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Europe 2030: A Digital Powerhouse. DIGITALEUROPE’s Manifesto for the Next Commission

A once-in-a-century pandemic, the looming climate crisis, and war on our borders have brought substantial disruption. But the positive role of digital technologies to mitigate these crises has been constant. 

During COVID it was digital that allowed us to continue our lives. Digital tools offer one of the most important pathways to reducing carbon emissions. And it is technologies like drones, 4- and 5G, satellites, cloud and cybersecurity software, and the digital resilience of its society, that have been Ukraine’s secret weapon against Russia’s illegal invasion.  

For us, digital resilience signifies how technology can help us prevent and face crises and strengthen democracies. Without strong and successful digital companies and a close collaboration between public and private sector, the EU and its member states will not be resilient. So, we ask, how can the EU support innovative companies to scale in Europe?  

The KPI-led approach we pioneered in 2018 was echoed in a new long-term EU digital strategy, the ‘Digital Decade’. The COVID recovery funds set an unprecedented 20% target for digital spending – around €150 billion – to boost Europe’s digital transition. It also brought an unprecedented amount of regulation. We are proud of that impact. But at the same time, the increased focus on digital has brought with it an unprecedented quantity and tangle of regulation. 

What about the KPIs we set five years ago? Did we create a stronger digital Europe? Let us look at some facts.   

Only 10 out of the top 100 tech companies are European, only 8% of SMEs are trading across one European border – the same as five years ago. In a recent survey of our members, 8 out of 10 of our members stated that the business environment and regulatory burden had significantly worsened in the last five years.  

We support agile regulation, as long as it is implemented in a clear and unified way across Europe. But we have learned the hard way – we cannot regulate our way to success, we need to think about how we implement, how we incentivise, how we collaborate. We must also learn from best practice, like Spain, which has moved from 14th to 7th place in the EU’s digital rankings. We awarded them our Master of Digital prize for their best-in-class investment and skills programmes and law to help start-ups with tax incentives. It is not always about mitigating risk but equally about creating opportunity for citizens. 

DIGITALEUROPE is proudly European. Europe is already the best place to live, but we also want to make Europe the best place in the world to do business.  

What if Europe was the place companies chose to build the next big thing in AI? What if Europe was the place where everyone had digital skills and the world’s best tech specialists? What if Europe was the place where the public and private sectors stood together to guard our democracy and security? 

We want Europe in 2030 to be a Digital Powerhouse, leading on innovation in  an inclusive and secure digital democracy, supported by a highly skilled population and strong European business. To get there, we have set new targets together, targets for which we can hold each other accountable. Not targets on how much new legislation can be put in place, but on the real results we can achieve together. 

Source : Digital Europe