We still need to get the basics right: policymakers must prioritise reducing fragmentation across markets to help scale digital businesses.
Brussels, Belgium – On 20 November, the European Tech Alliance (EUTA) celebrated its fifth anniversary by hosting a strategic discussion: “The Digital Single Market – Fact or Fiction Five years on, what’s the outlook for EU tech champions.” The aim of the event was to highlight the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s most prominent homegrown startups and scaleups.
In a statement introducing the panel, Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market clearly outlined the importance of sustaining Europe’s vibrant tech ecosystem as “innovation is the lifeblood of the digital ecosystem, and is the most important for the recovery and resilience of our economies.”
Founder and CEO of FacilityLive and EUTA President, Gianpiero Lotito, set the tone of the discussion by highlighting that Europe has previously been too much of a follower in digital tech and not supportive enough within its own ecosystem, “…but we have already shown that we can create some market champions. We have one great advantage in Europe. We have 450m citizens who are consumers and big users of technology. This is the richest market in the world, but we need to understand how to put this strength on the table as an advantage.”
Both policymakers and industry leaders agreed that for Europe to lead, it will have to ensure a level playing field both in the EU and globally and guarantee fair competition. As Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com said: “If the upcoming gatekeeper regulation targets the wrong set of companies, it will be a gift to our formidable global competitors. This will not only hurt homegrown innovation. It will hurt Europe’s economy, will slow down recovery and is counterproductive to Europe’s agenda of enhancing its digital capabilities.”
For Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO of Schibsted, this means that “access to data about our own customers is instrumental to developing better services and more relevant content for our users. It is important that the Digital Markets Act ensures that European tech companies can compete on a fair basis and continue innovating on the digital market.”
All participants agreed that the next five years will be critical to assert Europe’s ability to play a leading role in the digital transition and to support the EU’s recovery efforts.
Marie Even, Deputy Director-General of Cdiscount welcomed “the Commission initiative to create a fair digital single market where enforcement for all players active in Europe will give European consumers and citizens more choices and alternatives in digital markets.”
Overall, the panel reaffirmed the mission and objectives of the Alliance, in allowing our members to share expertise and insights on building and scaling digital businesses across Europe and beyond. As the Alliance’s Chair Magdalena Piech (Allegro), stated in her closing speech, “the Alliance remains fully committed to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness in the digital economy and making Europe the world leader in digital technology and innovation.”
The EUTA five-year anniversary was also an opportunity to present the results of a short poll conducted by the Alliance of Europe’s leading policymakers and tech executives. Unsurprisingly, responses underlined the need for more legal clarity and a more integrated EU internal market. While industry leaders called for creating a more friendly environment for investment, notably in key sectors such as AI, digital infrastructure, and quantum computing, policymakers singled out their top priorities in making Europe more resilient, such as by strengthening cybersecurity and tackling disinformation online.
Five years on, the EUTA will continue to bring the voice of European tech to the policy debate. Likewise, our business leaders will continue to engage and share their views on how the Digital Single Market could further support entrepreneurs and enable businesses to flourish.
The European Tech Alliance (EUTA) brings together and gives a voice to the major European digital champions, scaleups and leading startups. We believe that Europe is good at tech and our sector is driving jobs and growth across the continent. With an overarching goal of fostering innovation in Europe, EUTA members are keen to provide expert insights to the EU institutions and promote EU competitiveness in the global tech space.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Stéphanie Brochard, EUTA Secretariat
Rue Belliard 40 – Brussels
Phone: +32 471 79 54 52