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Issue #10

Issue #10


EU: €8.2 billion for digitalization

This week, the Commission issued a fancy-looking 2-pager laying out how much money it wants to spend on its “Digital Europe” program. The program is part of the 7-year EU budget, and you can think of it as a master plan for a (digital) recovery of the current crisis towards a future-proof and also sustainable Europe by 2050. The paper shows an interesting trend, as the highest budget of €2.4 billion within the program will go to the area of… SUPERCOMPUTING. Not AI, not cybersecurity. The EU seems to believe in supercomputing as a solution to major future issues in health or security. Then, €2.2 billion shall be invested in AI, €1.8 billion in cybersecurity and €1.2 billion in ensuring a widespread use of technology around industry and society. €600 million will be attributed to the broader training in digital skills as the EU acknowledges: We shouldn’t just have the computers but maybe also some folks who know how to use them. Still a bit depending on budget negotiations, the Digital Europe program is expected to start on 1stJanuary 2021.

EU Parliament: New trendy Committees

It was quite off the grid (at least, in the media) that leaders of the EU Parliament’s political parties agreed to set up new committees. The EU wishes to be more future-proof and decided there are certain topics which need a stronger focus. And the topics the newly formed committees will focus on are:

Foreign Interference and Disinformation to address qualms about the role Russian bots might have played in elections (the US and EU share a joint concern), Artificial Intelligence, fighting cancer and taxes (this one is just a sub-committee though). The new committees show a trend towards an EU adjusting its political working groups to recent developments. You don’t have to be a genius to guess that the sub-committee on taxes might deal with an EU digital tax and the special committee on AI might come up with some approaches on risk-based AI regulation. What the committees discuss, might affect your way of doing business in the EU. If you don’t want to miss any updates on that, feel free to ping us.

German EU Council Presidency: More and more details

We were able to have a look at another internal document on the program of the German EU Council Presidency and can definitely say: Plans are getting more detailed. The 24-page long VS-document (as in “classified”) lays out the VARIOUS important priorities: digital sovereignty (including the European cloud project GAIA-X and digital infrastructure), digitalization (AI in the health sector, the role of the digital single market, platform economy), the future of work, digital learning in schools, (the Commission’s Skills Agenda), a Corona tracing app (EU-wide contract tracing system) and so on. It would take some time and space to list them all. Many interested parties are generally happy with the priorities. Still, this week a position paper from the American Chamber of Commerce showed what is controversial on your side of the pond: digital sovereignty. US corporations fear the EU might mistake digital sovereignty for protectionism and thereby distort fair competition in the Single Market. Concerning sovereignty, candidate for CDU party leadership (and maaaaybe chancellor) Friedrich Merz used quite strong wording: Europe’s aspiration should be nothing less than being equal with the USA and China on the global stage.

To learn about the favorite German vacationing location in Covid-19 times and some thoughts about the next Chancellor and Federal President of Germany, check out the PDF:

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When appearances bomb the context…

All around the globe, PR rules for politics are complicated. And if you don’t know all the related context, you might just break them. Like when that kid walked into daddy’s important TV interview, when daddy thought it should not have been there, remember?

Now, General Milley apologized for walking Trump across the Lafayette Square, saying “I should not have been there”. Just the quote to use by civil personnel in Germany when they appeared in a political context and were involved in a delicate way, like drenching the Chancellor in beer:

Appearing in a photo and unintentionally, but fundamentally changing the intended motive is called photobombing. So, wouldn’t the unintentional, but fundamental change of the political context by being in a photo not qualify as a “political photobomb”?

Other than in civil incidents, photobombing with a military background lifts it to a whole new level. History will show if “photobombing domestic politics” will become part of the future of military education. In any case, civil, parenting or military, what we have all learned this week is that appearance can pretty much bomb the context.

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