Is the European Union the future spearhead of digital ?


Source: Protecting digital rights in Europe - News (coe.int)


I The European digital strategy

One of the 15 ideas put forward by the European Parliament to make the European Union more resilient is the construction of an advanced and efficient digital infrastructure. The European Resilience Report stresses that we need to improve the business environment by supporting digitalisation and green business transformation.

The mastery of the digital transformation by the different European actors (public authorities, companies, citizens) requires three pillars:

  • The first pillar is about putting technology at the service of people. It is about investing in digital skills for all citizens. The aim is to protect Europeans from cyber threats such as hacking, ransomware and identity theft. Political authorities must also ensure that the way artificial intelligence is developed respects citizens' fundamental rights. Homes, schools, and hospitals across the EU will also need access to broadband. Finally, the EU will develop Europe's high-performance computing capacity (High performance computing (HPC) is the ability to process data and perform complex calculations at high speeds) to develop innovative solutions for medicine, transport, and the environment.

  • The second pillar is to support a fair and competitive digital economy. The EU Digital Agenda will enable a vibrant community of innovative and fast-growing start-ups and SMEs to access various forms of finance. The EU Digital Agenda will strengthen the responsibility of online platforms by proposing legislation on digital services adapted to the new types of business models resulting from digital technology and the global development of the web. The focus is also on promoting fair competition between all companies in Europe and enhancing access to high quality data while ensuring the protection of sensitive personal data.

  • The third European pillar is to use the opportunities for progress offered by digital technology to promote an open, democratic, and sustainable society. Europe wants to use technology to help Europe become climate neutral by 2050. To achieve this goal, it is essential to reduce carbon emissions also from the digital sector. The European Union is seeking to create a European Health Data Space to promote targeted research, diagnosis, and treatment. Finally, The EU will do more to combat online disinformation and promote diversity and reliability of media content.

These three pillars must give Europe the means to achieve its digital development goals. The European Union will strive to become a world leader in the digital economy and support developing economies in their digital transition. At this point, the European Union will be able to develop digital standards and promote them internationally for the benefit of citizens in all countries.


Source: European Parliament 2021 | News | European Parliament (europa.eu)


II European digital institutions

Since the 2000s, several institutions have been created within the European Union to help the EU deal with digital issues. In this article, we look at one of the most significant European digital institutions.

We will look at EIT Digital (European Institute of Innovation and Technology Digital) which is an independent EU body whose mission is to strengthen Europe's capacity for digital innovation and entrepreneurial education. EIT Digital was founded in 2010 at the initiative of José Manuel Barroso. Its mission is to facilitate the growth of digital start-ups and SMEs in Europe, to facilitate access to research for the various market players and to encourage entrepreneurial education for young Europeans. The first activity is an accelerator for innovative companies. The criteria for entry are as follows: The start-up must have reached one million euros in turnover, have found a market in their country, and are looking to expand internationally. The EIT mission is to accompany them over a period of 1 year by helping them to find clients and obtain access to financing. The second activity is the innovation factory which aims to bring the research community closer to the business community. Thanks to this initiative, the institution has launched more than fifty innovative digital products and services on the European market. The third activity is education and talent development. EIT has therefore partnered with 20 leading European technology universities to promote entrepreneurial education and to offer programmes that combine technology and business. The programmes welcome around 1,000 students each year in master's, doctoral and continuing education programmes that meet the future needs of the market. The programmes train on the technological issues of cybersecurity, data science and autonomous systems. They are also training courses that teach young people to become entrepreneurs by showing them the keys to setting up their own business. The institution also connects PhD researchers, scientists, and SMEs to create a knowledge ecosystem promoting technological innovations in the industrial sector. The institution offers a response to a latent need of the European Union, the need to train young people to innovate in an increasingly complex and technology-driven world.


III Conclusion

The European Union has been hit by two major crises in the last two years. The effective exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the COVID-19 crisis. These two crises tested the resilience of the European Union. This year, 2021, the European Parliament has proposed to build a solid foundation on a long-term vision. This long-term vision is characterised by a multitude of issues such as taxation, sustainable development, the full realisation of the common market, protection against foreign direct investment along with the potential long-term trade and geopolitical threats that they include, the relaxation of monetary austerity and finally the unification of the EU states in international organisations such as the IMF.

We now see that digital is just one of the chapters in the construction of a mature Europe. Let us therefore commit ourselves to innovate and train digitally, as these skills will be one of the keys to prosperity in the European Union of tomorrow.