EU defends ‘essential interests’ in digital field without seeking to ‘decouple’ from China

Beijing, Sep 19 (EFE).- European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova on Tuesday defended “essential European interests” in the digital field but clarified that the European Union “does not seek to decouple from China.”

In a press conference in Beijing, the Czech politician highlighted the need to “keep channels of communication open including in areas where we disagree.”

Jourova said that during the second High-level Digital Dialogue between the EU Commission and China, co-chaired by her and Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing on Monday, the two sides discussed the “systemic rivalry” in the digital sphere and agreed to sign an “action plan on safety of products sold online.”

“We discussed artificial intelligence, the acceleration of which requires a clear commitment to uphold universal human rights in this context,” she said.

“It’s important that China moves towards solutions under the United Nations concept because how we see the possible development of AI (is that) if uncontrolled or unregulated, it might create serious global problems, and that’s why we need a global response,” she added.

The dialogue also addressed European concerns about the spread of disinformation, especially by Russia, which Jourova said was “actively disseminating a variety of manipulative narratives” about the Ukraine war that were being picked up and amplified by China’s official media.

The European official said that the EU was working on the Artificial Intelligence Act, which she hoped would be completed by the end of the year and include a new section on the fast-developing generative AI field.

She also highlighted that the EU was seeking to reduce risks in its relationship with China, which, according to her, required mutual understanding of plans and a decrease in uncertainty in technological areas.

In addition, Jourova discussed with her Chinese counterpart the concerns of European companies about the new data laws in China and proposed the creation of an information link to help companies comply with the country’s legislations.

Monday’s meeting is part of the resumption of three EU-China strategic dialogues agreed in spring by Chinese President Xi Jinping and EC President Ursula von der Leyen during the latter’s visit to Beijing.

The other two focus on economic and climate matters.

Through these dialogues, China and the EU seek to make progress in these three areas in view of the summit that they want to hold before the end of the year. EFE


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