#AFS

Allied For Startups welcomes the debate on the new Digital Strategy from the European Commission  

February 19, 2020

[Brussels, 19 February 2020] Allied for Startups welcomes that the European Commission is starting the debate on a comprehensive approach to digital policy with the release of a European digital strategy, a European strategy on data and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Whitepaper.

Digital Strategy

After the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Digital Strategy provides the opportunity to make startups and innovation the central puzzle piece of Europe’s ambitions to become a digital powerhouse,“ Allied for Startups EU Policy Director Benedikt Blomeyer said. 

With over 7,000 platform startups in Europe, the Digital Services Act has the potential to be a key legislation of the Digital Strategy that harmonises the European digital economy. At the same time it will be just as important to recognise what has worked well, including how the intermediary liability exemption enables countless startups to scale-up in Europe. “We’re looking forward to bringing startup entrepreneurs to the Commission and Parliament to showcase how they contribute to and gain from the platform economy”, Blomeyer said.

AI Whitepaper 

Any principle-based legislation on AI should be clear and actionable for startups, as they inherently have limited resources to interpret laws.” Blomeyer said. 

Blomeyer noted that the process of legislating to spark European AI has potential: “Startups are at the center of making Europe “the most attractive, the most secure and the and most dynamic data hub in the world”. A harmonised European approach could pave the way for easier scale-up and AI deployment across Europe.” A key component of this is ensuring there is not a large chasm between high-risk and low-risk applications and how these will be assessed. “A very broad definition of high-risk AI applications coupled with stringent ex-ante conformity assessments and disproportionate liability requirements will crowd out innovation from the bottom, so only large companies can survive.” Blomeyer added. 

Data Strategy

The human-centric approach to the European strategy on data is the ideal foundation to put startups at the centre of this legislation, as startup entrepreneurs always put their users first. Blomeyer commented: “Access to data is one of many issues startups could use support with, which is an why evidence-based approach is vital to find out if and where data is lacking and where systemic failures lie.” He added: “Putting startups at the centre of the European Commission’s strategies for innovation and growth would lead to smarter laws that will be easier to implement in ecosystems across Europe.

Going forward, Allied for Startups will continue to raise the voice of Europe’s entrepreneurs and trail blazers. If policy makers and entrepreneurs have a dialogue it unleashes innovation and avoids policies that miss the point.

Allied for Startups is a worldwide network of over 40 advocacy organisations focused on improving the policy environment for startups. Our mission is to ensure that the voices of startups are heard in government. For more information on Allied for Startups including a full list of our network, visit the website at www.alliedforstartups.org

contact: ines@alliedforstartups.org