Mieke de Regt explains the Belgian Presidency’s priorities in the digital field


Last Tuesday, 26th March, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg held a breakfast-debate with Mieke de Regt, Counsellor for Digital Policy and Telecommunications at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU. The presentation focused on the priorities of the Belgian Presidency in the digital field.

The event began with a brief speech by the President of the Chamber, Pablo López Álvarez, who before introducing the speaker, wanted to introduce the new series of breakfast-debates of the Chamber with counsellors of the Belgian PERMREP, with the aim of providing details on its management of the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

American Tower Europe’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Dragan Jovanovic, then spoke briefly as a sponsor of the event to present the company’s role as a leading provider of digital infrastructure, with more than 30,000 telecommunications sites installed in Europe.

Infrastructure and Artificial Intelligence

After the introductions, the speaker contextualised the current management of telecommunications dossiers by assuring that the Belgian PERMREP is focusing on finalising negotiations with the Parliament on files prepared during previous Council Presidencies during this mandate, which will come to an end with the European elections in June. In that sense, De Regt assured that during the second half of 2023 “the Spanish Presidency cleared the way”.

Among the priority files for the Belgian Presidency, the speaker highlighted the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, which aims to respond to the needs for faster and more data-intensive connectivity and which will allow “5G to be available everywhere” in Europe.

Another priority of the Belgian mandate is related to the Artificial Intelligence Act and to the governance of AI and the transparency of its algorithms, as well as the protection of digital identity to create a safer online space.

At the political level, the counsellor said that most member states are aligned on digital policy, which is allowing the Belgian Presidency to focus more on the implementation of these complex legislations.

The presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session in which the audience raised issues related to the coordination of Member States in facilitating the granting of permits for digital infrastructure installations or to the negotiations that will take place in the coming months in relation to the Artificial Intelligence Act.

Sponsored by: