Keeping the digital ecosystem strong

Wassim Chourbaji, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Public Policy EMEA at Qualcomm

Competitive markets and strong partnerships have always encouraged companies to innovate. Policies promoting such an environment allow for more inventions and creations within national, regional and international markets.

The EU leads the world in understanding the broad, interlinked forces driving technology innovation in the digital sector. The approval and enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) exemplify this leadership and are critical to preserving an open digital ecosystem.

The development of communications network infrastructure is another important area that can spur innovation. The EU has recognized the need to incentivize investment in digital infrastructure through ‘virtuous circles’ to bring reliable and secure connectivity. The physical network sits at the core of the digital ecosystem, but is also at the heart of our economies and societies.

Moreover, the EU has focused on the strategic value of semiconductors as engines of the digital transition that foster Europe’s competitiveness. The EU Chips Act has highlighted the need for a geo-diversified production and coordinated strategy amongst countries to balance global dynamics, security needs and supply priorities.

Fostering talent

In addition to the regulatory environment, it is important to nurture the human ingenuity that drives technology by strengthening partnerships that bring people and companies together.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas. Talent is the most valuable resource for today’s knowledge-based economy. Promoting participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to create the skilled workforce necessary for the global digital economy is essential. Qualcomm collaborates with community stakeholders on several programs across Europe that reach and inspire students from all backgrounds.

Furthermore, local innovation hubs have a paramount role in attracting, retaining and developing talent. With this in mind, Qualcomm established a 5G/6G R&D centre in Lannion, France, and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) R&D lab in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, doing fundamental research to fuel the connected intelligent edge with innovation.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas.

Transforming through partnerships

Partnerships to develop and apply advanced technologies are decisive in unlocking access to future innovations and use cases, such as leveraging the metaverse for industrial and learning applications. Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in such partnerships.

From operators to automotive and industrial players, Qualcomm’s partnerships with European companies are good examples of how shared digital value can be created across an expanding range of verticals – by combining complementary technologies and expertise.

The automotive sector is a prime example. Digital transformation is a priority for automakers as vehicles become connected computers on wheels. Qualcomm’s digital chassis high-performance solutions empower automakers to add a full suite of technology to create software-defined intelligent vehicles that are highly customizable and upgradeable. This flexibility enables the adoption of a wider array of powerful automotive platforms, while allowing automakers to keep the relation with their customers and shape the in-vehicle digital experience.

Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in partnerships.

Protecting innovative ideas

As companies like Qualcomm drive cycles of innovation and creativity, it is important to have a strong intellectual property regime that protects the ideas that emerge. One key area that relies on such protections are communications standards like 5G. Standards are the foundation of the digital ecosystem. They also are crucial to competition, helping new entrants compete with existing players.

Today’s 5G standard is a direct descendant of a European initiative back in the 1980s that pushed for a single mobile standard to enable the single market. Europe’s strong patent rights were critical to its early leadership in mobile standards. These rights have given innovative companies the necessary incentives to invest in research and development and to contribute their intellectual property (IP) to the standards. Without these incentives, innovation within the ecosystem would stagnate.

This year, the European Commission will tackle files that will impact standards development – including the IP that fuels the necessary ongoing innovation. It is our hope that their importance to the digital ecosystem continues to be championed.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation.

Building a future vision

All stakeholders have a role to play in incentivizing a vibrant digital ecosystem. By keeping a holistic view of all aspects that support a healthy digital ecosystem, Europe is bound for success.

This success can be further bolstered by the joint EU-US continuous dialogue. We hope the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will be a vehicle for the EU-US cooperation to address new and emerging global tech and trade challenges. The TTC could serve as a focal point to increase trust and understanding to enable innovation, encourage investments and foster competition. Global leadership can only be achieved through policy cooperation and market-led approaches.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation. Our connected future depends on it.



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A plan for competitive, green and resilient industries

We, Renew Europe, want our Union to fulfil its promise of prosperity and opportunities for our fellow Europeans. We have championed initiatives to make our continent freer, fairer and greener, but much more remains to be done.

We are convinced that Europe has what it takes to become the global industrial leader, especially in green and digital technologies. Yet it is faced with higher energy prices and lower levels of investment, which creates a double risk of internal and external fragmentation.

