ACM-Europe Policy News

February 2017


In February, an EUACM delegation (Chris Hankin, Maarja Meitern, Fabrizio Gagliardi) attended the Commission SAM's Cybersecurity Stakeholders' Meeting. EUACM has been cooperating with the Scientific Advice Mechanism of the Commission in the field of cybersecurity since early last year. In addition to our recommendations set out in the Cybersecurity White Paper, the meeting allowed EUACM to underline again the complex nature of the cybersecurity domain and further stress that the Commission and the EU member states should maintain a considerable line of investment in fundamental Computer Science. Since this is the essential foundation of all computing technology underpinning a trustworthy cybersociety. Additionally, EUACM has been actively participating in various Science|Business working group meetings on the definition of the next framework programme FP9. Furthermore, in early March EUACM had its first face-to-face meeting. The result of the meeting will be reported in the next newsletter.


Privacy and Security

SAM's Cybersecurity in the European Digital Single Market

On 13 February the Scientific Advice Mechanism High level group hosted a meeting with cybersecurity stakeholders in order to present its provisional recommendations. The final report is to be published in March. Overall, from previous workshop and expert advice, the HLG has observed that the cybersecurity field is still immature and there is a lack of experimental evidence. In their discussions, they found consensus on a number of critical issues, but not in all. After months of work, the HLG is proposing nine key issues, which should be underlined in the final report. At the meeting, the stakeholders had an opportunity to express their comments on the key issues mentioned. The stakeholders meeting involved mainly representatives from consumer and civil society organizations, as well as business.


BREXIT impact on UK's Science and Innovation

On February, the UK Government published a Brexit White Paper where one of the points underlined was the UK's desire to remain the best place for science and innovation. The UK government is confirming its promise to increase investments into science and innovation with a worth of an extra Ā£2 billion a year by 2020/21. In addition, they stated that this money will be mainly directed at supporting "priority technologies, such as robotics and biotechnology, where the UK has the potential to turn their strengths in research into a global industrial and commercial lead." Furthermore, the White Paper underlined that UK's research institutions should continue to bid for H2020 research funding as long as the country remains a member of the European Union. The government has promised to "underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK's departure from the EU".

European Parliament report on Civil Law rules on Robotics

The European Members of Parliament voted on 16 February in favor of a report about Civil Law rules on Robotics. The report was not approved in its entirety, for example, the MEPs removed a tax on robots and did not approve to guarantee a basic income for workers who lose their jobs due to robotics. Among many principles, the report stressed that "a clear, strict and efficient guiding ethical framework for the development, design, production, use and modification of robots is needed to complement the existing national and Union acquis", which should include developing a code of conduct for robotics engineers. In the report, MEPs are also calling on the European Commission for further actions. For example, MEPs would like the EC to look into possible legal solutions and create "a specific legal status for robots in the long run, so that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons responsible for making good any damage they may cause". These kinds of reports are an important part of EP work as they often pave the way for new legislative proposals.


Member States Digital Index from 2016

On 25 February the European Commission published results of the Digital Economy and Society Index from 2016. The index summarizes relevant "indicators on Europe's digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness". The results show that there has been improvement in Europeans' digital skills level, especially in the number of graduates with specialization in science, technology and mathematics. Nevertheless, still almost 50% of European citizens lack the basic digital skills, such as using a mailbox or editing tools. The countries that according to the index are falling behind in the digital evolution are "Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, France, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia."


Vice-President Ansip looking for digital partnership in Nigeria

On the first week of February Vice-President Ansip was visiting Nigeria in order to "identify areas of cooperation and investments and build bridges between EU and African digital entrepreneurs". Ansip had several meetings with the representatives of the government of Nigeria connected to the digital agenda of Nigeria and with a number of CEOs and representative of the public sector. Ansip wrote in his blog that "there should be a digital element in every development project". He would like to see digital to be a topic at the next EU-Africa Summit. The aim of Ansip is to give access to broadband, promote digital skills and literacy and boost cross-sector digital services like e-government, e-health and e-agriculture.


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The ACM Europe Policy Committee (EUACM) is a standing committee of ACM Europe Council dedicated to engage with the European Commission and member states' governmental bodies and informatics and computer science communities. The aim is to become a source of expert advice on computer science and informatics matters representing the entire computer science professional community.

EUACM distributes monthly newsletters to keep our members informed of policy issues and developments in Europe, as well as past and future EUACM meetings and activities.

We are always looking for readers' feedback. Please let us know your comments and requests. Please send your feedback to Maarja Meitern at