Towards a Digital Decade

Towards a Digital Decade

This is a very ambitious challenge, but the European Union is strongly committed to it: the digital transformation by 2030. To guide this digital transformation, the European Commission has designed a Digital Compass with four cardinal points: digital transformation of businesses, digitisation of public services, digital empowerment and, finally, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures.

To achieve this digital transition, EU countries should earmark 20% of the funds from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism for this purpose. The objectives of these four cardinal points of the Digital Compass are very specific:

Digitisation of public services

· 100% of key services should be online.

· 100% of EU citizens should have access to their health records online.

· 80% of citizens should use digital identification.

Digital skills of citizens

· At least 80% of the population should have basic digital skills.

· 20 million citizens should be ICT specialists, with gender equality.

Digital infrastructures

· 5G everywhere and gigabit access for everyone.

· Double the share of EU leading-edge semiconductors in global production.

· 10,000 highly secure, climate-neutral border nodes.

· Develop the first quantum-accelerated computer.

Digital transformation of businesses

· More than 90% of SMEs should have at least a basic level of digital intensity.

· 75% of EU companies should use big data, artificial intelligence and the cloud.

· Growing start-ups and funding should double the number of unicorns in the EU.

The digital journey

To stay on track in this digital transition, the European Commission has created the Path to the Digital Decade, a governance framework that will ensure that the targets set are met. This roadmap will be based on annual cooperation between the European Commission and Member States.

Progress will be measured by a monitoring system based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). A very important part of this digital transition relies on large-scale multi-country projects, which could combine investments from the EU budget, Member States and the private sector. The list of such multi-country projects includes investment areas, such as secure quantum communication, 5G communication, high-performance computing, low-power processors, blockchain, data infrastructure, public administration, digital innovation centres and digital skills.

The Connecting Europe Facility

In December 2021, the European Commission adopted the first work programme for the digital strand of the Digital Connecting Europe Facility. Endowed with €1 billion, it will focus on improving Europe’s digital connectivity infrastructures in the period 2021-2023. One of its main objectives is to ensure that all European households have access to gigabit connectivity and that all inhabited areas have 5G coverage by 2030. This mechanism supports the digital transformation and reinforces the goals of the Digital Decade.