miércoles, 8 de octubre de 2014

EU #digital affairs in the new @EU_Commission

We are in the middle of a political frenzy in Europe: The approval of the new European Commission. After the presentation of the Junker proposal for the new Commission in September, the last ten days his team has been grilled by the Parliament. The jury is out and the final verdict will be during the investment session. Perhaps, the more innovative element of the Commission proposed by Juncker is not the names of the people who will integrate its team but its architecture. In order to build up a more effective Commission and at the same time maintaining a representative of each Member State in the College, Juncker has introduced a layer of coordination composed of seven Vicepresidents. These vicepresidents will not be responsible of a concrete sector (e.g. agriculture, energy, ...) but of the fulfilment of a political challenge. In order to fulfill the challenge that each Vicepresident is responsible, he or she should coordinate the efforts of the Commissioners responsible of different sectors.

How the EU digital affairs will be managed in the forthcoming five years are an example of the EU Commission new way of working. On one hand, there will be a Vicepresident for the Digital Single Market. On the other hand, there will be a Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. Although there is a joke outside saying that Neelie Kroes has been so active as Commisioner that now we need two men to do one woman´s job (even she says that are three men for her post, but this is in my opinion a large exageration) , both of them has a different set of responsibilities. The different scope of their future role is described in their respective mission letter that the President of the EU Commission sent each of them.

Although there are some overlapping in the detailed list of missions of the two digital Commissioners (I leave to you the game of finding one mission that is described with the same words for both of them), the clean cut between the different roles is clear. The role of the Digital Single Market Commissioner, Andrus Ansip, is "to make Europe a world leader in information and communication technology" through "making a much better use of the opportunities offered by digital technologies". This means the obligation  to be the Europe´s digital champion, seeking for the smartest usage of ICT in each economic sector and by every citizen. Gunther Oettinger, the Digital Economy and Society Commissioner, is the provider of the inputs needed for making Europe the most advanced digital space in the world. He has to "contribute to projects steered and coordinated by the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market and the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness".

As with every new organisational model, we can be sure that there will be misunderstandings in a first stage between both digital Commissioners. The first doubts about the workability of the new organisation are on the table. But we badly need an smooth and quickly implementation of the new political architecture for EU digital affairs. According with the review of Europe 2020 strategy done by The Lisbon Council, the Digital Agenda is the economy pillar where the gap between Europe and USA and Japan is bigger. Our future is at stake.

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