On 16 December, the European Commission announced an investment of 38 million euros, under the umbrella of the Connecting Europe Facility, to improve connectivity and digital infrastructures in the Canary Islands.
The announcement came in the framework of the OECD Digital Economy Ministerial Conference held in Gran Canaria, during the meeting of the group of the nine most digitised countries in Europe, the D9+, which is chaired by Spain.
“We know that the current backbone infrastructures are gradually becoming obsolete and that there is an urgent need to renew and reinforce their resilience, also in light of the exponential growth of data traffic,” said the European Commission’s Director General for Communication, Networks, Content and Technology, Roberto Viola.
One of the projects will connect the Canary Islands to the Ellalink cable, ensuring a strong connection to the EU and Latin America, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.
The Connecting Europe Facility is a €2 billion fund that supports, among other objectives, the deployment of backbone networks that respond to connectivity needs, such as connecting all EU territories, including its outermost regions.
The Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, and the President of the Canary Islands Government, Ángel Víctor Torres, opened the private meeting of D9+, which was attended by the member countries of the D9+ Group: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal (via videoconference) and Sweden.
The debate focused on digital skills, digital training to meet market needs and how to maintain high levels of security in the deployment of 5G in the new global scenario.
Carme Artigas stated that “for Spain, it is a priority to advance the regulation of the European Digital Identity and Data Law, as well as the Digital Bill of Rights”.
On the need to professionalise the D9+ Group, she stressed that “it must lead the improvement of digital policies that will place the EU in an appropriate position in the global technology race and begin to believe in itself as one of the most digitised countries in the EU”.
Furthermore, he said that this group must have the capacity to act on its own in the digital world and, above all, to manage the consequences in the analogue world, ensuring a much better governed interdependence.
“Better governed digital sovereignty would allow us to decide between the options that exist without strings attached, including the option to develop technology in our states,” he added.