Written by Mar Negreiro.
As part of its digital decade strategy, the European Commission’s March 2021 communication puts forward its vision for new strategic digital objectives for 2030. These should prepare Europe for the roll-out of the next generation of broadband infrastructure with gigabit speeds, including 5G, as well as for the digital transformation of public and private sectors, to enable an array of new innovative services that should transform the manufacturing, energy, vehicle manufacturing, digital government services and health sectors.
Given its importance for European Union (EU) competitiveness, the European Commission is speeding up the digital transformation by co-financing research, development and deployment of innovative technologies in 2021‑2027, under the €7.5 billion digital Europe programme, the first EU programme fully dedicated to the EU’s digital transformation. Other EU programmes will also play a major role in funding digital infrastructure, including the Connecting Europe Facility and cohesion policy. Furthermore, at least 20 % of the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility funds received by each EU country should be dedicated to the digital transition.
There is some concern that not all consumers and businesses in Europe will benefit from the digital transformation, given the current and future digital divide between urban and rural areas and across EU countries. Given the current climate, the high level of investment needed to achieve the transformation might prove difficult to raise.
To measure progress towards the digital decade, the Commission is working on a digital compass method with indicators, which should be put forward for this task later in 2021. This would enable measurement of four dimensions (or ‘cardinal points’): improved digital skills, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, digital transformation of businesses and of the public sector.
Read the complete briefing on ‘The EU digital decade: A new set of digital targets for 2030‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.