21 February 2024


On February 21st, 2024, the EU Commission presented a set of possible actions to foster the innovation, security and resilience of digital infrastructures. The future competitiveness of Europe's economy depends on these advanced digital network infrastructures and services, since fast, secure, and widespread connectivity is essential for the deployment of the technologies that will bring us into tomorrow's world: telemedicine, automated driving, predictive maintenance of buildings, or precision agriculture.

The White Paper on “How to master Europe's digital infrastructure needs?” analyses the challenges Europe currently faces in the rollout of future connectivity networks, and presents possible scenarios to attract investments, foster innovation, increase security, and achieve a true Digital Single Market.

The Recommendation on the security and resilience of submarine cable infrastructures presents a set of actions at national and EU level aimed at improving submarine cable security and resilience, through a better coordination across the EU, both in terms of governance and funding.

The White Paper envisages the creation of a “Connected Collaborative Computing” Network (“3C Network”) to set up end-to-end integrated infrastructures and platforms for telco cloud and edge, which could be used to orchestrate the development of innovative technologies and AI applications for various use cases.

It is also essential to better leverage synergies between existing initiatives, such as the IPCEI on Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services, and funding programmes such as the Connecting Europe Facility and Digital Europe. This could include a possible coordinating role for the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) to support the creation of a collaborative connectivity and computing ecosystem.  

Moreover, the EU wishes to realise the full potential of the digital single market for telecoms, by considering measures to ensure a true level playing field and to rethink the scope of application and objectives of its current regulatory framework. This could entail a more harmonised approach to authorisation procedures of telecoms operators, a more integrated governance at Union level for spectrum and possible changes in wholesale access policy.

As an immediate action responding to calls from Member States and stakeholders, the Recommendation seeks to improve coordination within the EU, for instance by assessing and mitigating security risks, establishing a Cable Security Toolbox, and streamlining procedures for permit granting. Moreover, to support the follow-up of the Recommendation, the Commission is setting up the Submarine Cable Infrastructure Expert Group, composed of Member States' authorities.

The public consultation on 12 scenarios set out in the White Paper will close on 30 June 2024.