EU-wide cybersecurity rules
The Council agreed on its position (general approach) on proposed measures for a high common level of cybersecurity across the EU.
The proposal aims to further improve the resilience and incident response capacities of both the public and private sector and the EU as a whole. Once adopted, the new directive, called ‘NIS2’, will replace the current rules on security of network and information systems (the NIS directive).
The new NIS directive will play a crucial role in strengthening cybersecurity in our increasingly digitalised world, where cyber threats may have unprecedented implications on society, the economy and democracy. It will also show that the European Union is a leader in legislation on cybersecurity.
Boštjan Koritnik, Slovenian Minister for Public Administration
Artificial Intelligence Act
The Council took stock of progress on the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act. The draft regulation aims to promote the development and uptake across the single market of safe and lawful artificial intelligence (AI) that respects fundamental rights.
The Artificial Intelligence Act has been one of the Slovenian presidency's priorities from the start and we have worked intensely on this ground-breaking and complex proposal. We aimed to make as much progress as possible, and I am happy that we have successfully produced the first partial compromise proposal. The subject matter covered by our proposal, including scope, definitions and requirements for high-risk AI applications, is particularly important, as it has deep impact on the entire text. Judging from the initial reactions, I would say that we are heading in the right direction, and it will now be for the incoming presidency to take this major work forward.
Boštjan Koritnik, Slovenian Minister for Public Administration
Digital rights and principles
The Council held a policy debate on digital rights and principles.
The debate will guide the Commission in the final drafting of its proposal for an inter-institutional declaration on this topic, as announced in the Commission communication ‘2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade’. The digital principles will aim to better inform people engaging in the digital environment, while at the same time providing a reference for policy makers and digital operators.
Today’s discussion showed that a European declaration on digital rights and principles can have clear value in setting out a way forward for the EU's digital decade. It should also be the first step in setting a global benchmark together with those partners that embrace the EU’s democratic values.
Mark Boris Andrijanič, Slovenian Minister responsible for Digital Transformation
During the discussion, ministers expressed their strong support for a solemn inter-institutional declaration on digital rights and principles, which would make clear that the same fundamental rights are equally valid online as they are offline.
According to ministers, the declaration should reflect key European values including human-centred, inclusive and sustainable digital transformation, rule of law, and the principle that no one should be left behind.
Potential principles to be enshrined in the declaration could include promoting access to reliable and affordable connectivity and an open, fair, secure and trusted online environment. Many ministers highlighted the importance of increasing digital literacy, awareness and empowerment, and the need to protect children.
Several ministers pointed out that the declaration should take account of existing declarations and international agreements. It could also serve as a reference to like-minded international partners.
The Commission promised to finalise the proposal for the declaration and present it as soon as possible under the incoming presidency.
European Digital Identity
The Council took note of progress on the proposed regulation on a European Digital Identity (European eID).
The proposal aims to establish a single, interoperable and secure framework for a European Digital Identity that would be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU. The new European Digital Identity Wallets would enable all Europeans to access online services without having to use private identification methods or without having to unnecessarily share personal data.
Path to the Digital Decade
Ministers assessed progress on a proposed decision establishing the 2030 policy programme ‘Path to the Digital Decade’.
The proposal aims to make digitalisation the engine of economic growth and social well-being in Europe by reinforcing the EU's digital leadership and empowering citizens and businesses. It lays down specific digital targets that the EU as a whole is expected to achieve by the end of the decade, as first outlined in the Digital Compass Communication.
Any other business
The presidency briefed ministers on the state of play of discussions on current legislative acts.
Data Governance Act
The presidency reached a political agreement with the European Parliament on the proposed Data Governance Act on 30 November 2021. The presidency aims to present the agreed text for approval by member states’ representatives on 15 December.
The revised roaming regulation aims to ensure that surcharge-free mobile roaming can continue after the current roaming rules expire on 30 June 2022. The presidency hopes to reach an agreement with the European Parliament in the next ‘trilogue’ meeting that is scheduled for 8 December 2021.
Updated privacy rules for electronic communications (ePrivacy)
The Slovenian presidency held the second trilogue with the European Parliament on the ePrivacy proposal on 18 November 2021. This made progress on the end-users’ right to control electronic communications, on enforcement and remedies, and on delegated and implementing acts. The presidency will continue the work with the European Parliament at technical level until it hands the file over to the incoming presidency.
Also under any other business, the Luxembourg delegation briefed ministers on the outcomes of the D9+ (digitally advanced EU countries) ministerial meeting, which was held in Luxembourg on 27 October 2021 and which focused on the digital and green transitions.
The Lithuanian delegation provided information on a joint non-paper on EU digital priorities in the context of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) elections in 2022.
Under the last item, the incoming French presidency presented its work programme for the first half of 2022.
-3 December 2021