The document outlines a strategic roadmap with 20 solutions aimed at positioning Europe as a leading figure in the field of advanced technologies, such as AI and cybersecurity, while enhancing digital resilience and ensuring widespread benefits from digital advancements.
Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE, underscored the critical situation Europe faces amid various global crises, highlighting the supportive role digital technologies have played. Despite prioritizing digital transformation, the EU has not met many of its self-imposed and European Commission targets, Bonefeld-Dahl noted. She stressed the need for a shift from regulatory measures to a framework that promotes practical implementation, incentives for innovation, and cross-sector collaboration.
This manifesto arrives as the European Commission’s 2023 report shows the EU trailing its Digital Decade targets, such as a significant gap in businesses using big data and AI. Additionally, the stagnation in the number of SMEs trading across European borders and the limited presence of EU-headquartered tech companies among the world’s most profitable signal a need for action.
Among the key proposals from DIGITALEUROPE is allocating 25% of all EU and NATO funds to digital spending, which builds upon the allocation of COVID recovery funds. It also calls for a review and streamlining of EU data rules and suggests compulsory regulatory sandboxing to test legislation before it’s enacted. The introduction of a ‘twin transition fund’ is advocated to better allocate existing funds to digital and green technologies.
The manifesto also proposes new KPIs for 2030, building on the Commission’s digital decade strategy, to measure Europe’s advancement towards its digital goals. These KPIs include ambitious targets for cloud computing, big data, and AI usage; an increase in the number of European unicorns; cross-border trade expansion for SMEs; and the improvement of digital skills among EU citizens.
Bonefeld-Dahl asserts that while these KPIs are challenging, they are within reach if a collaborative approach is taken, concluding that these measures are essential for Europe to achieve its digital transformation by 2030.