On 27 September 2018, Italy became the 27th country to sign the Declaration creating a European Blockchain Partnership. The declaration was signed on the margins of the European Competitiveness Council in Brussels by the Italian Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies and Deputy-Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio, in presence of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. The Partnership will support the delivery of truly cross-border blockchain-based digital public services and help overcome obstacles for spreading the use of innovative digital solutions across the EU.

map of Europe showing the countries of the European partnership on blockchain with Italy highlighted

On 10th of April 2018, 21 Member States and Norway agreed through a joint declaration to create the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) and 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 5 other EU Member States have joined the Partnership, including Italy, making it at total of 26 EU Member States and Norway.

According to the declaration, by the end of 2018 the European Blockchain Partnership will identify an initial set of cross-border digital public sector services that could be deployed through the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure, and will define the governance model, functional specifications and conditions that are necessary to support the deployment of these public services. The European Blockchain Services Infrastructure will also help overcome obstacles for scaling up innovative digital solutions across the Union.

The added value of EU Cooperation

The decentralised and collaborative nature of blockchain technology and its applications and close cooperation between Member States can help avoiding fragmented approaches to blockchain development and can ensure the interoperability and wider deployment of blockchain-based services. Such fragmentation could undermine the Digital Single Market through a proliferation of multiple blockchain solutions for the same type of public services across the Union, using protocols and applications that would not be interoperable and requiring significant additional investments by public authorities.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, welcomed the signature of the declaration by Italy:

"I am pleased that Italy is now part of European efforts to develop innovative services based on blockchain technology, including digital public services that people will be able to use across borders. Blockchain can make online transactions more efficient and secure. Concretely, blockchain will increase trust in e-government and help creators to secure their rights. It is important that we all work together to ensure a thorough functioning of the future public blockchain systems in the Digital Single Market."

The development and operation of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure is an area where EU investment has clear added value. Creating a truly functioning Digital Single Market in this area requires aggregating resources, developing cross border citizen-centric services and applications, and supporting the scaling up of the most innovative applications and blockchain solutions developed by innovators at a national or regional level.

Photographs of the signing event may be donwloaded from EBS here

Some research projects on blockchain financed by the EU:

Related documents: