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European Digital Sovereignty and Transatlantic Relations with the Biden Administration

June 1, 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

When the new European Commission under the leadership of President Ursula von der Leyen took office, the strengthening of digital capabilities throughout the European Union quickly emerged as a top priority. Even before her confirmation, Dr. von der Leyen called for Europe to achieve “technological sovereignty in some critical technology areas.” The German Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier also spoke about sovereignty in the context of  the storage of European data abroad. An opinion shared by French Minister of Economic and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, who declared in 2020 that “European digital sovereignty will need some big projects to be lead, including the future European cloud.”

With a new administration in Washington, officials from Europe and the U.S. are stepping up talks regarding a new pact for transatlantic data transfers. The agreement – whenever it is reached – will replace the so-called Privacy Shield, the mechanism for legally transferring personal data between the U.S. and EU, which was struck down by the European Court of Justice in July 2020.

In the wake of the massive cyberattack that targeted software firm SolarWinds – which affected at least 100 U.S. companies, nine federal agencies, and six EU institutions – the European Union and the United States recognize the need to work together to develop common cybersecurity standards. They are likely to include cybersecurity in transatlantic talks about technology and data.

Join the American Council on Germany and the French and German Consulate Generals in New York for a discussion with Dr. Regine Maria Grienberger, Cyber Ambassador in the German Federal Foreign Office, and Henri Verdier, Ambassador for Digital Affairs in the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

This event is supported by the French-American Foundation, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, and the German-American Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Regine Grienberger is the Director for Cyber Foreign and Security Policy at the German Federal Foreign Office. Her previous professional experience was chiefly in the field of EU foreign policy as well as EU financial and economic policy, with a focus on general agricultural policy.

She served as Deputy Head of the Minister’s Office (under Sigmar Gabriel and Heiko Maas), Deputy Head of Division E04 (European economic and financial policy), and desk officer for general agricultural policy, with responsibility for crisis management in pandemics, among other areas. Her tasks also included EU public relations and the EU’s external relations with countries of the Western Balkans. She was Head of the Political Section at the German Embassy in Rome and culture, press, and protocol attaché at the German Embassy in Ljubljana.

Dr. Grienberger studied Agriculture in Bonn, Munich, Vienna, and at Michigan State University. She obtained her doctorate in Bonn.

Henri Verdier is Ambassador for Digital Affairs for the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Previously, he was the interministerial director for digital information and communications systems (DG Dinsic) of France; and director of Etalab, the French agency for public open data. Mr Verdier is also an entrepreneur: he was the co-founder and CEO of MFG Labs, an internet-based startup involved in social data mining, and chairman of the board of Cap Digital, the French-European Cluster for Digital Content and Services, located in Paris. He is a member of the ARCEP strategic committee, a member of the CNIL strategic committee, and also served as a member of the board of Paris-Sorbonne University.

In addition, Mr. Verdier was the founding director of Edition Odile Jacob Multimedia, a publishing company in the field of e-learning and executive adviser for innovation at Lagardère Group as well as director of foresight at Institut Telecom. In 2012, he co-authored, with Nicolas Colin L’Age de la Multitude, Entreprendre et Gouverner Après la Révolution Numérique (The Age of Multitude, Entrepreneurship and Governance After the Digital Revolution). Mr Verdier is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure.


June 1, 2021
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm