Twenty-two countries signed a declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership, the European Commission announced.
The European Blockchain Partnership will be a vehicle for cooperation among EU member states to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields and prepare for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of the public and private sectors.
The partnership should ensure that Europe opens up digital opportunities for people and business and continues to play a leading role in the digital economy and roll-out of blockchain technology.
The decentralized and collaborative nature of blockchain and its applications allows exploiting the full scale of the Digital Single Market from the outset, the European Commission says.
The European Union aims to apply the technology to an increasing number of digital services, such as regulatory reporting, energy and logistics, in the coming years.
The main purpose of the European Blockchain Partnership is to establish close cooperation between EU member states and countries from the European Economic Area, and avoid fragmented approaches when it comes to deploying blockchain-based services.
The EU will allocate EUR 300 million to blockchain technology deployment by 2020.
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK are the 21 EU member states to have signed the declaration.
While not a member of the European Union, Norway joined the European Blockchain Partnership as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA).
Seven EU member states are notably absent from the partnership: Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Romania.
The European Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018 and has already invested more than EUR 80 million in projects supporting the use of blockchain in technical and societal areas. Around EUR 300 million more are to be allocated to blockchain by 2020.