Data is at the heart of the EU's digital transformation that is influencing all aspects of society and the economy.
- Data is at the heart of the EU's digital transformation that is influencing all aspects of society and the economy.
- Read more about big data opportunities and challenges Responding to the European Commission's European Strategy for Data, Parliament's industry, research and energy committee called for legislation focussed on people based on European values of privacy and transparency that will enable Europeans and EU-based companies to benefit from the potential of industrial and public data in a report adopted on 24 February 2021.
The benefits of an EU data economy
- Large quantities of quality data, notably non-personal - industrial, public, and commercial - already exist in the EU and their full potential is yet to be explored.
- Enabling data flow between sectors and countries will help European businesses of all sizes to innovate and thrive in Europe and beyond and help establish the EU as a leader in the data economy.
- The Commission projects that the data economy in the EU could grow from 301 billion in 2018 to 829 billion in 2025, with the number of data professionals rising from 5.7 to 10.9 million.
- To become a leader in the data economy, the EU should find a European way to unleash potential and set standards.
Rules to protect privacy, transparency and fundamental rights
- MEPs said rules should be based on privacy, transparency and respect for fundamental rights.
- The frree sharing of data must be limited to non-personal data or irreversibly anonymised data.
- Individuals must be in full control of their data and be protected by EU data protection rules, notably the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
European data spaces and big data infrastructure
- Calling for the free flow of data to be the guiding principle, MEPs urged the Commission and EU countries to create sectoral data spaces that will enable the sharing of data while following common guidelines, legal requirements and protocols.
- In light of the pandemic, MEPs said that special attention should be given to the Common European Health Data Space.
- They warned that the digital divide between regions should be tackled to ensure equal possibilities, especially in light of the post-Covid recovery.
Environmental footprint of big data
While data has the potential to support green technologies and the EU's goal to become climate neutral by 2050, the digital sector is responsible for more than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As it grows, it must focus on lowering its carbon footprint and reducing E-waste, MEPs said.
EU data sharing legislation
- The Commission presented a European strategy for data in February 2020.
- Parliament is also working on a report on the Data Governance Act that the Commission presented in December 2020 as part of the strategy for data.
- It aims to increase data availability and strengthen trust in data sharing and in intermediaries.