Second trilateral meeting to relaunch industrial cooperation in strategic sectors for the European Union
At the invitation of the Italian Minister of Enterprises and "Made in Italy", Adolfo Urso, the German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, and the French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, Bruno Le Maire, met today in Rome together with industry representatives from the three countries.
Today’s meeting was the second in such configuration, with the aim to give new impetus to our industrial co-operation in areas of strategic nature for the European Union and beyond. To this end, an extensive exchange of views took place on Artificial Intelligence (AI), as part of the overall efforts towards the digital and green transition.
Minister Adolfo Urso said: "We have conveyed a meaningful message to the EU and our European partners on the path that we need to walk together to navigate at best the current technological and scientific shift. We have approached AI and the new technological frontiers with a shared vision. We will promote a discussion on these same topics at G7 level during the Italian Presidency in 2024. In parallel we are also working at national level on a new set of provisions. We have entered a new technological revolution, and we need to tackle it with new ideas, new approaches and new tools. Today’s format, which was established in Berlin to discuss critical raw materials, has proven to be a winning formula also here in Rome. The policymaking on AI is a priority for us and for EU in its entirety. We need to work together on it at EU level, hand-in-hand with industry.”
Minister Robert Habeck said: “AI is a key technology for the future. Europe's future competitiveness depends crucially on whether we succeed in developing AI in Europe in the future and applying it across the economy. Ensuring that Europe is well positioned to do this must be a priority of Germany’s and Europe’s economic policy. That is why it was important for me to exchange views on this with my Italian and French colleagues today. This was particularly important vis-à-vis the AI Act which is currently negotiated in Brussels. I am closely aligned with my Italian and French colleague that we need an innovation-friendly regulation on AI, including general purpose AI. An important issue of the AI Act and its risk-based approach is that rules are established where specific risks arise in application.”
Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “Given the numerous applications of AI, its rapid expansion and the tremendous potential it holds for our economies, Europe needs to rise to the challenge. With top-tier research and universities, world class computing infrastructures and talented entrepreneurs, we have enough strengths to succeed in this technological revolution. I am happy that we, French, German and Italian Ministers, today develop a strategic vision for AI, discussing common projects and further investments across Europe, while ensuring that the risks are mitigated through the upcoming European legislation on AI.”
By acknowledging the enormous transformative power of AI, the EU should place it at the core of its industrial policy. This strategic technology will have important ramifications for our industrial strength, productivity and competitiveness. The EU’s competitive edge at the global level will depend on our ability to leverage the latest advancements in AI and on their efficient implementation.
This novel collaboration between our three countries strives to effectively support both demand and supply amidst/against the background of the current/evolving geopolitical scenario. In paving the way tor the emergence of a globally competitive European AI industry, we are called to explore new opportunities and launch new initiatives, whilst maximising the benefit from /leveraging on existing instruments.
To this end, the three Ministers have agreed on the need to reduce administrative burdens and simplify procedures for multi-country projects. This will help ensure that European startups can participate in eventual future projects dedicated to the digital and green transition. Equally, they support the formation of a strong European venture capital ecosystem, to enable innovative firms to receive the much needed financing to further step-up their growth.
Co-operation between our three countries should also strive to fully harness the potential of Competence Centers, European Digital Innovation Hubs, and European Digital Infrastructure Consortia (EDIC), committing to develop a knowledge and innovation network without borders. In this regard, the three Ministers have welcomed and supported the ongoing pan-European efforts to create an AI-dedicated consortium in Europe in order to develop language technologies and foundation models through facilitated access to computing capacities, data spaces, advanced skills and testing facilities.
Such a strengthened cooperation in AI is conducive to possible future EU legislative initiatives, and in the meantime warrants for the political determination of Germany, France and Italy to work together, to adopt and implement concrete policies and measures, for instance in support of start-ups and SMEs through digital innovation and AI.
The three ministers welcomed the progresses made at EU level to adopt the World’s first regulation on AI systems. They reiterated their commitment for an innovation-friendly and risk-based approach, reducing unnecessary administrative burdens on Companies that would hinder Europe’s ability to innovate.
Against this backdrop, the Ministers underlined that it is paramount to ensure that legislation in the EU is designed without unnecessary bureaucracy and that existing red tape is being cut. And that it is necessary to drastically reform, simplify and fast-track administrative procedures to authorise investment projects in the EU and to create a simple and predictable regulatory environment, particularly for SMEs.
In addition, they have recognized the strategic importance of data protection in the European data economy and have committed to a free and secure flow, access and use of data within the European Union. The three ministers have exchanged on the adoption of a trusted, comprehensive, robust and transparent cybersecurity certification scheme for cloud services providers and have called for the effective protection of sensitive data in Europe, including, for the most sensitive data, against extraterritorial legislations.
During the meeting, the Ministers also took stock of the progress made within the trilateral working group on critical raw materials, which was kick-started in Berlin in June They took note with satisfaction of the fruitful and agile coordination, which was established within the framework of the ongoing EU negotiations and in the international fora where the topic is been dealt with, including the Mineral Security Partnership. The ministers reaffirmed their determination to explore possible cooperation on investments, stress tests, stockpiles and joint purchasing once the Critical Raw Materials Regulation will enter into force, and on the financing tools to be mobilized for projects of common interest.
The collaboration among Italy, Germany and France is instrumental to bolstering Europe’s role at the global level, ensuring security, strategic sovereignty, resilience and technological leadership.