The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in the European Parliament
Since this beginning of the electoral term (2014-2019) I am serving as substitute member in the EP’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). European Socialists and Democrats are prominently represented on this committee by one full member and three substitute members. ITRE covers a vast spectrum of policy areas: the development of a competitive and forward-looking industry, the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, the creation of a sustainable and climate-friendly energy policy, the assistance of European research and academia as well as the implementation of increasing digitalisation. My work in this committee focuses on telecommunication, Europe’s digital agenda, research and space policy.
Telecommunication and the Digital Agenda
Most Europeans know that your network provider will charge you for using your phone abroad. The telecommunications market remains largely national. As a result, the European Commission has proposed comprehensive legislation on the creation of a digital single market. The proposal aims at harmonising the European telecommunications market and at creating common regulations. As a result, roaming charges will finally be abolished in June 2017. However, issues like the maintenance of free and open internet usage will keep us busy during the years to come.
Furthermore, in 2015 the European Commission has proposed a ‘digital agenda for Europe’, which is meant to push forward the extension of high-speed internet links, to prepare Europe’s industry for the use of new media and technologies (Industry 4.0), to advance adequate data protection laws. The digital agenda must also have a social component. That’s why I want to make sure that digital education as well as the consequences of digitalisation of the labour market are at the centre of our discussions. To reach this aim, I regularly participate in round tables with unions and relevant associations.
The new structure of the European research programmes was already agreed upon in the previous electoral period: during the next five years the European funding programme Horizon 2020 is meant to support leading-edge as well as basic research, thereby contributing to the economic and intellectual development of Europe. In ITRE I accompany the implementation of Horizon 2020. We are also beginning to think about possible future funding programmes, which I would like to be developed in conjunction with researchers on the ground. As a former local politician I also want to make sure, that EU’s funding programmes work together and are well-coordinated.
Europe’s economy has become increasingly dependent on space-based technolocy. For this reason the European Union possesses its own space policy. While the European Space Agency (ESA) celebrates spectacular successes in its effort to explore the solar system, the EU’s space policy is concentrated on space applications. With Galileo the EU will possess its own satellite navigation system, which, as opposed to others, is under total civilian control. Galileo’s first ten satellites are already in orbit. The earth observation satellites of the Copernicus programme are preparing our continent for the challenges that come with climate change. We will soon need more sophisticated space-based applications in the area of telecommunications, whose development will be carried out by European enterprises.
What about Saxony?
Industry, research, digitalisation and energy – these areas are of ever increasing importance for Saxony. Saxon universities are successfully participating in European research programmes. Saxon enterprises are facing the challenges of digitalisation. Saxon SMEs are looking for EU funding. That is why I represent Saxon interests in the areas of industry, research, telecommunications, energy and space policy – get in touch with me, in Saxony or in Brussels.
- Shadow rapporteur of the Group of European Socialists and Democrats on a European Parliament initiative report on the adequacy of consumer protection-related legislation in the digital area (leading role in the internal market committee)
- Shadow rapporteur of the Group of European Socialists and Democrats on a European Parliament initiative report on space-based applications in the area of security and defence
- Contact person of the Group of European Socialists and Democrats on the European Regulators Group for Electronic Communications
- In May the European Commission presented a strategy for a digital single market. I am currently working on the European Parliament’s initiative report that will clarify our position on the Commission’s strategy.