Digital society and 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 digital transformation. The digital world should be based on European values – where no one is left behind, everyone enjoys freedom, protection and fairness. Europe’s Digital Decade is where everyone has the skills to use everyday technology. Even small businesses use technology to make better business decisions, interact with their customers or improve parts of their business operations. Connectivity reaches people living in villages, mountains and remote areas, so everyone can reach online opportunities and participate in the benefits of the digital society. Key public services and administrative procedures are online for the convenience of citizens and businesses.
The Digital Decade is a comprehensive framework that will guide all actions related to digital. The aim of the Digital Decade is to ensure all aspects of technology and innovation work for people.
The framework for the Digital Decade includes the Digital Decade policy programme, the Digital Decade targets, the objectives, the multi-country projects and the Digital Decade rights & principles:
- The Digital Decade targets are measurable goals for each of the four areas: connectivity, digital skills, digital business and digital public services.
- The Digital Decade objectives will guide Member State actions. The Commission will inform about the Member States’ actions in the annual report.
- The Digital Decade policy programme will allow the EU and the Member States to work together to reach the Digital Decade targets and its objectives. It lays down a mechanism to monitor progress towards 2030. Every year, the Commission will publish a report to take stock of the progress made.
- The multi-country projects will allow Member States to pool investments and launch large-scale, cross-border projects.
- The Digital Decade rights and principles reflect EU values, which have to be respected in the digital world.
Targets and objectives
The Digital Decade policy programme sets out digital ambitions for the next decade in the form of clear, concrete targets. The main goals can be summarised in 4 points:
- a digitally skilled population and highly skilled digital professionals;
- secure and sustainable digital infrastructures;
- digital transformation of businesses;
- digitalisation of public services.
Alongside the targets, the Digital Decade objectives will ensure that the digital transformation in Europe benefits all people. The objectives can be summarised as follows:
- A safe & secure digital world
- Everyone can participate in digital opportunities / no one is left behind
- Small businesses and industry have access to data
- Start-ups & SMEs have access to digital tech
- Innovative infrastructures converge to work together
- SMEs can compete in the digital world on fair terms
- Public services are readily available online
- Research is focussed on developing and measuring the impact of sustainable, energy and resource efficient innovations
- All organisations can ensure cybersecurity
On the path towards the Digital decade, the Member States will report to the Commission about the planned actions that support the defined objectives.
Commission actions and policies in digital are already guided by these objectives and principles. As we will have more and more innovations, the Digital Decade framework will ensure that the European vision for the digital transformation is clear and widely supported by all future actions across Europe.
Policy Programme: measuring progress
The Digital Decade policy programme 2030 sets up a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to achieve the common objectives and targets for Europe's digital transformation.
As a first step under the policy programme, the Commission has now defined the key performance indicators (KPIs), in an implementing act. The KPIs are based on the preexisting DESI exercise that measures the state of the digital transformation in Europe each year. Then the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States has published the EU-level trajectories to assess whether the progress observed for each target is sufficient to reach the 2030 values. Each year the Commission will publish the State of the Digital Decade report in which it will measure and assess the progress towards the EU level trajectories and the ultimate Digital Decade targets and recommend further actions and efforts, where needed. The first State of the Digital Decade report was published in 2023.
Each Member State will define its own national trajectories that are necessary to reach the common EU trajectories and targets. The national trajectories will be defined in the first national roadmaps that the Member States will submit to the Commission in Autumn 2023. The Member States will review and revise their national roadmaps every two years to inform about the planned actions, measures and investments they will undertake to achieve the objectives and targets.
Multi-country projects are large-scale projects that can contribute to achieving the digital decade targets. They will allow Member States to come together and pool resources to build digital capacities that they would not be able to develop on their own.
The Commission has identified an initial list of areas for multi-country projects and may update the list, if needed, based on the annual progress monitoring.
Multi-country projects should pool investments from EU funding resources, including from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, as well as from the Member States. Other public and private entities may invest in the projects where appropriate.
The Commission will help Member States identify, set-up and implement multi-country projects. To set-up a multi-country project where there is no other legal instrument, the policy programme foresees a new legal structure, the European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC) which will enable swift and flexible implementation.
A first status report of the Union’s progress towards the implementation of multi-country projects.
Digital Rights and Principles
The declaration on digital rights and principles was signed at the highest level by the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council. The Declaration covers key rights and principles for the digital transformation. It is shaped around 6 chapters:
- putting people and their rights at the centre of the digital transformation;
- supporting solidarity and inclusion;
- ensuring the freedom of choice online;
- fostering participation in the digital public space;
- increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals;
- promoting the sustainability of the digital future