The small island country of Malta led the "Mediterranean Seven," Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus to lobby the European Union (EU) to promote distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The seven countries’ emissaries, the transportation ministers in their respective countries, met and signed an agreement on December 4 in Brussels, where the EU headquarters are located. The agreement called the "Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration on Distributed Ledger Technologies" is the proposal that was sent to the EU.
The proposal urges to "view the digital sphere as an ideal policy area to embark on further cooperation." The countries have a "forward-looking vision to make Southern Europe a leader on emerging technologies, such as Distributed Ledger Technologies." The statement also stresses that DLT and 5G, among other technologies, should be utilized and be "based on European fundamental principles and technological neutrality."
There are two crucial reasons why these countries pushed this agreement forward. First is the fear that institutions such as Google have infringed on the GDPR regulations of tracking the online actions of European citizens. The hope is that by utilizing blockchain technology, it will allow citizens real true internet privacy and could empower "citizens to be in control of their own personal data."
The other reason is that this will help bolster the economic ecosystems of these nations. In hopes that these European countries will be able to "transform the way that we experience as well as to expand their digital ecosystem including Research & Development and innovation."
The countries advocating for DLT are calling on the European Commission to further the "European Blockchain Partnership." They hope to explore the possibilities of cross-border DLT projects between the countries’ neighbors in their respective regions. This comes at a unique time for Europe, as its monetary and regulatory bodies will attempt to implement new regulatory measurements on blockchain ecosystems. Also, now is when the formation of the "Blockchain for Europe" association, sponsored by Ripple, NEM, Fetch.AI, and EMURGO, is about to form. This association wishes to embark on a vision of a "unified voice" for blockchain technology in Europe.