Today, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier will take part in an informal meeting of EU ministers for telecommunications and digital affairs. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ministerial meeting, which was originally scheduled to take place in Luxembourg, will be held via video link.

The primary focus of the gathering will be on the digital policy priorities at European level to guide the economic recovery period in the wake of COVID-19. The ministers will consider the most salient lessons from the crisis and discuss the crucial role the digital transformation can play in tackling the present challenges. These include enhancing connectivity and data infrastructures, as well as applying digital technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: “Tackling the COVID-19 crisis is also the overarching goal of Germany’s EU Council Presidency, which will start on 1 July. After the crisis, the internal market will need new dynamic growth. We want to and will reinvigorate European business. In doing so, we will also have to press ahead with the digital transformation and strengthen Europe’s digital sovereignty in order to maintain our competitiveness and harness the full potential for innovation that is offered by the European internal market. All digital approaches also require a lasting and efficient gigabit infrastructure which is able to provide gigabit speeds for challenging applications such as home education or eHealth. I am looking forward to discussing these issues with my colleagues today and to driving them forward during our EU Council Presidency.”

Taking over from Croatia, Germany will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July until 31 December 2020. As in 2007, it will form a presidency trio together with Portugal and Slovenia, whose turn it will be to assume the Presidency in the first and second halves of 2021 respectively.