“We are very pleased that Switzerland – one of our long-time partners in high-performance computing – is joining the European effort to develop supercomputers in Europe. This will enhance Europe’s leadership in science and innovation, help grow the economy and build our industrial competitiveness.” Said Vice-President Andrus Ansip, in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, welcomed this new commitment.
Switzerland is the 11th country to sign the EuroHPC declaration on high-performance computing (HPC) that aims at developing a world-class supercomputing infrastructure based on European technology. An integrated world-class high-performance computing infrastructure capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers) will additionally benefit the daily lives of European citizens: for example, from personalised medicine to safer transport systems or increased online fraud detection. Additionally to the signature ceremony, Commission published today the first results of the public consultation on high-performance computing. The respondents identified three main problems as harming the HPC development in Europe: limited interaction between industry and academia, deep fragmentation of HPC programmes and Europe’s dependency on non-EU suppliers for critical technologies and systems. The lack of sufficient resources and insufficient access to HPC resources for science were also flagged during the consultation. A clear majority of respondents confirmed the need for action at EU level. The results of the consultation will help the Commission to define a new legal and financial instrument by the end of 2017, building on the EuroHPC declaration and goals. The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched and signed in Rome in March 2017 during the Digital Day by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Belgium signed the declaration in June 2017, Slovenia in July 2017, and Bulgaria last week. All other Member States are invited to join in the future.
“I am very pleased to welcome Bulgaria in this bold European initiative. High-performance computing is pervasive in our daily lives: from personalised medicine to weather forecast, cybersecurity and to cars and planes simulation and design. Access to HPC resources is essential for public and private users. As no Member State has the capacity to develop such computing power quickly and on their own, strong cooperation and support at European level is a must.” Said Commissioner Gabriel in charge of Digital economy and society.
Bulgaria became today the tenth Member State to sign the EuroHPC declaration on high-performance computing (HPC). The initiative aims at joining efforts to make world-class HPC infrastructure available across the EU. Bulgarian Minister for Education and Science, Krasimir Valchev signed the declaration this morning in Sofia, Bulgaria. The EuroHPC declaration was originally launched and signed in Rome in March 2017 during the Digital Day by France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Belgium signed the declaration in June 2017 and Slovenia in July 2017. Other Member States are expected to join soon, as the top HPC infrastructure has the potential to significantly upraise industry competitiveness and EU’s innovation capacity. Switzerland has also promised to join the European common effort to deploy world-class high-performance computing infrastructure capable of at least 1018 calculations per second (so-called exascale computers).
“The WiFi4EU scheme will make high-quality internet more accessible for many citizens and gives local municipalities, libraries and other public bodies the opportunity to promote their digital services. It could even trigger a virtuous investment cycle.” Said Urve Palo, Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of Estonia.
The EU will sponsor free wireless internet access points in town halls, libraries, parks and other public places under a new scheme called WiFi4EU, which was adopted by the Council. An easily recognisable multilingual WiFi4EU portal will provide access to a secure high-speed connection in at least 6 000 local communities across the EU by 2020. An informal agreement on the scheme was reached with the European Parliament in May this year.
Under the scheme, municipalities, hospitals and other public sector bodies will be able to apply for funding for the installation of new Wi-Fi access points where there is no similar existing private or public internet connection that would be duplicated by the new hotspot. The public body must also commit to maintaining the new connection for at least three years. The procedure to apply will be simple – there will be a dedicated online platform managed by the Commission – and support from the EU will cover up to 100% of the eligible costs.
Total EU funding for the scheme could reach €120 million by 2019. It will be allocated in a geographically balanced manner across all EU countries and, in principle, on a first-come, first-served basis. The exact selection criteria will be laid down by the Commission, which will also manage the scheme.
The first call for projects is expected to be launched towards the end of the year or in early 2018.
“The agreement signed today with IP Only under the Juncker Plan is good news for Sweden just days after the first EU summit dedicated to Europe’s common digital project. Europe needs fast internet to reap the benefits of the digital single market. This is true for citizens and companies alike, in all corners of Europe: rural or urban.” Said Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending €125 million to Swedish broadband provider IP-Only to support the expansion of its fibre network in cities and rural areas in Sweden. This deal will give high-speed internet access to over 400,000 homes by 2020. And as Cyber Security Month kicks off, the EIB has also signed a €20 million financing agreement with CS Group in France under the Investment Plan. The company will use the financing to develop their research, development and innovation into cyber security systems.
