What would Schuman do?

Monday, May 11, 2020

From “What would Schuman do?", an essay published the European Cultural foundations AndrĂ© Wilkens on the occasion of Europe Day 2020 (emphasis mine):

Is there a lesson to be drawn? What is the most essential resource of economic power today? What has the biggest potential of division and destruction today? Or the other way around: What has the greatest potential of community, sharing and solidarity? What offers the biggest potential of pooling resources? For Schuman this was not primarily money but something concrete, something which was already there but unevenly distributed and a potential source of power friction. What is the coal and steel of today? Hospital beds? Ventilators? Face masks? Toilet paper? Kurzarbeitergeld? Eurobonds? A Corona vaccine? A Corona health app? What can neutralize tension and create a European bond instead? My initial thought is digital. This is the strategic resource of today. Europe is weak and divided. It has no major digital industry and relies mainly on infrastructure and suppliers from outside Europe. Europe could be a stronger actor and a standard-setter if it pooled its digital capacity. This can connect Europeans in a safe digital space. We better pool our creativity and become our own masters rather than being just vulnerable customers of US and Chinese operators.

This of course aligns very well with what we are trying to achieve via our Shared Digital Europe project. Interestingly it seems that the European Commission is thinking along similar lines (and is going to fund exploratory research into this direction)