13m | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has promised digital transformation for all 27 EU member states in 10 years.
She announced that the EU wants to be “digitally sovereign in an open and interconnected world”, with policies that empower people and businesses.
Von der Leyen (pictured) said at the launch of the Digital Compass project: “The pandemic has exposed how crucial digital technologies and skills are to work, study and engage — and where we need to get better. We must now make this Europe’s Digital Decade so that all citizens and businesses can access the very best the digital world can offer.”
The Digital Compass, previewed in a number of leaks yesterday, includes a number of bold goals for European industry, mainly with a 2030 target.
The Commission, the executive arm of the EU, wants at least 80% of all adults to have basic digital skills, with 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU.
“By 2030, all EU households should have gigabit connectivity and all populated areas should be covered by 5G,” said the Commission, in a section of the policy that was widely leaked. “The production of cutting-edge and sustainable semiconductors in Europe should be 20% of world production; 10,000 climate neutral highly secure edge nodes should be deployed in the EU; and Europe should have its first quantum computer.”
The Commission added: “By 2030, three out of four companies should use cloud computing services, big data and artificial intelligence.”
More than 90% small and medium enterprises “should reach at least basic level of digital intensity”, said the statement, “and the number of EU unicorns should double” — that is, the number of tech companies that are worth $1 billion.
Finally, “by 2030, all key public services should be available online; all citizens will have access to their e-medical records; and 80% citizens should use an eID solution.”
Margrethe Vestager, the Commissioner who is executive VP for what’s now called “A Europe Fit for the Digital Age”, said: “Today’s paper is the start of an inclusive process. Together with the European Parliament, the member states and other stakeholders, we will work for Europe to become the prosperous, confident and open partner that we want to be in the world. And make sure that all of us fully benefit from the welfare brought by an inclusive digital society.”
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