The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digitisation for European society. Digital technologies bring with them new ways to learn, entertain, work, explore, and fulfil ambitions. They also bring new freedoms and rights, and give EU citizens the opportunity to reach out beyond physical communities, geographical locations, and social positions.
However, there are still many challenges associated with the move to a digital world that need to be addressed. The EU must increase its strategic autonomy in tech and needs to develop new rules and technologies to protect citizens from counterfeit products, cybertheft, and disinformation. Most importantly, the EU needs to address the digital divide.
Therefore, over the next decade – the digital decade – the EU’s vision is for a digital world that empowers people and businesses, and that is shaped around a human-centred, sustainable and more prosperous approach.
The digital compass sets out objectives to achieve the EU’s vision for the digital future. It uses the four points of the compass to identify the main goals to reach over the next decade:
- a digitally skilled population and highly skilled digital professionals
- secure and substantial digital infrastructures
- digital transformation of businesses
- digitisation of public sectors
Key policy areas to ensure these goals are met include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, digital identities, data, and connectivity.
The digital compass can also support the EU in meeting objectives in the European Green Deal, helping Europe to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Digital technologies help to reduce environmental impact significantly. For example, the widespread use of videoconferencing plays a part in reducing flight emissions. And, digital technologies play a role in creating a greener approach to agriculture, energy use in buildings, and more sustainable city planning.