EU Council Conclusions on digital diplomacy

Resolutions and Declarations

Author: European Union

The EU’s Council Conclusions, which were published on 18 July, introduce a holistic approach in digital diplomacy. This is a significant shift away from cybersecurity being the main focus for the European External Action Service (EEAS) for a long period.

The EEAS includes standardisation, human rights, as well as other digital policy topics, in its holistic approach. The Council’s Conclusions integrate both the EU’s internal and external digital policies and establish links between green diplomacy and cyber diplomacy.

However, the Council Conclusions maintain a confusing situation in relation to the organisation and management of the EU’s digital diplomacy. Council’s conclusions mention Cyber Diplomacy Networks and Digital Diplomacy Networks as the two main implementation tools of EU’s Digital Diplomacy. 

The dual approach of Cyber (mainly security) as well as Digital (other elements of digital foreign policies) should be reconciled using one organisational structure as it has been done by the United States among other actors.

The Council Conclusions of EU are technology neutral. Except for two paragraphs dealing with data, the Council Conclusions do not mention AI, Blockchain, Metaverse, or any other specific technologies.

The conclusion barely mentions the digital economy and trade. The conclusion is timid about mentioning openness and digital commons, which are important pillars of its digitalization efforts.

Most surprising, however, is the absence of a single reference to the Internet Governance Forum.