Trilligent Tech Talks in Brussels: The intersection of tech and geopolitics in the next EU mandate

Timea Strihova
Timea Strihova
Jun 06, 2024 / 5 min read

Trilligent hosted its second Tech Talk event in Brussels on May 30, 2024. Our Brussels event focused on the intersection of tech and geopolitics in the next EU mandate, ahead of the EU elections during the first week of June.  

Our panel consisted of distinguished speakers from EU institutions and academia: 

  • Eline Chivot, Policy analyst at Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) at the European Commission, 
  • Dan Nechita, Head of Cabinet of MEP Dragos Tudorache at the European Parliament,  
  • Sophie Peresson, Senior director for public affairs specialized on biotech at DNA Script, university lecturer at Sciences Po,  
  • Moderated by Timea Strihova, Senior Director and head of Trilligent Brussels and the UK. 

Political context for setting the next EU priorities 

With the European Parliament elections in June 2024, and the successive change of EU political leadership at the level of the European Commission and Council, organizations across Europe are looking to better understand what to expect in terms of upcoming political priorities and how these would affect their political and business environment.  

At the European Parliament, the elections are expected to bring shift to the political right, with a higher share of populist votes and a more pronounced polarization of political representation. The majority of the Members of the European Parliament, being in office for the first time, look to develop their EU political portfolio. This may lead to a more challenging environment to reach consensus on EU policies. 

The EU has faced several external shocks over the past years, including supply chain issues after the COVID pandemic, the war of Russia against Ukraine and the successive energy and cost of living crisis, the Israel-Hamas war, as well as a more volatile global world order. This, together with Europe falling behind in the global race for tech dominance except for perhaps regulation, is also expected to inform the next EU legislative mandate. 

Key trends and expectations for tech and geopolitics in Europe  

Tech is no longer part of the geopolitical game, tech is the geopolitical game. Defense and economic security are likely to gain ground in the next EU mandate, which will accelerate the geopoliticization of tech. Until recently, this was not top of mind for tech CEOs and C-suite, which is now rapidly changing. There needs to be more engagement between the institutions and industry, including start-ups.  

Critical technologies (such as AI, biotech, quantum and semiconductors) are an essential part of Europe’s competitiveness in tech on the global stage. Europe needs to focus on strategic resilience – leverage our partnerships, build bridges, and play to our strengths. Looking at smaller actors, Europe has great start-ups but we seem to lack the capacity to scale, which prevents us from being competitive. 

To be competitive in tech, Europe will need the right infrastructure, investment, reliable supply chains, and the right regulatory framework, to help bring European competitiveness into action. We also need to better explain to European citizens what digital transformation can do to improve their daily lives. Delivery of the Digital Decade objectives is an important component of this process.  

The EU has adopted a mass of tech regulation and now the focus will be on implementation. In terms of outstanding regulatory needs, we need to look at the points of convergence driven by the rapid acceleration of technological advancement, such between biotech and AI, which could have unprecedented consequences. Other expected regulatory priorities are digital fairness, verification and connectivity, among others, and there is also talk of a potential European tech deal in the next mandate. 

The political shift to the right after the EU elections is not expected to have a major impact on EU political priorities. We may see weaker coalitions and polarization in the European Parliament, but it is likely to stay in the political centre. The issue might be the shift to the right in the Council, if it results in a coalition of Member States blocking decisions. Europe should also build resilience and bridges with its partners, to keep its relationships stable post the UK and US elections as well, regardless of the outcome. 

Tech is increasingly geopolitical – how can the industry continue to engage? 

There is a need for continued engagement between industry and institutions, whether it is through open public debate or sharing know-how and industry positions. Businesses need the permission to operate and advocate for their interests at the EU level. From a regulatory standpoint, it is equally important to hear from smaller actors, including start-ups, to ensure the variety of perspectives taken into account. Multi-stakeholder debates are essential for setting the regulatory framework right.  

Trilligent advises clients on navigating the geopolitical and political shifts in tech policy, and helps clients effectively advocate for their priorities. Reach out to us to have a chat about the future of Europe, and your political priorities and to learn more about how Trilligent can help you achieve your goals.  


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