Germany, France, UK and 19 other European countries have signed a declaration recognizing “the potential of blockchain to transform digital services in Europe.”
The signatories aim to take “a global leadership position in the development and application of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.”
That includes support at government and inter-government level to identify “an initial set of existing cross-border digital public sector services that would gain added value from the support of a blockchain services infrastructure, and start exploring other use cases.”
They are to also provide financial support. The European Commission has already invested €80 million in blockchain projects, with €300 million allocated until 2020.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said following the signing of the declaration:
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies.
The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”
Italy is curiously missing from the signing of this declaration. The full list of participating countries are:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.
The full text of this historic document follows:
“In October 2017, the European Council asked the European Commission to present a European approach to blockchain and invited the Commission to put forward initiatives for strengthening the framework conditions that enable the EU to explore new markets and to reaffirm the leading role of its industry.
The European Commission already launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018 and will invest some € 300 million in projects supporting the use of blockchain in a number of technical and societal areas through its programme Horizon 2020. Member States have been very active in supporting blockchain ecosystems, beginning experiments and announcing actions at government level. The private sector is also actively pioneering blockchain to improve efficiency, enhance trust and promote growth. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are seen as particularly promising in ensuring more security, integrity and transparency when delivering services, enforcing regulations and ensuring efficiency in legal compliance.
In order to harness the many opportunities of blockchain and avoid a fragmented approach, the signatories of this declaration agree to cooperate to establish a European Blockchain Partnership with a view to developing a blockchain infrastructure that can enhance value-based, trusted, user-centric digital services across borders within the Digital Single Market.
I. The signatories of this declaration recognise the potential of blockchain to transform digital services in Europe.
1. Europe is well placed to take a global leadership position in the development and application of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies which can change the way citizens and organisations collaborate, share information, execute transactions, organise and deliver services.