Industry is calling for lower barriers to digital innovation

Industry representatives call for lower barriers to digital innovations and transatlantic cooperation.

During the meeting of ministerial delegations of the D9+ countries organised by the Czech Republic, the first ever joint meeting also took place with representatives of key business associations from the D9+ countries. This meeting of digitally advanced EU countries took place just three months before the upcoming presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the EU. The Confederation of Industry worked closely with the Office of the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to organise this joint meeting.

Last year key business and industry associations from the D9+ countries formed an informal coalition to mirror and support the activities of this group at the governmental level. The main goal of this business coalition (B9+) is to further strengthen the voice of the D9+ countries in EU policy making. To support this goal, the business coalition presented during the meeting in Prague a Joint Statement offering experience and recommendations to the digital agenda as a contribution to the D9+ ministerial discussions.


“We believe the D9+ has a great potential to become a driver of the liberal and pro-trade digital transformation of the EU that would make the EU stronger, safer, more resilient, more competitive and innovative. We would like to see the D9+ coalition speak with one voice, for example, in European Council meetings or sectoral council meetings. We are convinced that our historically first joint meeting and the practical recommendations offered by the business in our Joint Statement can contribute to this,” explained Dagmar Kuchtova, Director General of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic, a host of this week’s joint discussions.


The Joint Statement offers several practical recommendations based on shared experience of the B9+. The main focus is on lowering barriers for digital innovations, and critical aspects of cooperation with the US, including full support for the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) announced last June.

“The war in Europe shows us the importance of cooperation with our closest allies like the US or the UK and Canada, who share the same values, to address our common current and future challenges. In this context, we would encourage more D9+ Member States to press for resolution of EU-US regulatory fragmentation on data flows, digital policies, and cybersecurity. We are pleased with the agreement in principle on a new framework for transatlantic data flows announced by the EU and US last Friday. We see it as an important step in the right direction and will analyze it once details are available. We also believe that D9+ should make an effective counterweight to protectionist tendencies that can be detected in some EU level discussions,” highlights Milena Jaburkova, vicepresident of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic.


The meetings in Prague were attended, in addition to the representatives of the B9+ associations from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden (SPCR, Lewiatan, VNO-NCW, Confederation of Finnish Industries, DI and SN), by the following high-level participants:

  • Ivan Bartoš, Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalization, Czech Republic,
  • Petr Očko, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Czech Republic,
  • Jennifer Bachus, Acting Ambassador at Large-Designate for Cyber and Digital Policy, U.S. Embassy in Prague,
  • Roberto Viola, Director General, DG Connect, European Commission,
  • Anne-Catherine Ries, First Government Advisor to the Prime Minister and Minister for Communications and Media, Luxembourg,
  • Robert Troy, Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Ireland,
  • Krister Nilsson, State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden.

“As key industry representatives in the D9+ countries, we support the shared ambitions of trusted digital innovation and digital openness. The shape of Europe’s digital future matters. We welcome and encourage the ongoing joint efforts by our national government Ministers, as the D9+, to proactively promote and enable trusted digital innovation and openness both at home, across the EU and with like-minded partners, strengthening our collective economic recovery, resilience, and well-being,” further explained Dagmar Kuchtova at the joint meeting on Tuesday.

The Joint Statement presented by the B9+ coalition, which is an integral part of the European business confederation BusinessEurope, is available here.

About D9+ countries

D9+ is a ministerial group of digitally advanced EU countries that aims to promote the implementation and use of digitalisation and the sharing of its best practices. The group includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Estonia.
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