Seven countries, including France as well as Malta, put their weight behind the “Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration on Distributed Ledger Technologies.”
Italy, Malta, Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, dubbed the “Mediterranean seven,” have signed a formal agreement and lobbied the European Union to promote distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The new agreement, titled the “Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration on Distributed Ledger Technologies,” was signed in conjunction with a meeting of European Union transport ministers in Brussels on December 5, 2018.
The agreement says the seven “view the digital sphere as an ideal area to embark on further cooperation.” The countries have a “forward-looking vision to make Southern Europe a leader in emerging tech such as Distributed Ledger Technologies.”
This collaboration of European Union countries believes emerging technologies like DLT, 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT), could help them to innovate their digital ecosystems and improve democratization efforts in the European Union. The agreement states:
“We believe that Distributed Ledger Technologies could be one of the instruments that can help our countries transform their economies and society into truly digital ones and become a leading region in this sector.”
It points specifically to Distributed Ledger Technologies promise of trust for industrial, commercial, and public service use cases, including “certifying product origin, education, transport, mobility, shipping, land registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare.”
The group also believes the potential benefits of blockchain to data privacy could empower “citizens to be in control of their own personal data.” A different group of seven EU countries approached EU privacy regulators on November 28, 2018, accusing Google of breaching the region’s new GDPR regulations by tracking the online actions of millions of citizens.
The seven southern EU countries advocating for blockchain are calling on the European Commission to further the European Blockchain Partnership and its important work. They have also committed to exploring the possibilities of cross-border Distributed Ledger Technology projects between the seven countries and potentially other neighbors. Distributed Ledger Technologly legislation, say the signatories, should also “take into account the decentralized nature of such technology and should be based on European fundamental principles and technological neutrality.”
The agreement appears to have been led by Malta, a country that has quickly moved to adopt and regulate cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related businesses. Malta individually also hopes to transform its very own economy through the potential of this new industry.