Welcome to Barcelona! As a follow-up to our first Round Table in Frankfurt I am delighted to welcome you here at the Mobile World Congress. I would like to thank GSMA for hosting us and for the excellent organisation of this meeting. No setting is better suited to discuss progress on connectivity for automated vehicles!

Connected and automated driving is hot. All over Europe and over the globe, governments and industries work together to get things moving. Speaking for the European Commission I can mention the final report and recommendations on the deployment of cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems that the C-ITS Platform presented in January. And: the start of GEAR 2030, the strategic discussion on the future of the automotive industry in the same month. And: the first evaluations being organised of the Horizon 2020 topic entirely dedicated to automated driving research, as well as the CEF call (Connecting Europe Facility) dedicated to cooperative systems.

But this does not mean that we can relax and take the proverbial foot off the proverbial pedal. Just think about the developments in the United States and the announcement of President Obama to make available significant funding for connected vehicles. We have to take the step to the next stage. Europe needs to be the first to deploy connected and automated driving. Only then European businesses can set the technical and business standards and thereby occupy the field before others do. In this year, in 2016, many lines come together and we must act now.

So, what do I expect from today's discussions? I expect three elements to be agreed today:

-  I expect to hear from the automotive and the telecommunication industries the confirmation that they have enough common technical understanding to move rapidly forward;

-  I expect your commitment to start preparing a coordinated European cross-border deployment project;

-  I expect to agree on the topics to be discussed in the next Round Table in summer, including on the new stakeholders that should be present.

I will elaborate a bit further on these three expectations and I will tell you in a few minutes what you can expect from the Commission.

I have been informed about the progress you have made on technical issues since the Frankfurt Round Table. In addition my services have informed me about their work. And on that basis I see the emergence of a promising scenario, which is the following. 

First of all, your roadmaps on automation and on connectivity should be aligned. Advancing automation levels need matching advancing connectivity levels. I would like to see how, and I express it in a simplified way, a coherent communication mix of ITS-G5, 4G-LTE and 5G will evolve. Obviously matched with automotive requirements. Tomorrow, I will announce the 5G Action Plan. Your work may provide useful input to this Plan.

Secondly, I expect your commitment to prepare a large-scale European, cross-border deployment project. Not a physical network, we cannot afford that. I mean the roll-out of a cross-border virtual network based on 4G-LTE, and cooperating with ITS-G5 where available, dedicated to connected and automated driving. I would like to emphasise that this is deployment. Obviously, it can include phasing of steps and the further validation of business models. But the aim is to roll-out real every-day innovation for European citizens and for European businesses.

Thirdly, the virtual network would be extended and upgraded over time and the project would be opened up to additional companies.

And here we touch the preparations for the next edition of the Round Table. There are plenty of non-technical topics to deal with: such as business models, a data framework, third party innovative service provision, etc.. Here we need additional stakeholders at the table in order to cover the entire value chain. We have to identify financial, regulatory or any other type of blockades that jeopardise a sound business case. Therefore I have invited today additional stakeholders to the table as observers. A special welcome to you. In this way you can get acquainted with the process and give your input to define deliverables related to the new topics.

Before the summer, your work should result in a concrete Action Plan: concrete actions, concrete timings, concrete commitments and a concrete allocation of responsibilities.

This is my vision to bring connected and automated driving forward. I invite you to agree with this vision. Obviously, it needs further underpinning in order to meet any technical, financial or legal requirements. But my aim is to go forward and to deploy fast. We are talking about a virtual network, so we are talking short term. If you can propose a valid alternative to achieve the same, please do so, but until then I instruct my services to proceed in line with this vision.

And what can you expect next from the European Commission?

First of all I am in close contact with my fellow Commissioners Bieńkowska - in charge of Internal Market and Industry - , Bulc - in charge of transport – and Moedas – in charge of research and innovation - to make sure that our activities are aligned and coordinated. We take part in each others initiatives.

Secondly, we look forward to your coordinated input to ongoing policy and standardisation initiatives as well as legislative processes. Only then we can bring your viewpoint into the process, taking into account your legitimate interests. Cross-cutting digital topics serve multiple industries and sectors. Make sure that your voice is heard so that your requirements can be accommodated as much as possible. Avoid that other sectors dictate your future business environment.

To give you some examples: Spectrum is a scarce resource. The vision I depicted reduces the need to request for additional dedicated spectrum for ITS-G5. Any remaining claim to increase spectrum allocation has to be well-justified. Another example: what about encouraging investments in network coverage and associated business models? I am supportive to the idea of incentivising all operators' investment to increase coverage in remote areas. These are points that will be addressed in the Telecom Package. And let us not forget that the Net Neutrality rules approved last year enable the provision of specialised services. What about a business framework to encourage virtual mobile network operators to support Connected and Automated Driving in Europe?

Thirdly, we can facilitate the large-scale project by providing a part of the funding, for example through EFSI, the European Fund for Strategic Investments. Please do not ask for new European funding instruments. They are already there, and I refer to the slide that has been distributed on your tables. With Horizon 2020 we have funded and we are funding significant numbers of research and pilot projects. With CEF, Structural Funds and EFSI we have instruments in place to invest in infrastructures. With IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) we provide an additional framework for state aid.

We have a lot of work to do today and in the coming year. Let us get started and let us contribute to the future of Europe.