“TECHNOLOGY SOVEREIGNTY” SOLIDARITY CALLS FOR ACTION

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During the pandemic, it became increasingly obvious that a country needs to be able to provide its population with essential supplies using its own domestic capacities. Our country must not be dependent on other countries for key needs.

All states or federations of states should be able to provide or produce in their own countries the infrastructures, services, and products, e.g. medicines, needed for society and the economy and for carrying out their own public tasks and must have the appropriate technologies and sufficient research capacities for innovative solutions.

That’s why people are talking about “technology sovereignty” or ‘TechSov’. But what is it?

For us, it means the ability of a state or a federation of states to provide the technologies it deems critical for its welfare, competitiveness, and ability to act and to be able to develop these or source them from other economic areas without one-sided structural dependency.

We believe the UK should preserve options by developing and maintaining its own capabilities and avoiding one-sided dependencies. We also believe that the UK government should be able to block foreign takeovers of UK businesses or impose strict conditions where there are national security or public interest considerations.

At present, a number of key defence companies have been bought by overseas concerns or are the subject of takeover bids. In addition supermarkets like Morrisons and Sainsbury’s face foreign takeovers with huge potential effects on UK suppliers and workers.

Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity, commented: “I believe that the UK State should hold golden shares in companies which are strategically important to our national interest. This should be easier now that we are not part of the EU. A golden share is a type of share that gives its shareholder veto power over changes to the company’s charter. One golden share controls at least 51% of voting rights. This would enable the UK government to exercise some control over ownership of a company taking account of our national and strategic interests. Both the UK and Brazil have used them in the past. This should be accompanied by stricter rules on the financing of takeovers and the powers of the State to pause and investigate them. The outcome of the TechSov debate is vital to our countries future.”

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