The Russian aggression against Ukraine has shown us that our European way of life cannot be taken for granted. While we stand unwaveringly at the side of our Ukrainian friends and commit to the rebuilding of their homeland, we also need to protect our freedom and prosperity.

That is why Europe needs an urgent and ambitious plan for a competitive, productive and innovative industry ‘made in Europe’. Our proposals below would translate into many more jobs, a faster green transition and increased geopolitical influence.

We must improve the conditions for companies, big and small, to innovate, to grow and to thrive globally.

1. Reforms to kick start the European economy: A European Clean Tech, Competitiveness and Innovation Act

While the EU can be proud of its single market, we must improve the conditions for companies, big and small, to innovate, to grow and to thrive globally.

  • In addition to the acceleration of the deployment of sustainable energy, we call on the Commission to propose a European Clean Tech, Competitiveness and Innovation Act, which would:
  • While the EU can be proud of its single market, we must improve the conditions for companies, big and small, to innovate, to grow and to thrive globally.
  • In addition to the acceleration of the deployment of sustainable energy, we call on the Commission to propose a European Clean Tech, Competitiveness and Innovation Act, which would:
  • Cut red tape and administrative burden, focusing on delivering solutions to our companies, particularly for SMEs and startups.
  • Adapt state aid rules for companies producing clean technologies and energies.
  • Introduce fast-track permitting for clean and renewable energies and for industrial projects of general European interest.
  • Streamline the process for important Projects of Common European Interest, with adequate administrative resources.
  • Guarantee EU-wide access to affordable energy for our industries.
  • Strengthen the existing instruments for a just transition of carbon-intensive industries, as they are key to fighting climate change.
  • Facilitate private financing by completing the Capital Markets Union to allow our SMEs and startups to scale up.
  • Set the right conditions to increase Europe’s global share of research and development spending and reach our own target at 3 percent of our GDP.
  • Build up the European Innovation Council to develop breakthrough technologies.
  • Deliver a highly skilled workforce for our industry.
  • Deepen the single market by fully enforcing existing legislation and further harmonization of standards in the EU as well as with third countries.

We need to reduce more rapidly our economic dependencies from third countries, which make our companies and our economies vulnerable.

2. Investments supporting our industry to thrive: A European Sovereignty Fund and Reform Act

While the EU addresses, with unity, all the consequences of the war in Ukraine, we need to reduce more rapidly our economic dependencies from third countries, which make our companies and our economies vulnerable.

In addition to the new framework for raw materials, we call on the Commission to:

  • Create a European Sovereignty Fund, by revising the MFF and mobilizing private investments, to increase European strategic investments across the Union, such as the production on our soil of critical inputs, technologies and goods, which are key to the green and digital transitions.
  • Carry out a sovereignty test to screen European legislation and funds, both existing and upcoming, to demonstrate that they neither harm the EU’s capacity to act autonomously, nor create new dependencies.
  • Modernize the Stability and Growth Pact to incentivize structural reforms and national investments with real added value for our open strategic autonomy, in areas like infrastructure, resources and technologies.

While the EU has to resist protectionist measures, we will always want to promote an open economy with fair competition.

3. Initiatives creating a global level playing field:

A New Generation of Partnerships in the World Act

While the EU has to resist protectionist measures, we will always want to promote an open economy with fair competition.

  • In addition to all the existing reforms made during this mandate, notably on public procurement and foreign subsidies, we call on the Commission to:
  • Make full use of the EU’s economic and political power regarding current trade partners to ensure we get the most for our industry exports and imports, while promoting our values and standards, not least human rights and the Green Deal.
  • Promote new economic partnerships with democratic countries so we can face climate change and all the consequences of the Russian aggression together.
  • Ensure the diversification of supply chains to Europe, particularly regarding critical technologies and raw materials, based on a detailed assessment of current dependencies and alternative sources.
  • Use all our trade policy instruments to promote our prosperity and preserve the single market from distortions from third countries.
  • Take recourse to dispute settlement mechanisms available at WTO level whenever necessary to promote rules-based trade.
  • Adopt a plan to increase our continent’s attractiveness for business projects.
  • Create a truly European screening of the most sensitive foreign investments.
  • We, Renew Europe, believe that taken together these initiatives will foster the development of a competitive and innovative European industry fit for the 21st century. It will pave the way for a better future for Europeans that is more prosperous and more sustainable.



