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EU and Canada start work on digital partnership

 Image: European Union

Two powers plan collaboration on technologies including quantum computing and artificial intelligence

The EU and Canada have started work on the digital partnership they announced late last year, involving cooperation on various groundbreaking technologies.

EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton (pictured) and Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry, François-Philippe Champagne, met for discussions on 1 February, the European Commission announced.

The collaborative effort “will help the EU and Canada address new challenges in digital transformation that impact research, industry, society and the broader economy”, the two powers said in a joint press release.

It focuses on increasing cooperation specifically in artificial intelligence, quantum science, semiconductors, online platforms, secure connectivity and cybersecurity.

Research ties

The partnership was announced at the same time that Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said his country would join the EU’s €95.5 billion research and innovation programme as an associate member.

Canada’s participation in Horizon Europe is focused on the second pillar of the programme, which supports collaborative R&I on global societal challenges and industrial competitiveness. It is expected to be signed into effect this year.

In the digital partnership, the parties will also collaborate on research, where relevant, such as on disruptions to the supply chains of semiconductors and the development of quantum technologies.

Breton and Champagne explored “collaboration in R&D of cutting-edge semiconductor technologies” and “intend also to exchange information on workforce-development initiatives, with the involvement of academia, research organisations and industry”, the press release said.

The priorities will be discussed further at a Digital Dialogue in February. A ministerial-level Digital Partnership Council will then will take stock of progress in the spring and decide on next steps.