EU Ministers of telecommunications discuss possibilities of digital solutions to overcome COVID-19 crisis

Date

2020 05 05

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Today, the ministers of the European Union, responsible for telecommunications, discuss possibilities of digital solutions to overcome crisis caused by COVID-19. It is planned to discuss use of mobile applications and impersonalized data to overcome the crisis, importance of digital solutions for restoration of the EU economics, and investments into a new digital infrastructure – introduction of broadband communication networks of especially high permeability.

According to the Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Jaroslav Narkevič, the measures planned by the European Commission for tracking mobile contacts and warning apps serve as a good basis for further work.

“Lithuania has also created its information system that stores a list of persons, who have to self-isolate, and an integrated application “Karantinas” (en. Quarantine) that helps to safeguard observation of self-isolation requirements. The use of this app is voluntary and is in compliance with requirements of privacy and data protection”, – says Minister of Transport and Communications J. Narkevič.

However, Lithuania urges the European Commission to elaborate responsibly requirements for development of such apps, especially if such requirements could lead to substantial revision of the current systems. “We have to know clearly in advance, who and how is going to use such data, and to inform all the interested parties”, – says Minister of Transport and Communications J. Narkevič.

Big attention will be given to digital solutions in the conference, as well, as they will be used to help to restore the EU economics after the COVID-19 crisis. The investments into a new digital infrastructure will be also discussed.

The coronavirus pandemic revealed the importance of well-developed digital and telecommunications sectors for economics. According to the Minister, the Lithuanian infrastructure of electronic communications proved being able to overcome the challenges. However, it is very probable that the need of electronic communications network that has grown significantly during the crisis will remain such in the future, whereas growing needs of users to exchange digital information and to transfer big amounts of data will result in the demand for even more investments into the networks of especially high permeability.

Therefore, Lithuania holds position in favour of maintenance of financing of the measures of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Digital Europe Programme (DEP), and other digitalization programmes.