What is needed for a "Smart and Intelligent Europe"?

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Striking the right balance between privacy and the free flow of data, "demystifying" artificial intelligence (AI), fostering cooperation between Member States and focusing on research were some of the answers given by the panellists to the question "What does Europe need to be a frontrunner in AI and digitalisation?" This question was discussed at the seminar on a Smart and Intelligent Europe held by the EESC Employers' Group and the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) on 30 August 2019 in Turku, Finland.

The central role that digitalisation and AI are going to play in global competitiveness was once more underlined by speakers at the seminar. Although the EU is often seen as lagging behind in digital topics, it was also emphasised that European qualities, such as openness and other European values, can help digital products and services to succeed. For the future, the development of the single market in data is fundamental, along with trustworthy and ethical AI principles.

Employers' Group members also took part in the Turku Europe Forum's Economic Day. The seminar on What kind of internal market does Europe need? brought together high-level speakers from politics, academia and business, such as the Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs, Katri Kulmuni. The outcome of the debate showed that deepening Europe's single market is key for its competitiveness, and that focus on sustainability and the rule of law are crucial if it is to succeed.

In addition, members visited the Meyer Turku Oy shipyard. Meyer Turku is one of Europe's leading shipbuilding companies, specialised in high-tech, sustainable cruise ships and other kinds of vessels. The growth taking place at Meyer Turku Oy makes them an impressive example of European industry.

The Employers' Group will return to Finland for its extraordinary group meeting on An open Europe – How does it benefit us all?, taking place in Helsinki on 8 and 9 October.