PromethEUs Publication “EU Data Strategy. A multifaceted perspective from Southern European countries”

The PromethEUs network of think tanks, consisting of Elcano Royal Institute (Spain), I-Com the Institute for Competitiveness (Italy), IOBE the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (Greece) and Institute of Public Policy – Lisbon (Portugal) has carried out a joint paper on the EU Digital Strategy as the main output of its activity in the first semester 2023.

Aiming to contribute to the debate around the EU Data Strategy from a Southern European
perspective, the paper sets the discussion on the strategy, that the network analysed in three key aspects – economic, geopolitical, and regulatory – with specific applications in key important industries such as healthcare.

Chapter 1 discusses the EU Data Strategy and its Acts and Directives, highlighting their interactions with other legal instruments and examining their political, economic, and regulatory impacts. The EU Data Strategy aims to create a human-centered, data-driven, and prosperous economy in the EU, involving citizens and SMEs in data creation and usage. The Data Governance Act (DGA) establishes new bodies and responsibilities to facilitate trustworthy data sharing, while the Data Act (DA) defines data usage and access rights across sectors. The strategy also promotes the creation of high-value datasets and European data spaces, enhances transparency, and emphasizes international data protection agreements.

Chapter 2 explores the geopolitical implications of the EU Data Strategy. It acknowledges that data is a valuable resource in global competition but is governed by various rules and frameworks, leading to limited cross-border collaboration. The EU Data Strategy aims to position the EU as a leader in the data-driven society and addresses strategic autonomy, digital sovereignty, and global technology vision. The EU employs regulation, multilateral initiatives, and technology diplomacy to govern data globally. The chapter emphasizes the challenges of influencing other countries to adopt similar data governance approaches and partnering with developing or digitally non-aligned countries.

Chapter 3 examines the economic aspect of the data economy and data industry in Europe. Data analytics have opened up opportunities for organizations, making data management crucial for technological supremacy. The US dominates the global data economy, followed by the EU and China. Germany, France, and Italy are the leading European countries in terms of data market value. The positive growth trend in the data market is reflected in the GDP impact, with Estonia having the largest data economy impact by 2030. However, the lack of data skills poses a barrier to data industry development, with a growing skills gap in Europe.

Chapter 4 delves into the potential advantages and obstacles associated with implementing the European Health Data Space (EHDS), while also assessing the digital readiness of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece.The chapter evaluates the digital readiness of the four countries using the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), digital health market projections, and other relevant indicators. Spain emerges as a leader in digitalization and readiness for transforming the digital health sector. Portugal exhibits relative progress through the implementation of pertinent strategies and frameworks. Italy and Greece encounter hurdles such as fragmentation, data quality, and the interpretation of privacy laws.

Please find attached the full publication and its press release:

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