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Shaping Europe’s Digital Future

Digital Europe was initially designed to serve the development of the Single Market. But recently, sovereignty and cybersecurity have become two of the Commission’s objectives in a strategic context marked by the domination of the two digital superpowers, the United States and China.

Général d’armée (2S) Marc WATIN-AUGOUARD

Army General (2S), Founder of the FIC, Former Inspector General of the Armed Forces - National Gendarmerie, he was Director of the Research Centre of the National Gendarmerie Officers School (CREOGN) until 2020.

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Yet Europe does not lack assets. It still lacked a unified and ambitious discourse, followed by effective action sustained over time. In March 2021, the European Commission showed the way by launching its “Digital Decade” programme. Cybersecurity has an essential place in this strategy. It is both its cornerstone and spearhead.

In the immediate future, from an operational point of view, Europe must be able to respond to the increase in the number and sophistication of cyber threats, as well as to all forms of insecurity, including in the information field.

The operational response is based on an industrial foundation that guarantees strategic autonomy. After defining demanding standards for security and personal data protection, Europe must create the conditions for ecosystems to develop, whether in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or semiconductors.

The ways and means of cybersecurity call for a political stance. Europe must equip itself with the diplomatic tools that will enable it to “persuade”—if not “dissuade”—potential adversaries and to assert its interests and its vision of a sustainable digital world, centred on human beings and based on shared values.

After the time for reflection, the time for pragmatism and action has come! The many legislative projects (NIS2, cyber resilience, e-evidence, product security, DMA, DSA, semiconductors, etc.) will only bear fruit if they are accompanied by a rapid increase in capabilities (operational, technological, military, diplomatic, industrial, etc.) contributing to cyber security. But the first condition is the mobilisation of talents and skills. At a time when historical alliances are weakening or disintegrating, the question can be summed up as follows: “to be or not to be European”. Europe kicks off!

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