The Year Ahead: 2023 in EU Policy & Politics

  • 2023 is expected to be a pivotal year in EU’s policy developments that are relevant to ICT SMEs

  • DIGITAL SME is committed to provide tailored analyses to its members and continue to represent the interests of ICT SMEs vis-á-vis European institutions

2022 was a turning point in EU’s digital policy. The political priorities of European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen were realised through a series of legislative files.

The Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act were both concluded, to regulate digital platforms. The revision of the Network Information and Security Directive (NIS2) was adopted to provide a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union. The French and Czech Presidencies made key advancements in files such as the AI Act, the Data Act and others.

These developments respond directly to the priorities that were set out at DIGITAL SME’s 2019 Manifesto for Europe’s Digital Future.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are directly affected by the decisions taken in Brussels. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance provides intelligence analysis to the members of its network and represents the interests of SMEs vis-á-vis the EU institutions. Below are some key developments that will take place in 2023 and that ICT SMEs should be aware of.

Sweden and Spain at the Helm

Sweden has already taken over the Presidency of the EU Council and will remain in this position for the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, the Presidency will be taken over by Spain. The EU Council Presidency is a strategic post, as it allows the Member State at the helm to shape the political agenda and the policy debates. Sweden published the official agenda of the Presidency where they outline the digital topics on which they will focus on.

Artificial Intelligence

The Council will initiate negotiations on the Artificial Intelligence Act with the European Parliament as soon as the Parliament reaches a final position. The goal is to advance negotiations as far as possible, but it is likely that the deal will be sealed by the Spanish Presidency. DIGITAL SME has become a key stakeholder in the process, publishing the AI Open Letter, an initiative supported by 60 companies and business associations.


The Data Act will complete the puzzle of the European Data Strategy. In 2023, the Parliament and the Council will reach their final positions and initiate negotiations between them in order to unlock the industrial potential of the data economy. DIGITAL SME has published its Position Paper on the Data Act in September 2022.


The Swedish Presidency will advance negotiations on the Interoperable Europe Act, a key initiative that aims to foster cooperation on cross-border data exchanges and IT solutions between national public administrations. DIGITAL SME published its Statement on the Interoperable Europe Act in December 2022.


Standardisation is the silent foundation of EU’s global competitiveness. Based on the European Standardisation Strategy, a governance reform is expected to take place in 2023 in European Standardisation Organisations. Specifically, ETSI is expected to review its voting system to rebalance the influence of non-EU large companies in favour of European SMEs and public administrations.


In light of the volatile geopolitical situation, cybersecurity is in the top of the EU’s agenda. In this domain, the Cyber Resilience Act is an important piece of legislation that will ensure a high standard of protection across connected devices. DIGITAL SME has launched an SME Impact Survey to assess the impact of the Cyber Resilience Act on your company.


Green and Energy Transitions’ is one of the 4 priorities of the Swedish Presidency as they aim to move forward with remaining legislative parts of the Fit for 55 package. Moreover, in 2023 we can expect a proposal on the Right to Repair and the adoption of new ecodesign requirements for sustainable products.

Digital Skills

The Commission has proposed to make 2023 the European Year of Skills. Several events, campaigns and projects will be organised across Europe to foster the exchange of best practices and bridge the digital skills gap. The adoption of the proposal is foreseen for the first quarter of 2023.

Economic Recovery

An SME Relief Package will be launched in 2023, combating late payments and making it easier to do business. The European Commission has also published its 2023 Annual Sustainable Growth Survey. The Survey suggests that investments and reforms for the digital transition remain essential to strengthen the EU’s economic base, and enable the implementation of the European Green Deal.

International Partnerships

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council remains high on the agenda, especially for the Swedish Presidency. Although the next meeting of the TTC has not been scheduled, DIGITAL SME remains a trustworthy stakeholder in boosting SME participation on both sides of the Atlantic. You can read our Proposal for an EU-US SME Collaboration here.

Similarly, to last year, in 2023 we will see significant decisions taken on digital technologies. DIGITAL SME will be at the forefront of the conversation. If you want to voice your concerns, you can join our thematic Working Groups. If you want access to tailored analysis on EU regulation, you can request membership at the European DIGITAL SME Alliance.