Following the publication of the EU Data Act in February 2022, Dr2 Consultants hosted a Breakfast Webinar on May 5 to discuss the impact of the Data Act on European competition and sustainability goals. The event was moderated by Cathy Kremer, Senior Consultant at Dr2 Consultants.
Mr. Paolo Falcioni, Director-General of APPLiA, representing the home appliance sector in Europe, and Mr. Radu Surdeanu, Senior Director Government Affairs at Siemens Energy, a large energy company offering products and services along the entire value chain, were invited to shed light on the Data Act from an association and business perspective.
Both speakers agreed with the key ambition of the Data Act, its potential to increase Europe’s competitiveness and contribute to the EU’s sustainability goals, but they underlined there is still a long way to go for this proposal. The rules for the industry need to be more clearly defined and the text should be strengthened in a participatory manner with all stakeholders.
Mr. Falcioni stated that the home appliance industry is committed to facilitate the transition to the circular economy by unlocking all valuable data, while supporting the principles of fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for making data available. However, Mr. Falcioni wonders to what extent the protection framework to trade secrets would apply and prefers to respect the contractual freedom of the parties involved. Mr. Falcioni noted that some elements were missing in the Commission’s text. He wished to see clarification on conditions and obligations, e.g. which data should be made available and to whom. He wondered how the Data Act will help square the circle between the climate crisis and the EU’s competitiveness.
Mr. Surdeanu welcomed the Data Act and supported the standardization efforts for interoperability. He noted that in the energy sector data and AI are paramount to the development of the sector, offering solutions in terms of decarbonization. He had similar concerns about the Act as Mr. Falcioni regarding trade secrets, contractual freedom, and lack of distinction between B2C and B2B contracts and stated that the high level of ambition does not match the actual proposal. Mr. Surdeanu said a shift in mindset and skills is needed to reach ambitions of the EU’s twin transition. Finally, he said there is a disproportionate ratio between incentives and the regulatory burden. Companies should be more incentivized, especially smaller players for whom digitization might become an obstacle.
Input gathered from this webinar and the next one, which takes place on May 25 and will focus on the impact of the Data Act on the transport sector, will feed into the discussion with institutional stakeholders in the final webinar on June 16.
To watch the full replay of the first breakfast webinar click here.
If you would like to stay up to date with the developments regarding EU digital policies and related events, please sign up to our monthly EU Data Policy Update here. Learn more about our EU Data Policy Services here.