Articles by Niall Cronin on the GC Blog and GC analysis
A key challenge for the European Union’s 2019-2024 policy cycle will be to secure a larger share of the economic opportunities offered by new technologies, in a more explicit race with the United States and China. Hopes in the previous cycle that this could be secured by a new generation of start-ups and by establishing the EU as a global regulator are being replaced by a renewed emphasis on building from existing industrial strengths. This will become most obvious during the German Presidency in the second half of 2020, but is already informing the policy agenda and power balance of the incoming European Commission and European Parliament, as well as driving domestic policy decisions in member states. The first components of this pivot towards interventionism have been a set of competing proposals, including from France and Germany, on how to regulate and support the integration of specific technologies, such as artificial intelligence, batteries for electric vehicles and the internet of things. Global Counsel’s team of policy advisers anticipate, however, that this eventually will be complemented by a focus on the enabling infrastructure for this modernisation. Given the importance of infrastructure in investment portfolios and in corporate planning, the economic impact of these choices will be even greater than the explicit industrial policy agenda. Most obviously, this will require the delivery of superfast internet connectivity, on which the adoption and application of new technologies will depend, but also on the rules that drive adoption of process innovations such as the re-use of waste. Decisions in these areas also take place alongside more urgent pressures for common standards for zero emission transport options and for a clear pathway towards decarbonisation of the energy mix. In this publication, we assess some of the choices that policymakers face or will face in these areas, and the consequences for business and investors that stand to win or lose from a changing regulatory and funding landscape.