Technology to strengthen the EU’s role in global governance 

Our world is in transition as the post-war rules-based order becomes increasingly under threat from authoritarian powers, large commercial digital platforms and populists who disregard the value of allies working together. Europe is strong when multilateralism is strong, when countries collaborate to pursue common goals. In a new European research project, scientists will be working to revitalize multilateralism through technology policy innovation. The REMIT project started on March 1, 2023 and is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

A stronger Europe through technology

A political priority of the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, is “a stronger Europe in the world through multilateralism”. REMIT aims to realize this ambition by focusing on norms, institutions, and key actors in four technology sectors. Firstly, because of technology’s effect on economic competitiveness. Secondly, because technology is important for national security, including threats to democratic principles. Thirdly, because technology is critical for solutions to global challenges.

Policy recommendations in four technology areas

REMIT researchers aim to develop policy recommendations that help improve multilateral governance through an in-depth analysis of contested policy areas, the role of the actors involved and their relevant domains. The four technology areas that researchers will focus their research on are digital technology, health biotechnology, security and defense technology and financial technology. The focus on these technology areas emerges from the REMIT researchers’ expertise.

Multilateral regulation of technology is badly needed

The lack of comprehensive, multilateral technology regulation further poses a substantial threat to the security of the EU and its allies by allowing others (notably China) to set the rules for the digital future. Moreover, the four technology areas play a role in finding solutions to all major challenges, including climate, digital transactions, rising inequality, aging and health, migration, pandemics and information disruption. Thus, insights that lead to better policies are urgently needed for a stronger Europe.

Roberta N. Haar, Professor of Foreign Policy Analysis and Transatlantic Relations at Maastricht University, and REMIT project coordinator said this about REMIT: “I am truly excited to lead this outstanding group of European experts over the next four years to create knowledge that supports multilateralism. The EC evaluation report on REMIT is both challenging and motivating. We are delighted that the EU awarded REMIT a 100% score and referred to the project as ‘highly inspiring and original in its approach’ to support the EU’s goal of promoting global governance. Moreover, EC evaluators indicated that REMIT’s objectives go far beyond the state of the art, while still being firmly based on current levels of knowledge. Optimistically, they also felt that REMIT offers ‘an opportunity to establish a new research agenda with fundamental political relevance.’ I welcome the opportunity to help establish this new research agenda.”

About the REMIT project

Coordinated by Maastricht University, the REMIT project brings together leading European researchers from nine partners from Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the United Kingdom. The goal is to develop recommendations, clear understanding of the status quo and innovative methodologies that support effective policies to revitalize global democratic structures. 

The REMIT project has a total budget of almost €3 million, of which €2.6 million is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program and €370k is provided by the UK government through the UK Research and Innovation fund (UKRI). The project is being carried out by internationally recognized researchers from Universitatea Babes Bolyai, Universitaet Bremen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Luiss Libera Universita Internazionale Degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, and the University of Tartu. In addition, the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative (ECCRI) joins the consortium as an associate partner, receiving funding from UKRI.

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