European Blockchain Collaboration Shows Region’s Seriousness In Distributed Ledger Technology
21 European Union members and Norway came together on April 10, 2018 in order to create a blockchain partnership. The countries, which include Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, and the UK, dedicated themselves to ‘cooperate in the establishment of a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) that will support the delivery of cross-border digital public services, with the highest standards of security and privacy.’
Since then, five more counties have joined the collaboration, with Italy being the most recent one to sign up for the partnership in September.
Here’s a representation of the countries that have already joined, and those waiting to join:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
Still to join:
Making Cross-Border Services Safer And More Efficient
By adopting distributed ledger technology, the European countries’ partnership hopes to make cross-border services, including those related to regulatory reporting and logistics, more efficient and safer.
However, even with the anticipation and efforts many countries in the region have showed, progress towards realization of the goal has been very slow, with the contributing states only holding three meetings from April.
No Agreement On A Particular Service
The details of the partnership between the European countries are not well outlined, as of now. While an agreement was made in April towards developing a common cross-border public service, there’s still no actual agreement when it comes to a specific service to develop. Peteris Zilgalvis, the head of Digital Innovations and Blockchain as the European Commission explained to Cointelegraph that:
“The Partnership's mission is defined in the Joint Declaration and it is on that mandate that we have to deliver before the end of the year. In the Joint Declaration the signatories committed to working together and with the European Commission in order to develop an EBSI that can support the delivery of cross-border digital public services in Europe. So the description of what this services' infrastructure [EBSI] could look like is what we are currently working on.”
But as it would be expected, the partnership is still in its infancy when it comes to the specifics of the blockchain-based public service to go for as a priority. However, as Zilgalvis explained, there should be an agreement on all key details by the end of 2018. He stated that:
“As stated in the Joint Declaration, by end of 2018 the Partnership must provide a set of use cases of cross-border digital public services that could be deployed through the EBSI, a set of functional and technical specifications for the EBSI and finally, a governance model describing how the EBSI will be managed.”
A Busy Time For The Remaining Months
Considering that the European countries have only less than three months and three more meetings to come up with all fundamental details, they’ll surely have a busy time for the remaining part of 2018. The most recent meeting was held on September 17, 2018, in which the member states discussed ‘about the most prominent cross-border blockchain use-cases that had been proposed by member states and by the commission,’ according to the senior advisor at Finland’s Department of Public Sector Digitization, Kimmo Makinen. He further stated that:
“We will have three monthly meetings by the end of this year during which we will have to agree not only on use-cases but also technical/functional requirements and governance model for European blockchain infrastructure.”
Actual Output In 2019
While there are no doubt European counties are serious about blockchain technology, an important question that still lingers: when, exactly will they begin introducing the platform? On this matter Zilgalvis explained that:
“These deliverables [functional and technical specifications, governance model] will be addressed to the political representatives who signed the Declaration, and if approved, the Partnership could move into implementation mode in 2019.”