New EU office in San Francisco opens in the Irish consulate

2 Sep 2022

Image: © JFL Photography/

The aim of the US office is to strengthen EU digital diplomacy. It is headed by Gerard de Graaf, a key official who has worked on landmark tech laws.

The EU has officially opened its new office in San Francisco to liaise with tech companies based in the US and improve transatlantic relations in the digital space.

Initially co-located with the Irish consulate, the aim of the office is to reinforce EU-US cooperation on digital diplomacy and strengthen the EU’s capacity to communicate with public and private stakeholders such as policymakers, business leaders and civil society in the tech sector.

“The opening of the office in San Francisco responds to the EU’s commitment to strengthen transatlantic technological cooperation and to drive the global digital transformation based on democratic values and standards,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.

“It is a concrete step to further reinforce the EU’s work on issues such as cyber and countering hybrid threats, and foreign information manipulation and interference.”

Launched yesterday (1 September), the office will look to promote EU standards and technologies, digital policies and regulations. It will also look to strengthen cooperation with US stakeholders, including the many tech companies located in nearby Silicon Valley.

The office will be led by Gerard de Graaf, a key EU official who played an important role in the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act. These landmark pieces of legislation, passed in July, aim to rein in the power of Big Tech and make the internet safer.

A few weeks prior, a group of MEPs travelled to the US to speak with tech companies such as Google, Meta, Apple, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and Uber to exchange views on the EU’s digital policy agenda.

The new stateside base is also expected to help the US and EU cooperate on future regulations. De Graaf told the Wall Street Journal in July that the two blocs are now working on similar rules in areas such as semiconductors. “There’s a mutual interest in cooperating very closely,” he said.

While headed by De Graaf, the office will work under the authority of the EU delegation in Washington DC, coordinating with EU headquarters in Brussels and in partnership with EU member state consulates in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic