The EPP Group in the European Parliament has called for an EU data centre, a common data standard to collect data on infections, a “huge upgrade” of internet infrastructure and less bureaucracy for researchers.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to create an EU data centre for emergency response. We urgently have to set up a platform to collect and analyse the available data on infections and diseases of the pandemic”, said Christian Ehler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman for Industry and Research. “This also requires a common data standard and we obviously have to make full use of Artificial Intelligence tools to this end”, Ehler continued.
The situation today is that Member States’ data cannot be compared due to the lack of common standards. The EPP Group wants to speed up the work of the European Commission in this area. The crisis has also shown how vulnerable IT infrastructure is in general. Tech companies and content streaming services have had to reduce streaming quality in Europe to avoid disruption of the internet as more people are working from home. In addition, the number of cyberattacks has doubled under the crisis.
“It is not hard to imagine the possible chaos if hospitals or energy networks had a blackout due to this dramatically increased internet traffic. It goes without saying that our IT capabilities need a huge upgrade”, said Ehler.
He is also pushing for reduced bureaucracy in research funding and a continuation of European research programmes. “Without the hands and brains to do the research, we are going nowhere. We have to help researchers all over the European Union in a very concrete way by reducing administrative burdens and ensuring the continuity of employment and programmes for researchers”, said Ehler.
The EPP Group also calls for an “industrial recovery plan” to rebuild the economy after the pandemic. “Some people call for completely new initiatives, and for sure we will need some. But we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We already have important new EU initiatives underway when it comes to digitalisation, industry and CO2 reduction. This work has to continue and will be important for our economic recovery”, Ehler concluded.