behind in the global race to monetise data, the aim of this strategy is to make the most of the potential value of non-personal data "as an ever-expanding and re-usable asset in the digital economy," according to the Commission Work Programme 2020 published on 29 January.

The initiative is expected to include plans for a new legal framework for common European data spaces, whereby pools of data can be shared by sectors and companies with the purpose of driving innovation. This proposal is scheduled for the third quarter of 2020. There are also reported plans to table a "Data Act" in 2021 that could legislate for business-to-government data sharing and promote business-to-business data sharing by clarifying usage rights. Consideration is also being given to specific access measures for certain data sets in the public sector.

Also relevant to the development of the EU data economy is the Commission's plan to come forward in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a legislative proposal and impact assessment on artificial intelligence (see article below for more details).

Meanwhile, the Commission continues to work towards launching a Digital Services Act in the fourth quarter of 2020. This is expected to take the form of a legislative proposal and impact assessment aimed at strengthening a single market for digital services. Although the eventual scope of the Act is as yet unclear, this horizontal approach to regulating the digital sector is expected to include rules for the removal of illegal content such as hate speech from social networks; transparency rules regarding online advertising, especially cross-border; and a review of certain aspects of the long-established e-Commerce Directive.

With regard to cybersecurity, the Commission plans to publish in the fourth quarter of 2020 a legislative proposal and impact assessment for Review of the Directive on security of network and information systems (NIS Directive). 

Digital finance has also grabbed the attention of the new Commission. The EU executive's work programme includes plans for an Action Plan on Fintech, including a Strategy on an Integrated EU Payments Market, a legislative proposal on Crypto Assets and a legislative proposal entitled 'Cross-sectoral financial services act on operational and cyber resilience'. These proposals, which promise to be a significant intervention in the Fintech sector, are due to be tabled in the third quarter of 2020.

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