A group of 22 European countries, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, France and Spain, earlier this week signed a declaration establishing a “European Blockchain Partnership”.
Describing the partnership as a “vehicle for cooperation”, the European Commission said in a Tuesday release that the initiative would allow Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields regarding the technology. The EC also sees the partnership as a stepping stone towards the launch of “EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market”. Cooperation between Member States could help avoiding fragmented approaches and ensure interoperability and wider deployment of blockchain-based services, the commission further explained. It also indicated that it was open to expanding the partnership to include other members of the European Union.
The European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel welcomed the development, saying:
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”
The establishment of the new partnership follows the launch, earlier this year, of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which is currently working on a comprehensive strategy on distributed ledger technology and blockchain. The technology is also one of the fine main areas of interest, detailed in the EC’s FinTech action plan, which was unveiled last month. The plan aims to explore ways to utilise emerging technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud services, to make the EU financial sector more competitive.