31 Jan 2020

Brexit and the future of EU-UK digital cooperation – statement from DIGITALEUROPE

“Today is a sad day for us because the UK is leaving the EU, and on digital policy we are losing a great ally and a front runner” – said DIGITALEUROPE Director General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl on the day officially marking Brexit.

“The UK is a hub for the European digital sector. It represents 3% of global GDP but 11.5% of global cross-border data flows. 75% of this traffic is with the rest of the EU.

In addition, over half of Europe’s unicorns (billion-dollar scale-ups) are based in the UK. The UK has also implemented some forward-thinking policies on procurement that have boosted SME and tech growth.

From the outset, DIGITALEUROPE has advocated for a deep and wide-ranging future trade agreement to avoid disruption for companies that trade across the border every day. Crucially, this needs to be in place before the end of the transition period in order to avoid a cliff-edge scenario. Both sides must strive to keep the new relationship as close as possible to avoid unnecessary barriers to the success of the digital sector” – she further explained.


Julian David, the CEO of techUK and Vice President of DIGITALEUROPE added:

“The UK has decided on a new relationship with the EU, and as the roots of this new relationship are laid down this will mean changes for the tech sector.

At techUK we remain committed to work with colleagues at Digital Europe to obtain the best outcome for member companies, our industry, its customers and stakeholders across the whole of Europe.”


One of the most important things is to make sure we have an adequacy decision on personal data in place before the end of the transition. This would ensure the smooth and secure flow of data that is so essential for digital and digitally-enabled companies.

Non-tariff barriers to trade are a particular concern to the digital sector. It should be a priority to keep customs costs and red tape to an absolute minimum.

Another issue is the movement of people. The tech sector is very international and we must ensure that there are no barriers to same-day movement and rapid deployment of employees by businesses between the UK and Europe.

On cybersecurity, we should keep our norms as closely aligned as possible. There’s simply no effective digital market without strong, reliable connectivity and a robust, stable cybersecurity framework.

On regulatory alignment, we support the inclusion of mechanisms to encourage and support equivalence between the EU and the UK on issues such as environmental regulations, product safety and technical standards.

Looking forward, the digital industry would like to see an ambitious joint EU-UK strategy on services at the international level. Together, we can continue to lead global discussions on digital trade and e-commerce.

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