“Cybersecurity is the basis for the digital world; it is our shared responsibility, of everybody, every day. I welcome these joint efforts to promote awareness and concrete actions for cybersecurity and cyberhygiene across Europe.” Said Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip.
The 5th edition of the European Cybersecurity Month, taking place during the entire month of October 2017 across Europe, aims at raising awareness of cybersecurity threats and promoting cybersecurity among citizens and organisations through education and sharing of good practices. This year’s campaign follows up on Commission’s proposals to scale up EU’s response to cyber-attacks and will carry further the message that cyber-hygiene needs to be embedded in our daily practices. The annual awareness campaign is organised by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the European Commission and over 300 partners, including local authorities, governments, universities, think tanks, NGOs and professional associations. Around 300 activities will take place in October throughout Europe. During this month, in order to tackle the need of smarter authentication ways, the European Commission has launched a new Horizon prize: “Seamless authentication for all”. €4 million are available to the innovators who contribute to inventing secure, privacy-friendly and affordable authentication methods for everyone and their smart objects. You can find out more about what is happening in your country during the Cybersecurity Month by checking the interactive map. Tips and advice in 23 languages, videos, online quizzes and awareness raising material are available on the dedicated website.
Remarks by President Donald Tusk
“We held this summit because Europe must use the opportunities created by huge advances, in everything from robotics to artificial intelligence. We need to actively shape our future and manage the risks posed by the digital revolution to our societies and democracies. That is why the leaders focused on how the EU could successfully navigate the opportunities, as well as the risks. We will now work together with Prime Minister Ratas to prepare the conclusions for the October European Council, based on our discussions.
Now, let me make a comment on the last night’s dinner. As you know, the leaders had an informal debate on the situation of Europe and on our future work in the European Council. I was mandated to translate this good debate and the visionary speeches we have heard recently, into a concrete work programme. Therefore, I have already started bilateral consultations. In addition to my meeting with Prime Minister Ratas, today I also met the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia and the Chancellor of Germany. And during the next two weeks I will consult all Member States.
Based on those consultations, I will present a very concrete working plan with a number of decisions that need to be taken by the leaders in the next year. Something I could call the “Leaders Agenda 2017/18”. This means further development and enrichment of the programme that I have presented in my Tallinn letter. It will include, inter alia, the launch of the permanent defence cooperation by the end of 2017, a Euro Summit in December to further deepen the Economic and Monetary Union, with a special focus on the completion of the Banking Union, or a Western Balkans’ Summit during the Bulgarian presidency in the EU.
Our guiding principles are clear and I hope will not change. First and foremost, I will do everything in my power to keep the unity of the EU. Secondly, I will concentrate on finding real solutions to real problems of our citizens, who are concerned about security, migration or unemployment. And finally, we will all make sure that Europe is making progress.”
Remarks by Jean-Claude Juncker
“We are providing a sound EU answer to the challenge of illegal content online. Our guidance includes safeguards to avoid over-removal, ensure transparency and the protection of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech.” Said Andrus Ansip Vice-President for Digital Single Market .
The Commission is presenting a guidelines and principles for online platforms to step up more proactive prevention, detection and removal of illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online, as announced by President Juncker in his Letter of Intent accompanying his State of the Union speechof 13 September. The increasing availability and spreading of terrorist material and content that incites to violence and hatred online is not only a serious threat to the security and safety of EU citizens, it also undermines citizens’ trust and confidence in the digital environment – a key engine of innovation, growth and jobs.Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:”The rule of law applies online just as much as offline. We cannot accept a digital Wild West, and we must act”. Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union, said: “The digital world offers unprecedented opportunities but, in the wrong hands, poses a serious threat to our security. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Today we provide a clear signal to platforms to act more responsibly. This is key for citizens and the development of platforms.” The new guidance issued today calls on online platforms to further boost their efforts to prevent the spread of illegal content. Given their increasingly important role in providing access to information, the Commission expects online platforms to take swift action over the coming months, in particular in the area of terrorism and illegal hate speech – which is already illegal under EU law, both online and offline.