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New technologies are also key to maintaining the EU’s technological and economic autonomy.

The European Commission has encouraged its 27 members to collaborate on the rollout of new technologies such as fibre, 5G, and supercomputers. The bloc needs to accelerate the deployment of these new technologies in order to save its virus-ravaged economy, according to the Commission.

In addition to boosting the post-COVID economic recovery, the EC said that the adoption of such new technologies will also help ensure the EU’s technological autonomy going forward.

The Commission is demanding that countries do everything possible to cut red tape and streamline their own access to the 5G radio spectrum. Also, they urged members to develop “best practices” protocols to ensure a timely rollout as well as collaborative cross-border coordination in the implementation of 5G services.

Technology has led Europe’s fight against COVID-19

Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said COVID-19 proved the importance of technology to European society.

“We have seen the current crisis highlight the importance of access to very high-speed internet for businesses, public services and citizens, but also to accelerate the pace towards 5G,” Vestager stated.

Vestager also praised the role of supercomputing in battling COVID-19. “As we have seen in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, supercomputers are already assisting in the search of therapies, recognising and forecasting the infection spread, or supporting decision-making on containment measures.”

Technology is also the key to autonomy

The Commission also put forward recommendations to further increase research and development of supercomputers. The European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking aims to make Europe the world leader in supercomputing.

EC Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, stressed the importance of technology independence. “Together with data and connectivity, supercomputing is at the forefront of our digital sovereignty, encompassing industrial, technological and scientific challenges,” he said. “Keeping up in the international technological race is a priority, and Europe has both the know-how and the political will to play a leading role.”

The European Commission is investing 8 billion euros ($9.46 billion) to develop the next generation of supercomputers. This new infrastructure could be used in more than 800 European scientific, industrial and public sector applications. Supercomputing is also seen as critical to implementing the EU’s Destination Earth initiative and the European Green Deal.

Also read: Should Europe compete for technological world domination?