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Significant Challenges May Curb EU's Aspirations For Home-Grown Silicon Valley

17/06/2014 by Stuart Wilson


The fragmentation of its telecommunications market and the lack of regulatory balance may stand in Europe's way as it aspires to create its own version of America's Silicon Valley, Reuters reports.

The €80 billion set aside by the European Union to fund research and innovation over the next six years is proof of these ambitions. What's more, the EU recently launched the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) - a platform intended to help promising start-ups access funding from bigger companies, including industry giants like Orange and Telefonica.

Upon launching the SEP website, EU telecoms and digital affairs commissioner Neelie Kroes called upon European start-ups to overcome national and language barriers and establish themselves as global players. Kroes believes the SEP will boost competition and says that start-ups need to grow if Europe is to rival Silicon Valley on the digital business arena.

However, Europe faces serious challenges on its way to tech stardom. Its fragmented telecoms sector is one obstacle, its far from integrated technology structure is another. It would be remiss not to also mention regulation of the sector, which varies from state to state.

Moreover, Europe hasn't been very quick in embracing new technology such as 4G, as several tech entrepreneurs pointed out at the SEP launch.

On top of all this, the EU's data protection laws are expected to become even stricter. They are implemented by separate national authorities and it is often the case that personal data is defined differently by different member-states. As a result, small businesses may find it hard to comply with numerous regulatory regimes.

Still, Kroes is convinced that it is possible to break down national barriers and believes that harmonising rules across the continent will lead to a massive job boost and a surge in investment.


EU, Silicon Valley, Technology, Digital, Telecoms & Internet

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