Speech by President von der Leyen at the event ‘Simplification Regulation Between Present and Future – The Challenges of Artificial Intelligence and the Effects on Growth’, via video message

© European Union, 2021© European Union, 2021

Minister Casellati,
Dear Vice-President Tajani,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for asking me to open this important conference. Simple, rational, fair regulation can make governance effective and industry competitive. We need to make it easier to do business in Europe, to innovate in Europe, and to embrace the newest technologies, including artificial intelligence.

First, this means cutting red tape. The EU has committed to reducing reporting obligations for companies and administrations by at least 25%. And already this autumn, we have presented concrete proposals. We would like national governments to mirror these efforts. Because cutting red tape is a common endeavour for both – European and national institutions.

At all levels, AI can make a significant contribution. In Brussels, for example, we are using AI to map the different reporting requirements of EU laws. This helps companies to save unnecessary work. But this is not all. For every new piece of legislation, an independent board will conduct a competitiveness check and consult our new SME envoy. The envoy will make sure that rules designed for corporations do not affect craftsmen and small companies.

Second, we need to give particular focus to these smaller, more innovative firms. They need less red tape, more capital, and skilled people. But they also need infrastructure. Especially for AI startups, computing power is a vital resource. That is why, just two weeks ago, the European Commission decided to grant European AI startups special access to our EU-funded supercomputers.

We have 3 of the world’s 10 most powerful supercomputers in the EU. One of them, Leonardo, is already in operation, right here in Italy. Italian and other European startups can use its strengths to gain a global competitive edge.

Third, let’s talk about data. We have a huge amount of data that is not used. Data that could provide European companies and researchers with endless new insights through AI. We’ve acted decisively to widen their access to under-used commercial data. And to facilitate the reuse of public sector data. We’ve also made it easier for citizens and businessesto make their data available for the benefit of society, for example for research against cancer. We’re already setting up tailored data spaces for health, mobility, and other data. This is the way forward.

I know Italy is already working hard on improving its competitiveness. Many reforms are on their way. Together, let us use NextGenerationEU funds wisely. With smart investments and reforms today, we can build the stronger, more dynamic economy of tomorrow. Europe supports Italy on its path. And I personally wish you every success.

Buon lavoro!
Thank you.