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Lisbon, June 21,2021 (Lusa) - Portugal's secretary of state for digital transition said on Monday, in an interview with Lusa, that Portugal managed to meet "fully" what it proposed in the area of digital, under the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
"In the area of digital, nothing was left undone," André de Aragão Azevedo said, stressing that Portugal has fulfilled and had "international recognition" that it made "a very strong contribution".
"There is recognition that we invested, planned ahead and managed to deliver despite the constraints of the pandemic crisis".
"Today was the closing of this cycle of the Portuguese presidency that had a very special focus on the area of digital," he said, referring to the discussion on the future of 'startups' and unicorns that Portugal hosted today (EU Next Generation Innovator Summit", which took place this morning.
He pointed out that digital is one of the Government's four strategic designs, alongside climate transition, inequalities and birth rate.
"We elected two specific areas within the digital scope and within the scope of the presidency to mark access to this European agenda".
"The first has to do with entrepreneurship, with the goal of starting a new cycle in which Europe is behind the most direct competitors, namely the United States, China, but also smaller nations like Israel and Singapore that are the world references in terms of entrepreneurship. We have to be in that front line and the effort we made was to create a declaration, which was signed on March 19, during Digital Day, which created the basic requirements for a country to consider itself a true 'Startup Nation'," he continued.
"There are eight areas in which countries have committed to work towards and converge in terms of meeting these requirements, areas such as taxation of 'stock options', retention of talent or the attraction of talent" or the creation of a company or a 'startup' on the same day, among others.
Basically, "these are all areas in which Portugal is already advanced, we are already internationally perceived as a country that has a very strong and robust entrepreneurship ecosystem, but we want to raise this bar and we want Portugal to be even more relevant", he stressed.
In addition, "we also managed at the same time and on the same day to capture for Portugal an initiative of the Portuguese Government, the Europe Startup Nation Alliance, which is a permanent European structure that will for the first time be dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurship".
"This is a very big gain for Portugal because it puts us on the map and as a country of reference".
"We already had the Web Summit, now we also have a more institutional European headquarters that will contribute to putting Portugal on the map in this regard".
In short, the two areas of focus of the Portuguese presidency were entrepreneurship and fundamental rights and values in the area of the digital age, with the latter being mirrored in the Lisbon Declaration, a document that "aims to take on European leadership and the European reference in terms of democratic values and principles".
"Our conviction" as a country "is that Europe has capitalised little on this role of world reference that is indisputable in terms of values and principles and that this is a very important asset because it induces confidence in the market and, as we know, there is no market without confidence".
Europe must capitalise on this asset "in its favour", which makes it a "reliable partner for other geographies".
"When we invite countries from Latin America or Africa to meet with us to establish trade relations, it is because we believe that we are a more reliable partner than other regions, and that is what we put into the Lisbon Declaration". In other words, "we want the digital world to always be based on a set of principles that are fundamental principles of respect for the human person, we want digitalisation with a human face and, therefore, it makes sense that we transpose the same principles that are at the basis of the European project itself to the digital reality".
The Lisbon Declaration, he said, is "basically the kick-off" for an international Charter of Fundamental Rights.
"Therefore, we are opening it not only to private individuals and companies, who we want to take responsibility for these commitments, but also to other countries outside the European Union, because this is not a European challenge, this is a challenge of the digital market, which is global by nature".
And when will we see the Charter of Fundamental Rights in digital? "We have tried to advance as much as we could. According to the timeline, this will take at least two years, as it has its own legislative process".
Increased dependence on digital "presupposes that we need to have some kind of regulation", he considered, recalling the step taken at European level with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is an "excellent reference on the importance of regulation in an area as sensitive" as privacy.
"What we saw is that when Europe announced this intention it was dubbed as retrograde and somehow" contrary to the interest of innovation, but what was concluded "was exactly the opposite".
The affirmation of the privacy principle came "basically to induce consumer confidence that knows that in the EU it is taken seriously" and ended up working "as a reference for the rest of the world", he exemplified.
"The European Commission's proposal for a Directive on the protection of privacy and personal data in the telecommunications sector is a good example of this.
During the Portuguese presidency, the EllaLink submarine fibre-optic cable was also inaugurated, connecting Europe to South America.
This inauguration is "symbolic because it marks this autonomisation of Europe, strengthens the connectivity that we know is the highway of the future and where most transactions are carried out today and puts Portugal at the forefront, also opening the door to other investments".
This is "a very important leap in what is also the strategy of opening Europe to the world and of making Europe less dependent on the United States".
ALU/AYLS // AYLS
Lusa



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-06-22 10:44:00







 

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