DIGITAL SME responds to State of the Union speech: “Europe’s digital economy needs to focus on SMEs”

Today, following the State of the Union speech by Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission put forward two important initiatives on some key areas of the Digital Single Market. These are a legal package cybersecurity and proposal for a new regulation on the Free Flow of Data.

We welcome these Commission’s initiatives. Both cyber security and data economy offer great opportunities for innovative SMEs to drive the growth of Europe’s digital economy. Only a thriving digital industry, especially small and medium sized companies, can help Europe regain its digital sovereignty. Therefore, we encourage the European Commission to do more in order to strengthen SMEs’ role in Europe’s digital future.” commented DIGITAL SME President Oliver Grün.

The European DIGITAL SME Alliance welcomed the cybersecurity package by the EU Commission. This includes proposals, such as a new EU Research and Competence center to shape cybersecurity research and also to support SMEs’ participation in multinational projects. However, as recently highlighted by the DIGITAL SME paper “European Cybersecurity Strategy: Fostering the SME ecosystem”, much more should be done to support European SMEs that develop innovative cyber security solutions. DIGITAL SME proposals include the creation of a European Cybersecurity SMEs HUB, as well as measures to support SMEs though public procurement and ways to make public funding schemes, such as the SME Instrument, more effective for SMEs.

DIGITAL SME also commented positively the Commission’s proposed regulation on Free Flow of Data that will, in particular, reduce the national restrictions on data location and improve data portability. However, DIGITAL SME encouraged the Commission to clarify the legal framework for the use of non-personal data generated by machines as announced earlier in 2017. DIGITAL SME calls for the creation of an open market for data usage, where both manufacturers and users of data-producing machines are entitled to use the data.