The EU May Fall Behind Digital Decade Goals, Report Warns
The EU is falling behind the Digital Decade goals by a decade, a new report claims. While the EU’s 2020 imaginative and prescient calls for 80 percent of citizens to use digital expertise by 2030, the Commission hasn’t met its target of creating a circular and climate neutral economy. The EU also needs to find the right balance between national competence and European Union legislation. Ideally, national authorities would implement EU legislation swiftly and effectively, while ensuring that digital policy is enforced locally.
In addition to implementing the 2020 Digital Compass, the European Union is introducing a robust governance framework for digital transformation to meet its ambitious targets. However, this progress has been uneven and countries with a low level of digital development have lagged behind their peers. A new Path to the Digital Decade will promote structured cooperation across Member States to achieve agreed targets, while acknowledging the different starting points of each country. It is hoped that this will improve digital policy in the EU.
The European Commission is expected to outline a series of targets for the Digital Compass in the coming months. These targets outline a series of benchmarks to be achieved by the end of the decade, which aim to make the EU ‘digitally sovereign’ and enable citizens to fully harness the power of digital transformation. The report highlights the importance of digital skills training for all EU citizens, and also stresses the importance of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe.
The Roadmap for Communication on Europe’s Digital Decade is the first step in mapping the EU’s digital development. The European Council has invited the Commission to produce a comprehensive Digital Compass by March 2021, which should detail the EU’s digital ambitions for the next decade. The document should also establish a monitoring system for strategic digital capabilities and outline key milestones for EU countries to achieve the ambitious target.
The EU should hire 20 million ICT specialists in order to achieve its Digital Decade targets. The European Commission is also targeting the 80% of adult population to have basic digital skills. By 2030, the Commission wants to see a rise in the digitalisation of businesses across the EU. Moreover, 7% of firms should use cloud computing and big data by 2030. Furthermore, it wants to double the number of innovative start-ups in the EU by 2030.
The EU needs to create digital rights that will protect people’s digital rights and promote democracy. The Commission proposed an inter-institutional solemn declaration on digital rights, which will serve as a guide for citizens and businesses as they navigate new technologies. As the digital decade continues, the EU should continue to promote digital values at home and abroad. The EU should make sure that technology unites people rather than divide them. It should ensure that everyone has access to the internet and digital skills, and that algorithms respect the rights of people. This policy should also lay out a governance framework, so that the digital world is fit for the needs of citizens across Europe.
The EU will need to invest in its cybersecurity capabilities. It will need to deploy a network of Security Operations Centres, which will use AI to detect cybercrimes before they hit our cities. Unfortunately, the EU is falling behind on these goals, which are key to the success of the Digital Decade. The European Commission will need to pass a policy programme before it can start the work. Hopefully, it will pass the legislation in the coming years.