This week is dedicated to the digital economy – let’s take a look at why it is increasingly relevant to everybody: whether as business, government or citizens.
The digital economy refers to an economy empowered by digital technologies. For policy makers, these represent today one of the best opportunities for economic growth and job creation. In fact, digital technologies accounted for more than 21% of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the world’s most advanced economies in the past five years and Europe’s digital economy is expected to grow seven times faster than overall EU GDP in the years to come.
Obviously this blog and other social media platforms are possible thanks to digital solutions: today the majority of citizens in Europe regularly use the Internet in their everyday life and for multiple reasons: communicating, keeping up-to-date, shopping, working or looking for a job. There are however still some citizens who cannot access the internet due to technical (see our recent keysource on improving the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites) or other socio-demographic reasons, such as being digitally illiterate.
This increasing importance of the digital economy is reflected in a number of ambitious EU-level policy proposals and targets which have been set in the Digital Agenda for Europe.
What is the Digital Agenda for Europe?:
The main strategy set up to make sure we all benefit from the digital economy: it contains more than 100 actions to help Europe’s citizens and businesses get the most out of digital technologies. Although some progress has been made since it was launched in 2010, there is still much to be done between now and 2020 to improve.
Outcomes from the European Council Digital summit in Brussels, on 24-25 October 2013
The conclusions by Heads of government highlighted that the completion of a digital single market by 2015 could help us generate growth and exit from the crisis: Our new briefing Towards a single EU market for telecoms considers the new telecoms package proposal published by the European Commission and still under consideration by the European Parliament. This legislative package focuses on different proposals which could bring much benefit to European business and citizens, such as:
- stopping roaming charges (see the our keysource A roaming-free Europe in 2015),
- promoting high-speed internet access wherever you go (more details in our recent keysources on Deploying ultrafast broadband and Enhancing the mobile broadband capacity in Europe).
Other ongoing legislative proposals were also highlighted to be adopted by the end of this Legislative term, such as the one on facilitating electronic identification and signatures across Europe (see our keysource on The new legislative proposal for electronic identification and eSignatures).
Outcomes from the ICT 2013 Conference in Vilnius on 6-8 November 2013
Last week’s event gathered close to 5000 participants to talk about how to promote the digital economy in Europe through increased future innovation and research. The event focused on Horizon 2020, the next European programme for funding Research and Innovation (you might like to take a look at our post on Horizon 2020: research and innovation for growth). Speakers from across the ICT sector talked about a range of digital economy issues including cloud computing or cyber security.
For your eyes only:
If you happen to work at the European Parliament or for an MEP’s office, you have access to many information services and products to keep up-to-date on digital economy and on broad Information society topics.
For instance in this link, you can subscribe to three different alerts on broadband, cloud computing and research & information society to follow the latest news, reports, books and ebooks. Also, you can set-up more alerts in other topics of interest to MEP offices and ask us to do background research on digital economy topics.