IGF 2022 Open Forum #71 From regional to global: EU approach to digital transformation

Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (12:05 UTC) - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 (13:35 UTC)

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min


The Declaration of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations acknowledges that “[D]igital technologies have profoundly transformed society. They offer unprecedented opportunities and new challenges.” However, “[W]hen improperly or maliciously used, they can fuel divisions within and between countries, increase insecurity, undermine human rights and exacerbate inequality.” Concerns over the side effects of digitalization, and its improper use for criminal activities, are growing in all societies. The UN Secretary-General’s Report “Our Common Agenda” called for a multi-stakeholder digital technology track to be at the base of a Global Digital Compact, meant to “outline shared principles for an open, free and secure digital future for all” and which is to be prepared ahead of the Summit of the Future. Like all major global players, in the past years the European Union has been discussing and designing its approach to the digital transformation, culminating in the Digital Strategy, the Digital Decade Communication and the Declaration on the Digital Principles and Rights. The overall vision of a human-centric approach to digitalisation is underpinned by specific EU policies and legislative measures regulating different aspects of the digital space, with the intent to mitigate the risk and enhance economic opportunities for all. Some cornerstone regulatory initiatives include: The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), enter into force on 1 November 2022, and 16 November 2022, respectively. These two acts - forming the Digital Services Act package - aim to create a safer and more open digital space, protect European citizens from illegal and harmful content and conduct online, create a level-playing business environment, and ensure the contestability of gatekeeper platforms. The Data Act, adopted by the European Commission in February, is a key pillar of the European Data Strategy. The proposal’s goal is to provide a clear legal framework for both companies and consumers on who can use the data generated by Internet of Things devices. By developing data interoperability and data sharing model clauses, the Data Act aims to protect SMEs from stronger market players’ abuses of contractual imbalances and allow consumers to switch between data-processing providers. Finally, the Artificial Intelligence Act, the first ever legal framework on AI, defines human-centred global norms to ensure a trust-based approach to Artificial Intelligence technologies, without hampering innovation and economic development. The above proposals express the EU vision of rights and principles to be safeguarded online and contribute to the three main objectives of technology that works for people, a fair and competitive economy, and an open, democratic and sustainable society. At the international level, the EU contributed to the Declaration for the Future of the Internet, with over 60 partner countries already signed up. A helpful parallel could be drawn between the Declaration and the Global Digital Compact. This Open Session will explore how and to what extent these regulations link with and contribute to safeguarding the future of our open, global and interoperable Internet, how they relate to the Global Digital Compact, and what is their expected influence across the world. More specifically the Open Session – which will give the IGF community the opportunity to discuss these policies with key EU policymakers and stakeholders from different parts of the world - will seek to respond to the following policy questions (non-exhaustive): - What is the relation between key recent EU Digital initiatives and the Global Digital Compact? - How this legislation contributes to the objective of safeguarding the future of our Internet? - Are these EU Digital laws likely to set an example for other countries? - Will these EU Digital laws have practical implications also for non-EU citizens and businesses? - What will be the effects of these proposals for citizens’ rights across the world? - What will be the effect of these proposals for digital business across the world?


The EC session will be moderated by Professor Anu Bradford, Professor at Columbia Law School and author of the “Brussels Effect”. The session will focus on the DSA/DMA, the Data Act and AI Act, and the their underlying digital principles.  The session will also look into these initiatives' link with global internet governance. The session will also draw a parallel with the Declaration of the Future of Internet and the Declaration on the Digital Principles and Rights, to explore even further the linkage between the European approach to digital and the UN Global Digital Compact. 

We expect some of the speakers to be present on site, while others to participate online, therefore the organizer will construct the session to be fully hybrid. The EC has long-standing experience in organising online, on-site and hybrid meetings. The session will be designed to allow both online and on site attendees to actively participate to the discussion. The sessions will be organised in a way that allows interventions both online (chat and Q&A pods) and on-site. The onsite/online moderator will be tasked to keep track of questions/comments on the chat and address them during the open floor discussion. The answers would be provided to the full (online and onsite) audience attending the session. Equal importance would be given to online and onsite participation/questions. The floor would be given in chronological order irrespective of whether requested by an online or onsite participant; this will not put online participants at disadvantage. The organizers will consider the use of online pools or other interactive tools to involve the audience (both online and on site). We would like to request 30 additional minutes to fully deploy and take advantage of these interactive tools, which will help interaction between both the audience (on site and online) and the speakers. Further argumentation for the time extension request is provided in the session description.


