Written by Mar Negreiro and Tambiama Madiega,
A digital revolution is transforming the world as we know it at unprecedented speed. Digital technologies have changed the way businesses operate, how people connect and exchange information, and how they interact with the public and private sectors. European businesses and citizens alike need an adequate policy framework and appropriate skills and infrastructures to capture the enormous value created by the digital economy and make a success of digital transformation.
The European Union plays an active role in shaping the digital economy, with cross-policy initiatives that range from boosting investment to reforming EU laws, to non-legislative actions to improve Member States’ coordination and exchange of best practices. The 2014-2019 parliamentary term has seen a number of initiatives in the areas of digitalisation of industry and public services, investment in digital infrastructure and services, research programmes, cybersecurity, e-commerce, copyright and data protection legislation.
There is a growing awareness among EU citizens that digital technologies play an important role in their everyday lives. In a 2017 survey, two-thirds of Europeans said that these technologies have a positive impact on society, the economy and their own lives. However, they also bring new challenges. A majority of respondents felt that the EU, Member States’ authorities and companies need to take action to address the impacts of these technologies.
The European Union will increase its support for digital transformation in the coming years, as illustrated by the recent proposal for the Digital Europe programme (for 2021-2027) – which would be the first ever funding programme dedicated solely to supporting digital transformation in the EU. Further EU action will doubtless be needed, notably to increase infrastructure investment, boost innovation, foster digital champions and businesses digitalisation, reduce existing digital divides, remove remaining barriers in the digital single market and ensure an adequate legal and regulatory framework in the areas of advanced computing and data, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.
The European Parliament, as co-legislator, is closely involved in shaping the policy framework that will help citizens and businesses fully exploit the potential of digital technologies.
Read this complete briefing on ‘EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Digital transformation‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.