CEN-CENELEC Workshop on Digital sovereignty – European perspective, general approach and implications on standardisation

The Workshop Agreement is the result of the initiative of AFNOR, IEEE and VDE to identify the needs for standardization about the concept of Digital Sovereignty in the European context.

Digital Sovereignty is rising on the agenda of many nations and trade blocks. The digital space has become a vital tool providing resilience, efficiencies, innovation and growth to states, organizations, and individuals, but also a tool of influence and power where dependencies, vulnerabilities and threats are created for individuals, organizations and states. The control of data, its accessibility, its protection and the governance of the digital space, and more generally the governance of digital resources, are becoming issues of sovereignty.


Sovereign governance of digital resources may be supported by recognized and accepted standards.


There are currently many potential definitions and perceptions associated with Digital Sovereignty, and even though there is more and more common understanding of what is at stake, the concept and the associated terminology remain somewhat undefined.


For the European Union, Digital Sovereignty is not synonym of protectionism but is more about protecting its values and principles in cyberspace and, more globally, in the digitalised society, based on the rule of law in a free and democratic society, and on the protection of individual rights (such as human dignity, right to privacy, protection of personal data, freedom of expression).


While “Digital Sovereignty” might be considered as a subset of the concept of “Sovereignty”, the digital dimension makes it difficult to operationalize the concept. This is all the more so as this notion, in itself has multiple meanings and is the subject of discussion on its scope and its implications.

For that matter, the draft CWA has developed a holistic approach of Digital Sovereignty from three different perspectives:

  • States: concept of sovereignty in cyberspace and the exercise of powers,
  • Organizations (public and private): concept of sovereignty transposed and adapted to their objectives pursued through digital capabilities,
  • Individuals: concept of sovereignty transposed and adapted to their expectations and rights with regard to self-determination.

This draft CWA provides a conceptual framework and a terminology around the Digital Sovereignty concept, interconnecting the many terms that are used along such as strategic autonomy, digital commons, digital integrity, digital capabilities.


In the end, the draft CWA proposes potential standardization activities supporting or connected to Digital Sovereignty.


The targeted audience of this CWA will be any party interested in the concept of Digital Sovereignty, including governments, policy makers, standardization organizations, lawyers, consumer associations, worker associations, business associations, companies, and also individuals who are interested in having a better understanding of this concept and its implication on their self-determination in current and future digital worlds.


You are kindly invited to submit comments on the draft CWA to the WS secretary Louis MORILHAT (louis.morilhat@afnor.org) using the below commenting form:

You are also kindly invited to indicate your willingness to sign this CWA.


Deadline: 23-02-2023.


Consult the workshop announcement.


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