Today Italy is taking over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union for its 12th time – between 1959 and today Italy has already held 11 presidencies. Although the Presidency’s work programme is currently being finalised by the Italian Government, we already can intuit which will be their most likely major priorities in the telecommunications sector.
The Italian Presidency will focus its work on the legislative proposals related to:
- The “connected continent package” (TSM): the annual report on Italy’s participation in EU matters for 2014 explains that Italy assigns the highest priority to overcoming the fragmentation of the European digital market and describes the Commission’s Connected Continent Package as a timely and concrete step in this direction. This strategy is fully consistent with the Italian prime minister brief comment on their priorities for the next six months: Italy will push for a "United States of Europe" to show "that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to solve the problems of our time"
- The regulation on the electronic identification and signature legislative (eIDAS): Italy welcomes the recent adoption of the regulation on the eIDAS as an essential element to the completing of the digital single market. A further step forward could be represented by a Member State initiative for the realization of a single digital European identity of the European citizens reinforcing the concept of European citizenship, aiming at the development of pan European services and the digital interaction between citizens, industries and public administrations.
- The directive related to the “high common level of network and information security across the Union” (NIS).
- The directive dealing with the “accessibility and usability of web”.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Italy expects the Council to reach a common position on the GDPR by the end of 2014. Italy wants to have at least the most important building blocks ready by the end of its Presidency:
- Issues regarding profiling, pseudonymous data and relationship between controller and processor;
- International data flows;
- One-Stop-Shop mechanism;
- Issue of Sanction, which has basically never been tackled before.
Last but not least, other political initiatives that Italy intends to raise during its presidency include:
- A boost of the diffusion of ultra-broad band networks via the adoption of pan European common initiatives supporting the public and private demand;
- The role of Europe on internet governance issues;
- Open data, cloud and big data for Europe competitiveness and for public sector efficiency;
- The highlight of the importance of the technologies for connectivity, including the space ones.
Should you want to dive further into the upcoming Italian presidency, there are some public papers, such as Priorities and Challenges of the 2014 Italian EU Presidency by Instituto Affari Internazionali and A preliminary outlook on Italy’s EU Presidency priorities by MHP Brussels, analyzing what the potential priorities of the Italian presidency could or should be.
Italy has already launched the official website for their half year presidency of the EU Council: stay tuned for the Italian programme and priorities.