26 September 2023

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CEE Digital Summit: overregulation is a threat to the development of the digital industry in Central Eastern Europe

Shaping appropriate regulations in areas such as artificial intelligence, resulting from, among others, rapid technological progress remain, according to experts participating in the CEE Digital Summit in Warsaw, the greatest challenge that digital Europe must face. – Regulations can never be a goal, but should be a framework for everyone, said Levente Juhasz from Google during a debate on this topic.

The development of digital technologies and the legislative challenges resulting from rapid progress were discussed during the conference, which was part of the digital Three Seas Initiative in Warsaw. Industry leaders discussed how to ensure that regulators, educators and society as a whole keep up with rapidly approaching technological changes.

The introduction to the panel was given by Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE. According to her, excess regulations, and their reduction by 25%, as well as increasing cross-border trade in the EU, may be key factors that should increase the EU's competitiveness. But how to do this?

Milly Doolan from the Croatian Employers Association, proposed to create one set of regulations instead of 27 and to strike the right balance between innovation and regulation. However, for this to happen, as pointed out by Michal Ciz, Program Director of SAPIE from Slovakia, cooperation between business and legislators is necessary in digital matters. – Legislation should not be created in a way where it is presented to business, and they simply expect that they will act in accordance with the created regulations – emphasized Michal Ciz.

Artificial intelligence was pointed out as a key issue that will require appropriate regulation at the EU and national level. – AI is an area that is too important not to be regulated, and at the same time too important to be regulated inappropriately. We need regulations based on risks and focusing on applications, said Levente Juhasz, Government Affairs & Public Policy Manager CEE at Google. He also added that 16 innovators are considering moving their research outside the EU for fear of overregulation.

Gheorghe Sarbu, Councillor to the Head of the Chancellery of the PM – Government of Romania, Councillor to State Secretary – Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalization Romania and the representative of APDETIC of Romania, pointed out the fact that today many innovations are created in start-ups. – What we sometimes deal with is that the regulators is informing us that a specific solution proposed by a start-up will never be able to be implemented or the project will have to be discussed by a group of lawyers, which kills such a young company.

Vlaho Hrdalo, Partner at Hrdalo & Krnic in Croatia, added that in his opinion it is also necessary to involve more young people who understand technology in the legislative process.

The CEE Digital Summit conference in Warsaw was organized by the CEE Digital Coalition, a coalition of digital industry organizations from Central and Eastern European countries. In Poland, it belongs to the Digital Poland Association. The event partners were Google, Samsung and Meta.