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DW: The Digital Challenge

01/12/2022

The Digital Challenge: Europe’s digitalization – From online shopping to remote working

Upload November 28,2022

Dating apps, delivery services, remote work and smart homes. Today, our lives are more digitalized than ever. At the same time, the vulnerabilities that come with globalization are becoming increasingly obvious. And Europe’s dependency on international tech giants is an ever-greater threat.

The coronavirus pandemic — and the restrictions that came with it — turned the lives of people in Europe upside down. But they also showed us how useful new technologies can be. Today, it’s hard to imagine our daily lives without remote working, online shopping, video calls and countless useful apps.

Despite all this, Europe is lagging far behind the rest of the globe, when it comes to the race to digitalize. The EU has been outpaced by both the USA and China. Europe’s fragmented and isolated market, scant investments, and dependency on American corporations have all contributed to the problem.

But Europe’s digital sovereignty is more crucial now than ever. As a handful of US-based online giants evade all regulatory controls, appearing to act entirely according to their own whims, European citizens are becoming increasingly vulnerable to fake news, precarious work, and data theft.

Digital sovereignty is important to the preservation of democracy, as well as for the safety of European citizens and consumers. That’s why it’s one of the EU’s top concerns. The drive to secure the EU’s digital soveriegnty is being lead by acting vice president of the European Commission, Margarethe Vestager.

With the help of European investments, several countries have already adopted some measures. Sweden, for example, has taken on the world’s largest audio streaming service, Spotify. Estonia has begun centralizing and securing all of its IT services and data. But this is just the beginning: The battle against the online giants who dominate the markets is ongoing.

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