From 25 to 27 August 2023, during the European Forum Alpbach, the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and Gaia-X Hub Austria invited renowned experts from a broad range of disciplines, including IT, data science, economics, law and human sciences, as well as policy makers from international organizations such as the EU Council, the OSCE, UNESCO, and the Slovak think tank GLOBSEC, to an Alpbach Lab for a three-day discourse on data sovereignty. The focus of the event was on the challenging question of how self-determination based on democratic functionality in Europe can be achieved in the digital space, while at the same time strengthening the innovative power of European business.
This dedicated Alpbach LAB comprised three half-day workshops, each with a specific focus. The first day was dedicated to clarifying a common European understanding of data sovereignty and the current challenges for a sustainable, democratic, and globally competitive European data economy. This subsequently served as the starting point for discussions of legal, regulatory, political, social, economic, and technical realities in digital spaces on the 2nd day, and how to establish sovereign digital infrastructures in Europe on the 3rd day.
This article summarizes the highlight of this expert discussion and formulates recommendations as guidelines to be considered for the subsequent data economy strategy development.