• 17 September 2015

    Public Program | Berlin Seminar: “Advancing the transatlantic digital agenda“

    On September 17, the Aspen Institute hosted a taskforce organized by the Atlantic Council to discuss how to „Advance the Transatlantic Digital Agenda“. The group’s fact-finding trip began a few days earlier in Brussels, where they met with EU decision-makers to learn about their perspectives on the issue. The taskforce, consisting of EU and U.S. experts on the digital economy, then traveled to Berlin to meet with experts representing government, private sector and the vibrant Berlin start-up scene.
    The overall objective of their mission is to gather insights about the different perspectives and compose a comprehensive report - to be released in D.C., as well as Brussels, at the end of this year - that proposes recommendations and suggest the next steps on this important issue.
    The opening workshop was led by Dr. Frances Burwell, the Project Director of the Task Force on Advancing the Transatlantic Digital Agenda at the Atlantic Council, who emphasized that the purpose of this trip is to collect information and invited for an open and honest dialog.
    Issues debated were 1) the role that digitalization plays in today’s economy and its importance to economic growth and innovation; 2) the level of trust towards governments as well as the way the different societies deal with the unavoidable disruption that digitalization is bringing about, influence the privacy debate – while the importance of privacy dominates the more risk-averse European side, the U.S. side puts innovation and growth first; 3) the practicality of a transatlantic digital marketplace. Questions like: how flexible are our economies and to what degree is regulatory intervention sensible or even desirable were posed.
    In the end, the discussion returned to the core question and participants deliberated on how to create and further build trust and consensus, as regulation alone will most likely not succeed.