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Commission plans EU business tax overhaul


A planned reform of EU corporate taxation would substitute national business tax rules, EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Monday.

The “Business in Europe Framework for Income Taxation,” or BEFIT, would “replace national corporate tax systems for the companies in scope, thus reducing compliance costs and barriers to cross-border investment,” he said at an EU tax event Monday.

It would draw on a global deal on a two-legged corporate tax that was agreed between more than 130 countries in 2021, and consists of the reallocation of taxable profits (known as Pillar One) and of a minimum corporate tax base of 15 percent (known as Pillar Two), the latter of which the EU is struggling to ratify due to subsequent vetoes first by Poland and now by Hungary.

But it would “go further,” Gentiloni said. It would have “the key features of a simplified common tax base and allocation of taxable profits between member states,” thus diminishing taxation policies within the bloc whereby countries seek to attract businesses by luring them with favorable tax regimes.

The reform is currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2023, according to the Commission’s own work program. A public consultation runs until January 26.

Taxation initiatives are always tricky as they require consent of all 27 EU countries.

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the schedule for the reform.





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Panic is not an investment strategy. How financial advisers can help you think through the unthinkable.


Financial planners spend much of their time preparing clients for an uncertain future. They cite worst-case scenarios and pepper clients with anxiety-inducing hypothetical questions. (For instance: What if you die tomorrow? What if your portfolio sinks 50%? What if someone in your family has a serious health crisis?)

So how do advisers help clients prepare for the worst and be optimistic? It’s helpful to transform anxiety into action, which gives clients a sense of control over what’s to come. Devising an action plan makes people feel as if they’re ready for anything, even calamities.

“I want to take away the fear,” says Scott Bishop, a Houston-based certified financial planner. “If people are worried, they don’t listen. It’s like when a doctor says, ‘You have cancer.’ You don’t hear anything else.”

Bishop has found an effective way to reduce client anxiety: He creates what he calls “survival guides” to help people brace for threats to their financial security. Through podcasts and articles, Bishop educates clients on how to be proactive in the face of recession or layoffs and other challenges. He urges them to research their options, ask smart questions and take practical steps to anticipate and address potential financial risks. “Don’t just worry about it,” he said. “Do something.”

Bishop calls his kits survival guides because he wants clients to confront their fears head-on and withstand whatever comes. “It is scary, so let’s put a plan in place to survive,” Bishop says. “Otherwise, people can be really complacent in their expectations,” get overly comfortable and cling to a status quo that can vanish in a flash.

To prepare for a layoff, for instance, he suggests developing a plan for managing cash if paychecks stop coming. At least six months of emergency funds is ideal.

People also need to imagine what their financial life would look like after a layoff. What ongoing expenses would they incur? What expenses could they cut (and perhaps cut them now to save money)? What are their loan options, such as a home equity line of credit?

“The last thing you’d want to do after getting laid off is buy a new car or have another big expense,” Bishop said. “So you’ll want to plan now to control your spending to make sure you can maintain your current lifestyle” if you’re temporarily jobless.

Bishop’s layoff survival guide also explores health insurance options and the cost of a monthly COBRA premium if they want to keep their employer-sponsored health coverage. He also suggests contacting the company’s human-resources representative about other post-layoff benefits. Questions might include:

  • Can I cash out my unused or unpaid vacation time?

  • What kind of severance package might I expect?

  • Can I borrow from my 401(k)?

  • Can I cash out my stock options?

Knowing these answers in advance may take some of the sting out of a layoff. This also allows for a clear understanding of what’s next, rather than panic.

“You can’t make good decisions in an emotional state,” Bishop said. “I don’t want you to worry about the next shoe dropping. It’s like fight-or-flight [response]: Can you make it better by running away from problems? Or is it better to confront them and prepare to solve them before they happen?”

More: I pay my adviser 1%, but feel like we have ‘poor communication’ and some ‘issues.’ Is this too much to pay and what’s the move here?

Plus: Investors are running towards the safety of cash — but here are 3 ways they could screw that all up, pros say



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