Europe must go its own way into the data economy

• "Data and Platform Guidelines of the Electrical Industry" see informational self-determination as the foundation of a successful data economy

• The ‘European Strategy for Data’ is an important step towards the completion of the digital single market in the EU

"Data can create value, if they are generated and processed on the basis of a broad social consensus," says Wolfgang Weber, CEO of ZVEI. The "Guidelines of the electrical industry for the responsible use of data and platforms" create the basis for this consensus. With this, ZVEI is joining the debate on the “European Strategy for Data” and the “Strategy for Europe Fit for the Digital Age”, which will be both presented tomorrow by EU Commissioner Thierry Breton. The ZVEI guidelines are backed up with 25 concrete business use cases.

"Personal data remains particularly worthy of protection, especially in the data economy," Weber emphasizes. "At the same time, it should be possible to use anonymized data for the common good of society”. This is most obvious in the healthcare industry, where the analysis of large amounts of patient data can lead to more precise diagnoses and thus benefit the individual. 

However, data is essential for many sectors: "The emerging data and platform economy is of the utmost relevance for industrial value creation in Germany and Europe in particular," the ZVEI CEO continued. The electrical industry welcomes the aim of the EU Commission to make existing data more usable for innovations and new business models. This must be based on trust in digital ecosystems and the self-determination of the data generator. The ZVEI therefore opposes the monopolization of data, but advocates that the use of machine-related data should be organized on a contractual basis. "We are convinced that fair agreements among the involved partners best suit our strongly medium-sized economic structure, which remains irreplaceable for the digital world as well". 

In international competition, Europe must go its own way. Neither the largely unregulated data evaluation in the USA nor the use of data for state surveillance in China could be a model for Europe. "It is good that Europe is pursuing its own path into the platform economy, which is also attractive to others," Weber explains. It is important that companies of all sizes - start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises and corporate groups - can participate in platforms without discrimination, the migration capability of data to other platforms is ensured. The ZVEI sees the “European Strategy for Data” and the “Strategy for Europe Fit for the Digital Age”, as important steps towards completing the digital single market and securing Europe’s technological sovereignty.