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Salesforce’s Recommendations for the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Salesforce’s Recommendations for the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU

Read more about Salesforce’s recommendations for the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council here.

This article is on behalf of Rachele Ciavarella, Senior Manager, EU Government Affairs and Rens Hogeling, Senior Manager, Government Affairs.

As Belgium takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2024, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in determining the future of Europe. In fact, this Presidency also coincides with EU elections scheduled for June 2024, which will mark the beginning of a new five-year legislative cycle.

What’s at stake 

During this time, the Belgian government will be responsible for finalising the Council’s work on EU legislation, including a number of key tech regulations such as the AI Act and the Cyber Resilience Act. Additionally, this Presidency will play a significant role in putting forward ideas and recommendations for the next EU legislative mandate. 

We praise the ambitious programme that Belgium presented on December 8. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has emphasised the importance of enhancing the EU’s competitiveness at the global stage. Salesforce, a long-standing and committed partner in the EU’s digital transformation journey, shares its recommendations for this crucial period.

Salesforce’s recommendations

Advancing AI Governance and Innovation

One of the priorities of the Belgian Presidency will be to finalise the work on the AI Act, a milestone law set to regulate artificial intelligence across the EU and start working on its implementation. While the AI Act lays down essential principles, much work remains in crafting clear and workable secondary legislation. We urge the EU to start ‌discussions around the development of these secondary regulations involving a broad scope of stakeholders, ensuring they strike the right balance between fostering innovation, EU competitiveness, and safeguarding citizens’ rights.

In addition, the EU AI Pact‌ — ‌an initiative aimed at anticipating compliance with the AI Act requires robust support and collaboration between public and private actors to ensure the responsible and ethical development and deployment of AI. Since 2018 Salesforce’s Office of Ethical and Humane Use has been guiding ethical AI practices both internally and in the broader ecosystem. We advocate for policies that are risk and context-based, transparent, and accountable.

Furthermore, with its AI Algorithms Conference in February 2024, the Belgian Presidency has the opportunity to encourage further alignment on AI governance at the international level. It is crucial to establish common standards and principles to govern AI on a global scale, fostering trust and cooperation among nations. Initiatives such as the G7 Hiroshima AI process, the UN High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence, the Bletchley Declaration, and the Global Partnership on AI play a key role in reaching that objective.

At Salesforce, a pioneer of AI technology through our Einstein AI solutions, we have from early on undertaken initiatives to promote responsible AI governance. We advocate for transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI systems. Our AI Ethics by Design principles guide the development of AI products to ensure they align with the highest ethical standards.

Upholding the Green Deal Ambitions

The Belgian Presidency also plans to focus on sustainability in the digital age and is planning to host a conference on green ICT. Salesforce believes technology can be a powerful ally in helping the EU maintain and achieve its ambitious green objectives while minimising the social impact on citizens and businesses. We hope the conference presents an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between various actors in the ecosystem. 

Stronger cooperation between the private sector, EU institutions, and national governments is key to effectively drive sustainability efforts forward.

By harnessing technology, we can accelerate progress towards a greener future. With Salesforce’s Green Code Initiative, we share best practices to reduce the impact of software on the environment. Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud offers a solution for companies looking to build sustainable business practices.

Nurturing EU Competitiveness

Amid challenging economic times, it is imperative to focus on enhancing the competitiveness of the European Union. Digitisation of business plays a vital role in driving economic growth and innovation within the EU. We hope this important priority will be appropriately reflected in the EU’s Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029, which will be finalised under the Belgian Presidency.

The reports currently being drafted will hold significant insights into the future of the Single Market and European competitiveness. 

It is crucial to explore ways in which businesses can thrive and contribute to the EU’s competitiveness. We need to ensure that Europe continues to be an open environment where companies that comply with EU rules and fully respect European values can continue to operate on a level playing field. By fostering such an environment that supports innovation, reduces regulatory burdens, and encourages investment, Europe can position itself as a global leader in the years ahead.

IDC projects that the Salesforce ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers will create 1.4 million new jobs and $450 billion in new business revenue in Europe by 2026.

In conclusion, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU arrives at a momentous time, with EU elections on the horizon and critical issues at the forefront. We hope the Belgian government will embrace these challenges with determination and vision, working hand in hand with stakeholders to shape a prosperous and sustainable future for Europe.

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