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The European Digital Decade: vision, goals and pathways to digital transformation


The European Commission presented this Monday its vision, objectives and pathways for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030. Among the main proposals is the so-called “Digital Compass”, a legislative proposal to establish a robust governance framework to monitor progress. In addition, the Commission proposes to launch multi-country projects and to agree on a set of principles.

This new European Digital Decade builds on the Commission’s strategy of February 2020, and is a call made by President Von der Leyen in her State of the Union address. It also responds to the European Council’s call for a Digital Compass.

Europe’s Digital Compass

The Commission proposes a Digital Compass to guide the EU’s digital ambitions for 2030. The Compass seeks to establish a joint governance structure with Member States based on a monitoring system with annual reporting in the form of traffic lights. The targets will be set out in a policy agenda to be agreed with the European Parliament and the Council.

The digital ambitions revolve around four key points:

1) Digitally skilled citizens and highly skilled digital professionals; By 2030, at least 80% of all adults should have basic digital skills, and there should be 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU – while more women should take up such jobs;

2) Secure, performant and sustainable digital infrastructures; By 2030, all EU households should have gigabit connectivity and all populated areas should be covered by 5G; the production of cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors in Europe should be 20% of world production; 10,000 climate neutral highly secure edge nodes should be deployed in the EU; and Europe should have its first quantum computer;

3) Digital transformation of businesses; By 2030, three out of four companies should use cloud computing services, big data and Artificial Intelligence; more than 90% SMEs should reach at least basic level of digital intensity; and the number of EU unicorns should double;

4) Digitalisation of public services; By 2030, all key public services should be available online; all citizens will have access to their e-medical records; and 80% citizens should use an eID solution.

Multi-country projects

The Commission will seek to rapid launch of multi-country projects, combining investments from the EU budget, Member States and industry, building on the Recovery and Resilience Facility and other EU funding. Moreover, in their Recovery and Resilience Plans, Member States are committed to dedicate at least 20% to this priority.

Possible multi-country projects include a pan-European interconnected data processing infrastructure; the design and deployment of the next generation of low power trusted processors; or connected public administrations.

Digital rights and principles for Europeans

The Commission proposes to develop a framework of digital principles, such as access to high quality connectivity, to sufficient skills, to public services, to fair and non-discriminatory online services – and more generally, to ensure that the same rights that apply offline can be fully exercised online.

Source: Europe’s Digital Decade: Digitally empowered Europe by 2030 (europa.eu)

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