The European Commission has opened an office in San Francisco, a key global centre for digital technology and innovation.

The new office is a tenant of the Irish Consulate in the city.

Security concerns about an over-reliance on foreign suppliers, loss of leadership in key technologies, online content concerns and the supply chain crisis have all pushed the EU and US to work more closely together.

The EU office is intended to "reinforce the EU's cooperation with the US on digital diplomacy and strengthen the EU's capacity to reach out to key public and private stakeholders, including policy makers, the business community, and civil society in the digital technology sector".

The decision to open an office in San Francisco - which covers the wider Silicon Valley area - was taken after last year's EU-US summit, and its commitment to strengthen transatlantic technological co-operation.

Deeper technology co-operation is being led by the EU-US Trade and Technology Council.

At its meeting in Paris in May, the Council targeted co-operation in developing international standards in tech, notably by establishing a strategic standardisation information mechanism.

It also aims to develop a shared methodology for measuring Artificial Intelligence trustworthiness and risks and a roadmap for future communications technologies that goes beyond 5G and 6G mobile systems.

Of key importance is a plan for closer co-operation on key aspects of platform governance, such as content moderation, "algorithmic amplifications", data access for researchers and the protection of minors.

"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," the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said.

"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," he added.

The EU office in San Francisco will be headed by Gerard de Graaf, a senior Commission official who has worked extensively on digital policies, most recently on the EU's landmark new platform laws, the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act.

It will initially be co-located in the Irish consulate in San Francisco.

At the first meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh last year, the two sides agreed measures on export controls, screening of Foreign Direct Investment and secure supply chains, especially in semi-conductors.

This summer both the EU and US passed "chips acts", which allow state subsidies of chip plants to ensure production of microchips in the US and EU.

Supply chain issues caused by the Covid 19-pandemic exposed the fragility of the supply chains in numerous industries, from cars to kitchen appliances to medical devices.

Supply chain fears have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the raised tensions over Taiwan, the source of most of the worlds semi-conductors.

Earlier data security concerns over the role of Chinese company Huawei in the roll-out of 5G infrastructure in Europe also played a significant role in bringing the two sides together.

The new EU office will work in partnership with member state consulates in the San Francisco area.

The Irish Consulate also works with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland offices in Silicon valley, a key source of foreign direct investment in the Irish economy.

In an interview with RTÉ News in April, Sundar Pichai - the chief executive of Alphabet (the parent company of Google and You Tube) - said the company would "engage constructively" with new European Union laws requiring greater moderation of content on digital platforms, and will be "working constructively to implement the changes".