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Say hello to Europeum. The EU’s blockchain project will affect ‘the daily lives’ of citizens, officials vow

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  • Ten EU countries have agreed on a bloc-wide blockchain.
  • The project will provide tools for the public and business.
  • The so-called Europeum project is a bid for EU sovereignty.

Europe is hoping its own blockchain will help it break free from dependence on US technology.

On Tuesday, the European Union set up a new organisation designed to introduce blockchain infrastructure and revamp record keeping and the transfer of data transfer between the bloc’s 27 member states.

The launch took place during a meeting of telecommunications ministers at the European Council in Brussels. Lawmakers also rubber stamped the EU’s landmark law on artificial intelligence.

‘Europeum will have a tangible presence in the daily lives of European citizens.’

—  Mathieu Michel, Belgian state secretary for digitalisation.

The blockchain infrastructure will impact both individuals and companies, said Mathieu Michel, Belgium’s state secretary for digitalisation.

Michel, who pushed for the blockchain project administered by EU states, has dubbed it Europeum.

“Europeum will have a tangible presence in the daily lives of European citizens,” he said at a press conference.

It would allow citizens to trace the origins of their products, and enable businesses to protect their intellectual property by maintaining data on immutable blockchain networks, he said.

Ten European member states, including Italy, Poland, and Greece, have agreed to help operate and roll out the EU blockchain. Other European countries will still be able to use the blockchain infrastructure.

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More nations are expected to join, Michel said.

Germany and France have not committed to the arrangement. Still, the latter has been supportive of the project, Michel told DL News earlier.

Europeum for sovereignty

“We need to create a new sovereign infrastructure, rather than depending on Amazon Web Services for telecom,” Michel told DL News at an event earlier in May, alluding to the online retailer’s global cloud computing business.

The idea is that digital identities, wallets, credentials and licences will be recorded on Europeum.

Michel hopes the blockchain infrastructure will translate legal and bureaucratic processes into efficiently automated smart contracts. And that it will support metaverse applications, as well as the European Central Bank’s digital euro.

Digital twins

“We speak about the future of digital twins or the metaverse, so we need to have a sovereign infrastructure that can meet important criteria such as singularity, security, privacy, interoperability.”

The blockchain infrastructure has been under construction since 2017. Under the auspices of an agency called the European Blockchain and Services Infrastructure.

Developers and companies created a prototype which already functions today, European Commission officials have told DL News.

Since the European Commission does not have legal basis to operate a blockchain for European citizens to use, it has remained in pilot mode.

That’s why the project is now transformed into a so-called European Digital Infrastructure Consortium, a multinational project supported by the European Commission.

These consortia come under Europe’s Digital Decade Policy Programme 2030, a project sitting on €165 billion to support its objectives.

“People don’t need to be happy that Europeum exists,” Michel said during the interview.

“They just need to know that if the data is exchanged between nations, administration or companies, it is safe to use.”

Inbar Preiss is DL News’ Brussels correspondent. Contact the author at inbar@dlnews.com.

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