EU compass points the way to significant digital shift by 2030

By the end of the decade, all key public services to be available online, and 80% of citizens to use an eID

Photo: EU Margrethe Vestager, on the left, and Thierry Breton.

The EU's ambition to be digitally sovereign in an open and interconnected world, and to pursue digital policies that empower people and businesses to seize a human centred, sustainable and more prosperous digital future, is at the core of the Commission’s  “2030 Digital Compass: the European Way for the Digital Decade”, presented on Tuesday.

The suggested Digital Compass is interpreting the EUʼs digital ambitions for 2030 around four cardinal points.

It outlines that by the end of the decade, at least 80% of all adults should have basic digital skills, and there should be 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU, with an emphasis on engaging more women in the industry.  

In ten years, all EU households should have gigabit connectivity and all populated areas should be covered by 5G. The compass puts the target of production of cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors in Europe that should be 20% of world production. In the same vein, 10,000 climate neutral highly secure edge nodes should be deployed in the EU and Europe should have its first quantum computer.

Concerning the digital transformation of businesses, the compass shows that three out of four companies in Europe should use cloud computing services, big data and artificial intelligence. Up to 2030, more than 90% SMEs should reach at least basic level of digital intensity and the number of EU unicorns should double.

Furthermore, all key public services should be available online and all citizens will have access to their e-medical records. The document says that 80% of the citizens should use an eID solution.

The pandemic has exposed how crucial digital technologies and skills are to work, study and engage – and where we need to get better, EC President Ursula von der Leyen stated. We must now make this Europe's Digital Decade so that all citizens and businesses can access the very best the digital world can offer, she noted.

Executive Vice-President for ‘A Europe Fit for the Digital Age' Margrethe Vestager commented that today's paper is the start of an inclusive process. “Together with the European Parliament, the Member States and other stakeholders, we will work for Europe to become the prosperous, confident and open partner that we want to be in the world. And make sure that all of us fully benefit from the welfarebrought by an inclusive digital society,” EVP Vestager asserted.

According to Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, as a continent, Europe has to ensure that its citizens and businesses have access to a choice of state-of-the-art technologies that will make their life better, safer, and even greener – provided they also have the skills to use them. In the post pandemic world, this is how we will shape together a resilient and digitally sovereign Europe, he pointed out.

A robust joint governance structure with Member States based on a monitoring system with annual reporting in the form of traffic lights is also proposed. The European Parliament and the Council will have their say on the Policy Programme with the above targets.

The EU executive will facilitate the 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. In their national recovery and resilience plans, EU countries will dedicate at least 20% to the digital priority.

Among the projects could be a pan-European interconnected data processing infrastructure, next generation of low power trusted processors or connected public administrations.

As for the most sensitive issue, that of digital rights and principles, the Commission says they should be fully reflected in the online space as they are in the real world and proposes to develop a framework of digital principles.

Among these principles, that will be widely discussed, will be access to high quality connectivity, to sufficient digital 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.

These principles would build on and complement the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Commission proposes to monitor in an annual Eurobarometer whether Europeans feel that their digital rights are respected.

The EU will promote its digital agenda through strong international digital partnerships and proposes creation of a Digital Connectivity Fund that will be used for improving connectivity with the EU's external partners.

 

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