Tribune. Digital technologies are radically transforming the global economic landscape. In 2001, only one of the five largest companies in the world in terms of market capitalization was a digital enterprise. Today, the five largest companies are in the digital sector, but none is European.
Similarly, no European company is among the top fifteen global companies in the digital sector. As a result, the contribution of European companies to the global digital supply chain has declined, although Europe remains one of the world's largest markets for digital products and services.
Meanwhile, we are entering a new era of competition between major powers where Europe must defend its interests and the multilateral institutions that underpin them. The reality is that European countries are increasingly vulnerable to external pressures that prevent them from exercising their sovereignty – especially in the technological field.
So, to prosper and maintain our independence in a world of geopolitical competition, we must meet the interrelated challenges of security and economy – by maintaining our support for a rules-based world order.
Recent Chinese acquisitions in the European Union (EU) are twice as large as those made by the EU in China. In some sectors, EU companies can not easily carry out mergers and acquisitions, but must engage in joint ventures with Chinese companies, transferring technologies and intellectual property rights.
In addition, European companies face difficult conditions when China imposes limitations on market access and the protection of intellectual property rights leaves something to be desired. At the same time, the United States benefits more from the rise of Chinese science than the EU. In 2017, the United States received twice as many Chinese researchers and published three times more joint international publications with China than the European Union.
This puts the European Union, its companies and its citizens at a disadvantage, not only vis-à-vis China, but also globally, as we work to grow our businesses, sell our products in our markets and abroad and invest in our security.