EU digital policies in the next Commission’s mandate

Focus on the Belgian Presidency’s Council Conclusions

Since January 2024, Belgium is at the helm of the rotating Presidency of Council of the EU. For six months, this position entitles a Member State to put policies on the agenda and to represent the Council of Ministers during interinstitutional negotiations – acting as honest broker. As the 2019-2024 Commission mandate is drawing to a close, the Belgian Presidency has been granted with another superpower: the opportunity to propose forward-looking policy recommendations to the next European Commission. Against that background, the Belgian Presidency presented its much-awaited “Council Conclusions on the future of EU digital policy” during a Telecommunications Council on 21 May. Lucky you, the Publyon team has taken a deep dive and summarised the EU digital policies that will shape the next five years at European level and beyond.


Implementation of EU digital policies over new legislation

A tsunami of EU legislative acts has outpoured on EU businesses and stakeholders’ shores in recent years to strengthen the Digital Single Market. During the next mandate, the Council wants to prioritise their implementation, but also to assess the impact of any new legislative initiative, in particular with a view to ensuring a balance between innovation and regulatory burden by guaranteeing a coherent regulatory framework.

The European Commission is also encouraged to carry out a mid-term analysis of the interplay of horizontal and sectoral EU legislative acts in EU digital policy.


Set up of new boards

To ensure the coordination of the national competent authorities and avoid gold plating, several EU Boards will be set up for the Digital Services Act (DSA), Digital Markets Act (DMA), Data Governance Act (DGA), Data Act, Interoperable Europe Act, and the AI Act (AIA).

In parallel, the interaction with the work carried out by other bodies with competences in digital, cyber and data matters, such as the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA), the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), will be strengthened.



In light of the growing importance of digital technologies, cyberattacks are also expected to come in crashing waves. The Council therefore emphasizes the importance to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in digital products, services and processes. Cybersecurity is also key to ensure the protection of personal data and privacy of individuals. Therefore, the need to ensure the inherent coherence between the digital and cybersecurity EU policy will remain paramount.


Artificial Intelligence

No, this text was not written by AI, but it may have been. As this technology is already strongly embedded in our daily lives. After the adoption of the landmark AI Act during the Belgian Presidency, it is time to effectively and efficiently implement and enforce this piece of legislation to foster innovation, develop and promote trustworthy AI.

In this regard, a close cooperation between the soon-to-be formed AI Office, the AI Board, the AI Scientific Panel and the advisory forum will be set in motion. In addition, the Commission will also reflect upon the future role of the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency – pushed during the current Presidency by the Belgian State Secretary for Digitalisation Mathieu Michel – and leveraging its expertise beyond the DSA.


Societal effects of digitalisation

With the further digitalisation of society comes the need to establish safeguards regarding risks and challenges such discrimination, disinformation, illegal content online, cyber violence, identity theft, security breaches, data protection issues and lack of access and user’s choice.

In this context, the Commission will continue the strict enforcement of the flagship EU digital policies such as the GDPR, DSA and DMA. It will examine the functioning of and potential gaps in the Directive on privacy and electronic communications. The Commission will also develop concrete use-cases for public and private sector services in the use of the European Digital Identity Regulation for a European Digital Identity Framework by ensuring alignment across EU legislation, while respecting its voluntary nature for the end-user.


Digital and cutting-edge technologies

During the next mandate, innovative digital technologies such as advanced semiconductors, AI, quantum technologies, 6G technology, blockchain infrastructure, digital twins and virtual worlds will actively contribute to the technological development and competitiveness of the EU on the global stage.

The promotion of dynamic ecosystems around key digital technologies supporting their deployment and uptake among EU public and private sectors, based on openness and a level-playing field, particularly for SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups in line with the SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe will be encouraged.



In view of the importance of the digital and green transition, semiconductors and microelectronics will also have a pivotal role to play. Hence, Member States will swiftly implement the European Chips Act and establish competence centres.


Quantum computing

This technology – using both hardware computers and algorithms to solve complex problems that classical computers or supercomputers can’t solve or can’t solve quickly enough – will surely be one of the EU digital policy’s cornerstones .

Both the Commission and the Member States will coordinate efforts to create synergies between research and development activities, support joint initiatives and encourage further investments in EU quantum companies from the public and private sectors. They will continue working together on the risk assessment of the three critical digital technology areas with a view to identifying common solutions that can best mitigate the risks laid out in the Commission Recommendation of 3 October 2023.


