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The issue of sovereignty is now at the heart of the digital debate in Europe. Political actors and commentators are gradually becoming aware of the influence that American "Big Tech" (also known as "GAFAM" or "Hyperscalers"), and soon Chinese, can have on our economy, our democracy, and the daily lives of our fellow citizens. While there is a growing consensus on the risks involved, there is no consensus on how to deal with them. In particular, the alternatives are still little known, if they are not devalued by political decision-makers.
While a recovery plan representing several tens of billions of euros in the budgets of European countries is being put in place, we note that the idolatry of foreign technologies is still the norm among European political elites. Blinded by this tropism, they currently seem to be resolved to favour the regulatory or contractual route, while leaving the way open, in the areas of cloud and software, to proprietary technologies that are beyond the control of European players. The network externalities and lock-in inherent in these markets give rise to fears that these choices will gradually become irreversible. Deprived of a strong competence in the development of the fundamental building blocks of cloud and Internet of Things technologies, the ability to innovate and create value in the context of the digital transition risks being lost forever.
This roundtable will be an opportunity to compare the views on these issues of several representative European open source actors, both at national and European levels, gathered within APELL and EUCLIDIA.
Round table: F/OSS and digital sovereignty across the EU