• New paper launched by The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) in partnership with the Progressive Policy Institute think tank urges both sides to ‘get a move on’ in Brexit data talks over an adequacy agreement
  • The call is backed by an alliance of startup advocacy organisations from across Europe including Allied for Startups and France Digitale

BRUSSELS, 16 October 2018: The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), the independent advocacy group that serves as the policy voice for Britain’s technology-led startups and scaleups, has launched a new paper in on Data Flows & Brexit warning that without progress in data talks soon – the success of Europe’s startup economy will be put at risk.

The paper, launched in the European Parliament today, urges both sides of the Brexit negotiations to adopt a pragmatic approach on data – an adequacy agreement with a view to additional cooperation in the future – as the European Council continues Brexit discussions this week.

Prime Minister Theresa May had said that data was one of five key priorities for the negotiations in her Mansion House speech in March 2018, but since that time little progress has been made.

Commenting on the paper launch Dom Hallas, Executive Director of Coadec, said:

“Data is at the heart of trade in both goods and services across the UK and Europe – it is critical for every business that trades across European borders, but no more so than for our fast-growing tech startups. Uncertainty on data will be damaging for everyone, but it could sound a death knell for tech startups.”

Commenting on adequacy, Hallas added:

“We need pragmatism from European leaders, including MEPs who have made worrying noises about data agreements with the UK in the past. We strongly believe that an adequacy agreement with a view to additional cooperation in the future is the sensible and pragmatic approach that will protect growing European digital players.”

The paper makes clear that the UK, the foremost digital market in Europe, has most to lose – but warns that Europe risks slipping behind in the global tech race if it cuts the UK adrift on data.

The paper’s author Michael Mandel, Chief Economist at the Progressive Policy Institute, said:

“No adequacy arrangement will be damaging for both the UK and the EU. There is a real risk of Europe losing out on global leadership in areas such as AI and digitization of manufacturing if they cut the UK adrift on data. Close ties will continue to be critical for the European and UK tech sectors to make progress.”

The warning comes in the wake of the Allied for Startups summit which brought together startup leaders from across Europe in Brussels to talk about key startup policy priorities for 2019 and beyond.

Commenting, Lenard Koschwitz, Director of Allied for Startups – the international body representing European tech startup organisations in Brussels – said:

“Data flows post-Brexit need to be high up the agenda for European leaders in Brexit talks. For the future of European tech and innovation, we can’t afford to get this wrong.”