European Commission 



o Ms Veronika Chvála Vinklárková, Chair of the Council Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society, Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU

Ms Maiko Meguro, Director for International Digital Strategy and International Affairs | Commerce and Information Policy Bureau | Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI)

o Mr. Axel VOSS – European Parliament, Shadow rapporteur Artifical Intelligence Act

Mr Pearse O'Donohoue, Director, Future Networks/ DG CONNECT, European Commission

o   Mr Prabhat AGARWAL – European Commission, Head of Unit Platforms and eCommerce, in charge of the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Acts

Mr Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi – Chief, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, UNESCO

o Mr Marc Rotenberg, President Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law

Ms Anu Bradford, Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization, Director, The European Legal Studies Center, Columbia Law School

Onsite Moderator

Professor Anu Bradford, leading scholar on EU regulatory power; author of "The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World" (2020)

Online Moderator

European Commission - Velimira Nemiguentcheva


Velimira Nemiguentcheva



Targets: 8.2: EU legislative proposals have the common goal to create a safer and fairer environment for the deployment of digital technologies across markets and economic sectors. Technical innovation is an indispensable element for economic growth; however, policies and regulations are necessary to ensure the respect of both consumers and worker’s rights. 9.b: The sharing of know-how and good practices on digital regulation is essential to guide sustainable innovation and digital transformation around the world. 10.3 Among the safeguards implemented by the EU legislations there is the protection from big digital companies’ market overpower. The intent is to ensure equal opportunities for SMEs to benefit from digital market. The same protection can be implemented by developing countries to ensure level playing field within their markets. 17.6 The goal of the session is to understand the possible linkages between regions and sectors on digital regulations. The discussion will help to highlight opportunities for knowledge-sharing and digital cooperation, in line with the UN Global digital Compact purpose.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

When regulating digital platforms, a whole society approach is needed. The public needs to be fully informed about the regulatory process and the governments must put the citizens in charge of safeguarding transparency.

There is no single policy, no single legislation or no single actor to secure an open, free and secure digital future for all, but the prerequisite for any massive transformation, like the digital transformation, is the structured dialogue among all stakeholders based on shared principles.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

1. Ensure regulation work in practice - aim for effective implementation and clear guidance. 2. Digital developments require agile governance. Massive digital transformation needs structured dialogue and shared principles. 3. Policymakers should ensure public information and transparency.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

The EU is impacting global regulatory trends in the digital sphere. EU regulations are shaping the global marketplace and influencing governments in their policymaking decisions, and to a great extend setting the regulatory standard for global companies.. Most regulations are applicable also to non-EU companies operating in the EU and hence have immediate effect. This is a huge opportunity but also a huge responsibility for the EU to put in place and effectively implement its regulation for real market outcomes. The objective is and should remain the safeguard of a free, open and interoperable Internet ensuring human centric digital transformation serving citizens and society. The EU value-based approach is challenged in the current geopolitical landscape of tech war and digital authoritarianism.

The DSA Package is about greater responsibility (DSA) and market contestability (DMA). It aims at addressing a global problem and represents a global opportunity. DSA Package’s implementation within the EU will have a global effect due to the experiencing and building up of auditing and enforcement capabilities. In jurisdictions where the Package is not applicable, it would however set a threshold for elementary safety provisions since jurisdictions would not accept lower standards than those set e.g., in the DSA. The DSA should allow the balancing between content takedown and safeguard of freedom of expression (freedom to speak, seek and receive information). When regulating digital platforms, a whole society approach is needed.

To create a safer and more open digital space, protect European citizens from illegal and harmful content and conduct online, create a level-playing business environment it is essential that key elements of the ecosystem are put in place before or together with regulation (free space for the journalists, independent auditors, effective system of notifiers, among the others). This may ensure the accountability of gatekeeper platforms. The approach may depend on the country or the society. The overall vision of a human-centric approach to digitalization may result in an articulated complex regulation, like in EU, with many members states of different societies or like in Japan with a very homogenic society, in more agile and a multistakeholder governance approach.

The Data Act will impact IoT products’ design, which will have spill-over effects also on non-EU markets. It is also about ensuring interoperable and well-functioning cloud market. Fundamental values should be attached to data flows which affect privacy, national security, and intellectual property. It is important to build the interoperability among the various approaches to data governance across jurisdictions. This is one aspect into which looks the Data Free Flow Trust initiative.

EU’s aim is to have a trustworthy and human-centric AI to avoid algorithms’ possible harmful effects. AI policies depend also on a given country’s democracy values. While other parts of the world may have different approaches to regulation, the effect and interest in framing digital developments has been increasingly recognised by governments world-wide. AI raises questions on innovation and regulation, and the approach to these two may be altered by a possible Beijing effect.

There is no single policy, no single legislation or no single actor to secure an open, free and secure digital future for all, but the prerequisite for any massive transformation, like the digital transformation, is the structured dialogue among all stakeholders based on shared principles. One lesson learned from the several EU regulatory processes (Artificial Intelligence, Data Act, Digital Services Act) is that even if the legislation process in EU might be the most transparent in the world, it is still complex for the citizen to navigate the extensive information material. There is a need to secure not only the participation of the citizen in designing the regulation but also the public supervision of the whole process. The outcome of the legislative process is as important as its quality. For DSA/DMA to secure the maximum level of transparency the idea was to inject the transparency in every aspect of the regulation, as for content moderation, journalism, audit or trusted flaggers and to introduce the cardinal principle that there is no general monitoring.