EU standards must not slow down innovation

  • 2022-02-01
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The European Union as a whole has the power to set standards that will affect production all over the world, so Europe should use this clout to encourage the development of new, sustainable and innovative solutions, not to hinder it, Estonia's Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt says.

The European Commission is about to unveil the European Union's standardization strategy on Wednesday.

The Estonian minister said we need to strike a balance between innovation and predictability in the market. It is essential that industry, which is the most aware of so-called real world developments, is involved in the development of standards, he said. 

"In order to compete with China, we need to bring the best products and services to the market, and the standards developed in Europe will only become international standards if they are innovative," Sutt said in a press release. 

Sutt met with Margrethe Vestager, vice-president of the European Commission, in Brussels on Monday to discuss the state of play in digital in the European Union (EU) and to exchange views on various topics related to the internal market and industry.

Sutt and Vestager also discussed the creation of the EU's Joint Cyber ??Unit.

"Undoubtedly, the likelihood of cyber attacks is increasing in today's security environment and we need to be ready for close cooperation between member states. Unfortunately, there is a very low awareness of cyber threats among the managements of companies both in Estonia and in Europe, for example, which renders our services, as well as the state and the European Union more broadly, vulnerable," he said.

Estonia's proposal has been to set a specific target for cyber security investments in order to ensure that financing for the field is in line with the threat picture and sustainable.

"We have increasingly included this proposal in EU discussions and I am pleased that Commissioner Vestager also supports it," Sutt said. 

According to Vestager, Estonia's proposal for a uniform assessment of cyber spending fits well with the new EU standardization strategy. The strategy under development foresees that standardization must become an important part of the EU's new strategic objectives, supporting strategic independence and technological sovereignty. 

On the topic of developments in the EU's digital identity or e-ID, the Estonian minister emphasized the importance of cases of cross-border use.

"Life is becoming more and more international and people no longer have to work and live in the same country. If this is the case, it is important that they can communicate with their home country and use services in any EU country, no matter whether it's the driving license or prescriptions for medicines. The pandemic has given a strong boost to the digital transition and I hope that the French presidency will be able to take these issues forward at a good pace," Sutt added. 

On Tuesday, the minister of entrepreneurship and information technology was attending an informal meeting of competitiveness ministers in Lens, France, where a discussion was to be held on how to reduce the European Union's strategic dependence on third countries in both supply chains and raw materials, such as rare earth elements.