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Digital summit in Dortmund

Data sovereignty is paramount

At the German government’s digital summit in Dortmund, Chancellor Angela Merkel has advocated data sovereignty and called for European solutions in the field of digital infrastructure. The supranational cloud Gaia-X was presented.

Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Smart City exhibit Chancellor Angela Merkel at the digital summit - European solutions for digital infrastructure Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

At this year’s digital summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that all our values must apply in the digital world as elsewhere. She particularly stressed the importance of this in the working world, the health sector and with regard to ethical conduct. "The humanity of our society must of course be maintained in the digital world too," said the Chancellor in Dortmund.

In future, data will continue to be an economic product and a societal asset. Angela Merkel warned of the risk of becoming dependent on major businesses for storing and sharing sensitive information. Our approach, she said, must be that "Europe can do everything, including developing and operating its own data structure."

A European cloud

The Chancellor made specific reference to the Gaia-X project, presented at the digital summit by Thomas Jarzombek, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs’ Commissioner for the Digital Industry and Start-ups. Gaia-X is a networked data structure, or cloud, at European level. The Federal Republic of Germany must ensure its own data sovereignty and this includes its own data infrastructure, said Thomas Jarzombek. The advantage of this project is its inter-operability, i.e. Gaia-X is intended as an alternative to US and Chinese providers, but their collaboration and compatibility with the European project are to be retained.

Actively shaping digital transformation

The German government intends to actively shape digital transformation and prepare the population as well as possible for the changes it will bring. The Digital Strategy points the way forward for the realisation of digital projects in the years to come.

The German government’s digital summit is the central platform for cooperation between politicians, business, the science and research community, and civil society on shaping digital transformation. The motto of the 2019 summit was "PlattFORM DIE Zukunft" (PlatFORM THE Future). It intends to generate impetus for the development and use of digital platforms, specifically including start-ups and projects that are still small-scale.


Oct 29, 2019