Mediterranean EU Countries Join Together for Blockchain Transformation

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 4 min read
Mediterranean EU Countries Join Together for Blockchain Transformation
Photo: Pixabay

Seven EU nations have declared their intent to promote blockchain technology in their countries. The declaration was made by France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Malta.

On Tuesday, seven southern EU member states signed a declaration to foster the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) beyond cryptocurrencies.

The group, called the “Mediterranean seven,” is made of France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain and they believe that DLT, which, the governments would promote, can be a “game changer” to boost the efficiency of southern EU economies.

The new agreement, titled the “Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration on Distributed Ledger Technologies,” was signed on the fringes of a meeting of European Union (EU) transport ministers in Brussels on December 4, 2018.

It says:

“We believe that Distributed Ledger Technologies, along with other emerging technologies like 5G, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things could be a strong contributor that will help Southern European countries transform the way that we experience as well as to expand their digital ecosystem including Research & Development and innovation.”

The states took seriously the fact that the Southern European Union countries have huge growth potential in the digital sector as could be seen from the Digital Economy and Society Index.

“We believe that Distributed Ledger Technologies could be one of the instruments that can help our countries transform their economies and society into truly digital ones and become a leading region in this sector.”

All seven states placed their belief that Distributed Ledger Technologies can result in further democratization of the European economic model. The use of such a technology, they hope, might lead to more cooperation in the Mediterranean basin.

As a technology based on trust, Distributed Ledger Technologies is here seen as being a potential game changer using – inter alia smart contracts in areas such as certifying product origin, education, transport, mobility, shipping, land registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare amongst others to transform the way that such services are delivered.

All states hope that this can result not only in the enhancement of e-government services but also increased transparency and reduced administrative burdens, better customs collection and better access to public information.

The seven southern EU countries advocating for blockchain are calling on the European Commission to further the European Blockchain Partnership and its work. They have also committed to exploring the possibilities of cross-border DLT projects between the seven countries and potentially other neighbors. DLT legislation, say the signatories, should also “take into account the decentralized nature of such technology and should be based on European fundamental principles and technological neutrality.”

Europe Starting to Classify as Crypto Friendly

We already wrote how the European Union doesn’t want to miss the blockchain train. For this purpose, the EC convened representatives from public institutions and the private sector in a conference entitled ‘Uniting EU Industries to lead blockchain technologies.’ BBVA was one of the EU enterprises invited to take part in this debate forum on blockchain technology.

Despite the efforts of few European nations like the U.K. and Malta, Europe has always struggled to compete against the crypto friendlier states as are U.S., Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Switzerland.

In April this year, OKEx, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, followed Binance in establishing an office in Malta. The country is actively encouraging crypto firms and takes part in the European Blockchain Partnership. In July Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat informed that the parliament will approve three cryptocurrency bills that were designed to bring changes the blockchain sphere.

In September, the French authorities sad that they were accepting the legal ICO framework drafted in early 2018. The framework is an important part of a push to turn the country into an ICO hub.

Most of the global market’s cryptocurrency exchange volume is heavily concentrated in three countries, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, and the majority of blockchain-related businesses have relocated to Japan and Singapore in the past year.

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