Forum +33/49

Working together on a European digital policy

Germany and France face similar challenges when it comes to digital policy. Yet they are not working together to confront these challenges. It is for precisely this reason that we have been working with the French National Digital Council to create a platform for cooperation.

The chal­lenge

The dig­i­tal­iza­tion of soci­ety con­fronts both France and Ger­many with a sim­i­lar set of novel ques­tions. Yet despite the glob­al nature of the inter­net, dig­i­tal pol­i­cy issues are still dis­cussed pri­mar­i­ly at the nation­al level. Transna­tion­al Euro­pean solu­tions are urgent­ly needed.

Our approach

We aimed to devel­op a con­cept for bring­ing togeth­er actors work­ing in dig­i­tal pol­i­cy in both coun­tries, so that they can exchange infor­ma­tion and devel­op joint strate­gies. It was very impor­tant to us that peo­ple meet in per­son, rather than mere­ly con­tact­ing each other on well-inten­tioned e‑mail lists and dis­cus­sion forums.

The result

The +33/49 forum was cre­at­ed in coop­er­a­tion with the Nation­al Dig­i­tal Coun­cil of France (Con­seil Nation­al du Numerique—CNNum). In sev­er­al meet­ings in France and Ger­many, var­i­ous actors were able to dis­cuss and exchange infor­ma­tion on upcom­ing dig­i­tal pol­i­cy deci­sions. The forum also orga­nized the first Fran­co-Ger­man cryp­topar­ty with promi­nent guests from pol­i­tics and soci­ety in both coun­tries. The work of Forum +33/49 also pro­duced sev­er­al strate­gic posi­tion papers advo­cat­ing a Euro­pean dig­i­tal policy.

The Forum +33/49 is a Fran­co-Ger­man plat­form for the exchange of knowl­edge, ideas and strate­gies in the field of dig­i­tal­iza­tion pol­i­cy. The aim is to joint­ly meet the chal­lenges of dig­i­ti­za­tion and to do so on the basis of Euro­pean values.

Both Ger­many and France are in the throes of a wide­spread dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, one that is affect­ing changes in all areas of life. Dig­i­ti­za­tion brings with it both oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges that, in a net­worked world, are best tack­led togeth­er. Ger­many and France are among the cor­ner­stones of a dig­i­tized Europe. An inten­sive exchange of knowl­edge as well as strate­gic and struc­tur­al coop­er­a­tion between the two nations can accom­plish a great deal in paving the way to a dig­i­tal age shaped by Euro­pean values. 

For this rea­son, the CNNum and iRights.Lab in Ger­many are work­ing togeth­er to pro­mote a mul­ti­lay­ered and close coop­er­a­tion. The result has been the Forum +33/49.

The name Forum +33/49 has a three­fold mean­ing. First­ly, the num­bers 33 and 49 are the coun­try dial­ing codes of France and Ger­many respec­tive­ly. They are also a sym­bol for direct dialogue—as in a long-dis­tance call between the two coun­tries. Final­ly, the mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies on which today’s dig­i­tal future is being built derive his­tor­i­cal­ly from the infra­struc­ture of tele­phone net­works. The sub­ject of the Forum’s dis­cus­sions is thus already con­tained in the name: the suc­cess­ful dig­i­ti­za­tion in tan­dem of France, Ger­many and Europe.


Conseil National du Numérique

Das Lab

Schützen­straße 8
D‑10117 Berlin
Tele­fon: +49 30 40 36 77 230
Fax: +49 30 40 36 77 260