Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said:
The Council's quick decision on the Digital Europe Programme sends a strong message towards strengthening Europe's leadership in the digital era. The Programme aims to reinforce EU digital investment in five key areas, namely high performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and trust, digital skills and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society. A timely agreement on the next long-term budget of the EU and its spending programmes will guarantee that as of January 2021our citizens and businesses will thrive in the digitalised world of tomorrow and reap the full benefits of a competitive, innovative and inclusive Digital Europe.
In addition, after the European Parliament's vote in mid-November, the Council approved the new rules establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The new rules respond to the needs of today and tomorrow, creating an investment-friendly and pro-competitive framework which will lay the groundwork for the development of 5G across Europe. They will enter into force on the third day following their publication in the Official Journalof the EU and Member States will have two years to transpose the Code into national law. The BEREC Regulation will enter into force on the third day following their publication in theOfficial Journal (see Questions & Answers). Finally, the Council adopted a progress report on the eprivacy Regulation proposed by the Commission in January 2017 to modernise the rules of confidentially in the digital age, which urgently need to be aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation – the new world-class standard for data protection – and also to cover everyday tools such as instant messaging, voice over IP and web-based e-mail.