The European Commission on Tuesday (19 April) revealed plans to create a Digital Single Market to help European business, industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, researchers and public authorities to ‘go digital’. The Commission is planning to support a number of national initiatives for the digitization of industry and related services across all sectors. The EU executive would like to boost investment via strategic partnerships and networks to speed up the development and launch of 5G communications networks and cyber security.
As the first step, Brussels is going to give Europe’s 1.7 million researchers and 70 million science and technology professionals a virtual environment to store, manage, analyze and re-use a big amount of research data. The Commission says that many sectors have been quick to take up digital technologies and processes but companies of all sizes must fully utilize the digital potential and opportunities to keep Europe’s competitiveness on a global scale. Traditional industries, such as construction or textiles, have been particularly slow to catch up with the digital revolution. According to some latest studies, the digitization of products and services in Europe will add more than €110 billion of the revenue for the industry per year by 2021.
As part of the EU’s efforts to boost the digital economy, the Commission will help coordinate national and regional digital initiatives, focus on EU’s public-private partnerships by encouraging to use the opportunities offered by the EU Investment Plan and the European Structural and Investment Funds as well as invest €500 million in a pan-EU network of digital innovation hubs. The EU also seeks to support projects strengthening the Internet of things, advanced manufacturing and technologies and adopt future legislation that will support the free flow of data.
Andrus Ansip, the Commission’s Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, commented that “The industrial revolution of our time is digital. We need the right scale for technologies such as cloud computing, data-driven science and the Internet of things to reach their full potential. As companies aim to scale up across the Single Market, public e-services should also meet today’s needs: be digital, open and cross-border by design. The EU is the right scale for the digital times.”