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Digital Europe Programme: Summary Report on the targeted consultation on the future of investment in Europe’s digital economy

The targeted consultation took place between 25 July and 25 October 2019. The objective of the consultation was to gather the views of stakeholders on the strategic objectives of the Digital Europe Programme for the first two years. This summary report takes stock of the contributions and presents preliminary trends that emerge from them, focusing on the quantitative aspects of the consultation input.

Objectives of the consultation

The Commission is currently planning the Digital Europe programme, which would bring direct investment worth a total of €9.2 billion (subject to the agreement of the Council and the European Parliament) for the deployment of innovative digital technologies in five key areas: 

  1. Supercomputing
  2. Artificial intelligence
  3. Cybersecurity;
  4. Advanced digital skills;
  5. and ensuring a wide use of these digital technologies across the economy and society in line with Europe’s ambitious sustainability goals and values.

The consultation is part of a wider outreach campaign that will feed into the final work programme of Digital Europe and will aid the European Commission:

  • to understand better the potential level of demand for the different activities that are proposed under Digital Europe;
  • to understand stakeholders’ opinions and interests with regards to the priorities set out for the strategic objectives of the programme;
  • to obtain the information needed in view of implementation choices and of a timely preparation of the work programmes.

Who replied to the consultation?

There were 960 respondents from all 28 EU countries. 326 replies from EUcitizens, 171from companies and business organisations, 41 from business associations, 124 from public sector entities, and 163 from academic and research institutions as well as a number of other groups.

The largest number of responses came from Germany (13%), Italy (11%), Spain (8%), Belgium (7%), the Netherlands (7%), Romania (6 %) and France (6%) totalling 56% of responses.

There were 56 responses from the European Economic Area and other countries – just over 6% of total respondents.

Preliminary trends observed in the replies

The survey focused on the five strategic objectives of the Digital Europe Programme. Respondents were asked to indicate how much they agree with the priorities of the sector. The respondents were also asked to indicate their agreement with EU support to Member States for the sectors.

The results indicate a strong support for the priorities set out in the Digital Europe Programme with more than 80% of the respondents agreeing with the priorities across the main objectives. When asked about EU support for Member States, respondents were most in favour of support for advanced digital skills. More than 74% of respondents completely agreed that EU should support Member States in improving the advanced digital skills necessary to operate the up-to-date digital infrastructures.

Supercomputing

Artificial Intelligence

Cybersecurity

Advanced Digital Skills

Digital Innovation Hubs

Areas of high impact deployment

Respondents were also asked to indicate how important they viewed EU support for a range of areas where new digital technologies could be deployed with a high impact.

The results indicate a very strong support for EU support for digital technologies and their use in creating a clean planet (70.5% - very important),  the digital transformation of learning and education (62.5% - very important) and a more trustful and safer internet (54.9% - very important). On the other hand, the responses indicate less support for the uptake of blockchain (32.1% - very important) 

Next steps

The Commission is now carrying out a deeper analysis of the replies received to the targeted consultation. The consultation will be complemented by other input from, for example, the ICT Proposers’ Days in Helsinki in September, public meetings with representatives from EU regions, and meetings with the informal expert group for the Digital Europe programme.

The results of these consultations will all feed into the Commission's proposals and discussions on the Digital Europe work programme, which is due to begin in 2021.

 

Download consultation responses

Download .pdf of factual summary