Technological leadership, digital autonomy and economic security are now political Chefsache in countries throughout the world, including in Europe, as new technologies are revolutionising industries and reshaping societies.
Set against this context, the Dutch government is preparing implementable measures to act on open strategic autonomy (OSA) in the digital domain, to be presented in October 2023. This comes just months after the launch of the European Economic Security Strategy by the European Commission. The Dutch government must reckon with the move in this new direction – from DOSA to (digital) economic security – if it wishes to leverage its reputation as a European frontrunner in this field.
This report offers a strategic international analysis to inform Dutch policies and action on digital economic security, in a European context. It reflects on the geopolitical context that shapes digital OSA (DOSA) concerns and showcases the key features of both the European and Dutch approaches to the digital component of strategic autonomy. Next, the authors present a concise overview of the state of play in a select group of key countries (in-depth case studies focus on Germany, France and Finland; as well as the United States, China and India) and offer suggestions for future action.
A key point emerging from the report is that European governments need to ensure that the focus on Regulate and Protect of recent years must be complemented by greater investments in Promote and Shape policies – both within the European Union and in coordination with key partners.
The networks of Innovation Attachés and Economic Security Attachés (image below) play an important role in the Netherlands’ enhanced approach to digital economic security. The longstanding network of Innovation Attachés is an asset on the Promote side of Dutch technology policy that needs to be geared towards more strategic objectives. The newly established Economic Security network focuses on the Protect line of action.