The Next Generation EU allocated more funds in order to make a qualitative leap in the digital sector. Nowadays, this field is dominated by large American and Chinese companies (the so-called Big Tech), which are preventing new innovative companies from emerging as real competitors. For this and other reasons, the EU Commission has structured the Digital Agenda Shaping Europe’s digital future, in order to act on several fronts, such as:
💻 the modernisation of European Public Administrations;
🖲️ the creation of a common space for data;
👨💻 strengthening of the basic digital skills of Europeans.
Therefore, the main objective is to solve two long-standing issues: the lack of investment in the field and the lack of rules.
🎯 The EU Digital agenda already identified in February 2020 various issues to tackle, but what are and will be some key actions of the EU Digital Agenda?
- The first action to mention is the Digital Education Action Plan. Launched at the end of 2020, its main objective is to improve basic and advanced digital skills of EU citizens. This action is necessary considering the differences among EU citizens on basic digital skills.
- Another area that interested EU regulators was related to the creation of Single Market of data. The most innovative project in this sense is GAIA-X, whose main objective is to create a secure, transparent and trustworthy digital ecosystem, where data and services can be made available, collated and shared openly.
- The last area worth mentioning is related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Following the White Paper on AI, in April 2021 the EU Commission published its first draft Regulation on AI, aka AI Act, which aims at providing AI developers, deployers and users with clear requirements and obligations regarding specific uses of AI.
Looking to the future: the Digital Compass 🧭
Starting from this brief overview of the recent actions undertaken by the EU in the digital sector, it is easy to imagine the focus of the Digital Compass. Presented by the EU Commission on 9 March, it outlines what Europe’s technological future will look like in the next decade. In particular, the EU vision is based on four cardinal points, as indicated by the Commission itself:
👨💻 increasing basic digital skills, to educate at least 80% of citizens by 2030;
🛡️ creating secure, high-performance and sustainable digital infrastructures;
♻️ transforming businesses, encouraging them to use more and more Cloud Computing systems, Big Data and AI;
🖲️ digitalising public services, in order to ensure that at least 80% of citizens have a digital identity system.
As shown, the objective of the EU Commission is not only to improve the skills of European citizens, but also to build a strong infrastructure network, while strengthening European SMEs. Therefore, the Conference and its digital platform would represent a useful tool in the effective creation of a strong and ambitious Union in the digital field.
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Presented in April 2021, the multilingual digital platform of the Conference is playing a key role, enabling all the EU citizens -but also public actors & all kinds of organisations from civil society- to provide their views & opinions on any relevant topic for the future of Europe.
By Jacopo Scipione
Project and Policy Support