Connect with us


Digital infrastructures: European digital sovereignty, innovations, and quantum trend



Dr Gregor Tkachov, Lecturer at the Faculty of Computer Science at Berlin School of Business & Innovation, discusses the importance of digital sovereignty for Europe and emphasises the efforts to develop European digital infrastructure.

A digital infrastructure is a socially integrated technology framework necessary to deliver digital goods, products, and services.

It enables the connected business to operate, grow, innovate, and respond to customer demand.

The spectacular rise of the platform economy would not have been possible without digital infrastructures.

This contribution highlights digital technology and innovation trends in Europe in the light of an ongoing discourse on European digital sovereignty.

Platform economy

In order to remain competitive, a growing number of businesses are shifting towards the platform business model and its digital strategies.

The goal is to facilitate digital interactions between customers and vendors.

Online networks created by such companies as Amazon, eBay, Google, Uber, Booking, Expedia, and Airbnb are just a few examples of the essential elements of modern digital infrastructures.

Technologies for collecting, processing, and exchanging user data have become of primary importance for such enterprises. But how autonomous are the market, economic, and, more generally, social actors in their decision-making in the digital world?

Digital sovereignty

The notion of digital sovereignty refers to the ability to act independently in all aspects of digital transformation.

In Europe, the issue of digital sovereignty has emerged as a result of the increasing dominance of non-European actors in the platform economy.

The controversy over the COVID-19 contact tracing apps has fuelled the quest for European digital sovereignty. The technological choices made by Apple and Google have undermined the ability of European countries to design their own contact-tracing solutions (such as ‘Stop Covid’ in France).

Another growing concern for European countries is their lack of control over data produced on their own territory, making it hard for them to compete in new and innovative markets.

Cloud technology

One of the first measures to strengthen their digital sovereignty, European governments have started to move away from cloud solutions for businesses offered by foreign companies and to instead deploy European-designed solutions.

The launch of Nextcloud is a case in point.1 The hub defines itself as ‘the industry-leading, fully open-source, on-premises content collaboration platform’ on which teams can access, share, and manage their data across mobile, desktop, and web interfaces.

In December 2023, Nextcloud Hub reached a total of 100 team members, spanning over 20 countries.

Microchip technology

Digital sovereignty also encompasses the ability to act strategically and autonomously in the materials technology sector. This pertains, in the first place, to the production of solid-state batteries for e-mobility and semiconductor chips.

Here, the focus will be on semiconductor materials, as this is the basis for hardware components of digital infrastructures.

Semiconductors are chemical elements with versatile electrical properties rooted in the laws of quantum mechanics. Due to this fact, semiconductor materials, such as silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide etc., are indispensable for industrial production of transistors – electronic devices that implement digital logic in microchips.

From smartphones and notebooks through critical infrastructures for telecommunications, healthcare, energy, and defence, to industrial automation, semiconductor materials are central to the modern digital economy.

© shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

Recognising the need for a common European strategy in the semiconductor technology sector, in February 2022, the European Commission released the European Chips Act.2

It stated: “Recent global semiconductors shortages forced factory closures in a wide range of sectors from cars to healthcare devices. In the car sector, for example, production in some Member States decreased by one-third in 2021. This made more evident the extreme global dependency of the semiconductor value chain on a very limited number of actors in a complex geopolitical context. But it also illustrated the importance of semiconductors for the entire European industry and society.”

Through its Chips Act, which entered into force in September 2023, the EU aims to double its current market share to secure 20% of the global market in 2030.3

In order to achieve this goal, the Member States are expected to invest €3.3bn of EU funds in a series of innovations such as the setting up of advanced pilot production lines, the development of a cloud-based design platform, the organisation of competence centres, the establishment of a Chips Fund, and the manufacturing of quantum chips.

The quantum trend

The planned investments in quantum chips acknowledge the state of the art of quantum computing: it is no longer a science project, but rather an industrial one.

From government-backed funding to advancements by major manufacturers (such as IBM), 2023 was the year in which the new computing paradigm entered the average person’s lexicon.

While the general-purpose quantum computer is still underway, some of its specific models have already proved efficient in solving complex problems with multiple interaction patterns.

As quantum computers are an exponential technology, they are bound to surpass their classical counterparts.

The trend toward the rise of quantum computers will continue in 2024.

In particular, we are likely to witness a surge of efforts focusing on quantum-resistant cryptography in the context of secure data transmission in digital infrastructures.


  1. Nextcloud Hub (2024) Available at: (Accessed: 1 February 2024).
  2. Digital sovereignty: Commission proposes Chips Act to confront semiconductor shortages and strengthen Europe’s technological leadership (2022) Available at: (Accessed: 2 February 2024).
  3. Digital sovereignty: European Chips Act enters into force today (2023) Available at: (Accessed: 2 February 2024).
Continue Reading