Digital infrastructure

As highlighted in the High-Level “Much more than a Market” Report of Enrico Letta of April 2024, the roll-out of 5G and the investment in 6G technology will create entirely new economic opportunities. The benefits of full 5G deployment in Europe are estimated at over €250 billion aggregated across a range of verticals and public services.

The Commission and the Member States will strengthen efforts to establish an attractive policy framework for 6G research and development as well as for 6G deployment on the basis of an appropriate 6G strategic vision.



Significant progress was achieved in the past legislature to improve the free flow of, fair access to, and use of data through the Data Act and the Data Governance Act. To leverage the full potential of the knowledge-based economy we live in, the Commission will focus on the European Data Spaces.

In addtion, the Commission will coordinate between and with Member States in order to ensure a successful implementation of the EU data legislative framework and to promote its consistency with sectorial legislative initiatives of the broader EU digital policy landscape.


Digital skills

In the years to come, the digital transformation of Europe’s economy needs to be underpinned by bridging the digital skills gap. According to Eurostat, in 2021, just over one quarter of the EU population aged 16 – 74 years reported above-basic overall digital skills. This share is even lower in rural areas.

During the next five years, the Commission will support Member States in attaining the digital skills objectives of the Digital Decade Policy Programme – of 70% of EU adults having basic digital skills by 2025. To do so, they will focus on academic and industrial partnerships, lowering barriers to attract and employ digital talent as well as recognising micro-credentials in the labour market in line with the EU Council Recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials.


Twin transition

Digital and green transitions go hand-in-hand. The development and use of digital technologies can offer opportunities to foster a competitive European circular economy. But, it also requires large amounts of resources, therefore exerting pressure on the environment and climate.

Therefore, the Council will develop evidence-based assessment methodologies for measuring the environmental footprint as well as the positive effect of digital technologies based on high-quality, comparable, reliable and standardised data.

The Commission, Member States and stakeholders will also use these methodologies to explore and harness the potential positive net environmental impact of digitalisation to assist the EU in achieving its goal of transitioning to climate neutrality by 2050 and the energy efficiency targets for 2030.


Digital government

An emphasis on the interoperability of digital public service will be a key focus of the EU digital policy during the next legislature. According to a Joint Research Centre report, full interoperability could boost EU GDP by 0.4% and would increase the number of citizens using online public services by 15%.

The Commission will continue its support for the development of interoperable public digital services and the cross-border interconnection of public administrations’ infrastructures, including cloud and edge infrastructures, to achieve their increased resilience, efficiency and sustainability, and to further reflect, together with Member States, on their technical, legal, semantic and operational barriers and on how to overcome them.


International dimension of digital policy

To strengthen the EU’s leadership in global digital affairs, the Commission and the High Representative will prepare a joint communication on the subject leveraging both technical and diplomatic expertise and building on the shared responsibilities and resources at EU and national level.


What can you do to take advantage of this big momentum in EU digital policies?

The digital and tech landscape is constantly changing, and businesses need to stay up to date with the latest trends to remain competitive. The trends mentioned above are just a few of the trends that organisations should watch during the next five years.

Publyon advises organisations to:

  • Ensure compliance with finalised legislation by exploring the way these will impact their operations. Publyon’s Policy Impact Scans provide organisations with a roadmap for navigating complex legislation and identifying EU and international policies that will significantly impact their business. This allows you to develop or modify your corporate strategy at all levels, from operations to the boardroom, with confidence and clarity.
  • Compel an EU funding strategy. Together with our partner Hezelburcht we secure your optimal grant support to realise strategic, financial and innovative ambitions.
  • Shape the EU’s future agenda. As an organisation, it is crucial to remain well-informed about the political developments coming from Brussels and hold the tools to strategically position your organisation vis-à-vis the new political landscape.
  • Develop a public affairs strategy in line with the Commission’s plans. By providing expert advice and guidance, Publyon can help you understand legislation and its potential impact. Together, we can develop and implement strategies tailored to your organisation to influence the legislative process and build relationships with key decision-makers. By staying informed about digital and technology developments in the EU, you can ensure that you are well-positioned to benefit from the opportunities that the digital transformation presents.
  • Invest in AI: AI is going to play a major role in the digital world in 2024. Businesses should invest in AI-powered marketing tools and solutions. However, businesses should consider adopting an ethical AI use approach, while also thinking about compliance with upcoming AI regulations. Also, public organisations can gain a lot from this technology. Our office in The Hague is specialised in providing master classes on ethical AI to local communities.

At Publyon we have a proven track record and extensive network that can support you in delivering on your ambition to access policymakers by providing input to the political agenda.

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