CEO Conference: Europe at the forefront of the Digital Transformation: Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Event Summary

Event Resources

Smart Regulation of Free Flow of Data, Cyber Security Dominate Business Discussion

Building the European data economy via free flow of data and smart regulations, cybersecurity in Europe, cloud computing and IoT were main topics discussed by businesses in the IT field at the AmCham Conference “Europe at the Forefront of the Digital Transformation: Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council”.

Susan Danger, AmCham CEO moderated the discussion with: Thomas Myrup Kristensen, managing director, EU Affairs, Facebook, Matthias Sachs, senior corporate affairs manager CELA, Microsoft; Lyubomir Minchev, group chief executive officer, Telelink Group; George Hira, senior account manager, Oracle East Central Europe Limited Bulgaria; Liam Benham, vice-president, government and regulatory affairs, IBM Europe; Claudia Selli, EU affairs director, AT&T; and Iravan Hira, managing director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Bulgaria.

Karl Cox, chairman, American Chamber of Commerce to the EU, vice-president, Global Public Affairs, Oracle said that the alternative to building the EU economy via free flow of data is data localization – which is basically a dead end and an obstacle to single market and economic growth.

Iravan Hira, managing director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Bulgaria said that the companies need to transform in order to keep up with technologies. Speed, cultural and organizational changes are most important. Technology is easy, but culture on how you should operate is difficult. In that case the companies should have a three-year plan to transform and keep up with it.

Matthias Sachs, senior corporate affairs manager CELA, Microsoft said that telecommunications keep up with the change in the regulations.
“When you look at the current status, data transfer will be heavily regulated and will not be of use for users and companies, which base their business on data. We see that regulation might hinder innovation. We need to be wise and very conscious”, he said.
100% cyber security is impossible. The dark side is faster, and it is difficult to catch up and react, especially via regulations. There should be also discussion of private and corporate protection. How far you need to go to protect your assets? And data is the new gold. The protection should be equal to the uniqueness of data you use.

George Hira, senior account manager, Oracle East Central Europe Ltd. said the security should be consolidated and investing in data protection is necessary. Moving data security to secure centers is also a solution. Where the centers will be located is another question.

Liam Benham, Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, IBM Europe said there are not prescribed rules against cyber-attacks as the threats are evolving as we should as well. Real time information should be shared – if there is a bridge, everyone should be aware of it. And there should be no difference between public and private sectors, but we should help each other.

Thomas Myrup Kristensen, managing director, EU Affairs, Facebook said that from Brussel’s perspective – there are a lot of regulations that are coming up. It should be smart regulation and to do it, one key component is not to stay in the Brussel’s bubble. A broader discussion between business, government and policy makers is needed.

Susan Danger, AmCham CEO confirmed the readiness of AmCham EU to continue working with the alliances and keep talking to the policy makers.

Petar Ivanov, AmCham executive director said that Bulgarian government is open to business community. AmCham will continue the dialogue and work closely with Bulgarian institutions on the digital agenda.