A Transatlantic Partnership for Europe’s Digital Future?

IIEA26th March 20212min
Carl Bildt argues that Europe is falling rapidly behind the US and China in the digital transition and faces a choice between digital sovereignty or a deeper transatlantic partnership.


The COVID-19 pandemic has preoccupied European leaders for over a year. Yet, as the EU seeks to position itself for a sustainable recovery, Carl Bildt has argued that there is another looming crisis that cannot be ignored: Europe, he says, stands at the cusp of a ‘digital emergency’, and is falling ‘rapidly and inexcusably’ behind China and the US in its digital transition. In his address to the IIEA, Mr Bildt argues that in determining its digital future, Europe may face a choice: either to work toward ‘digital sovereignty’ – perhaps at the expense of its relationship with other important partners – or to seek a digital partnership across the Atlantic. 

This is the third event in an IIEA project entitled Europe’s Digital Future, which is exploring the topic of ‘digital sovereignty’ in Europe. As part of this project, which is supported by Google, a year-long programme of events and research is exploring what this concept means, and what future it might herald for the EU and for small, open economies like Ireland. 

About the Speaker: 

Carl Bildt is Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, contributing columnist to Washington Post as well as a columnist for Project Syndicate. He is on the Board of Trustees of the RAND Corporation in the US. Carl Bildt served as both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden. He was Co-Chairman of the Dayton peace talks on Bosnia and was the first High Representative in the country.