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 that need to be addressed during the digital decade. The EU must increase its strategic autonomy in tech and develop new rules and technologies to protect citizens from counterfeit products, cybertheft, and disinformation. Most importantly, the EU needs to address the digital divide.
The Digital Compass
The Communication ‘Digital Compass: The European Way for the Digital Decade’ set out digital ambitions for the next decade in the form of clear, concrete targets. The digital compass uses the 4 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 sustainable digital infrastructures;
- digital transformation of businesses;
- digitisation of public services.
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.
Policy Programme: a Path to the Digital Decade
The policy programme: a path to the digital decade aims to set up a governance framework to help achieve the 2030 digital decade targets. The framework will be based on projected trajectories and annual cooperation between the Commission and Member States.
The Commission would first develop projected EU trajectories for each target, to track progress towards the targets. In turn, the Member States would define national projected trajectories, where possible, and propose national strategic roadmaps, outlining their plans, to attain them. Progress along EU and national trajectories would be assessed yearly.
In view of preparing the proposal for the policy programme: a path to the digital decade, the Commission carried out a targeted consultation. The summary report takes stock of the contributions and presents preliminary trends.
Find out more about the policy programme
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.
Digital Rights and Principles
The Commission proposed a declaration on digital rights and principles in January 2022. The draft 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.
The European Parliament and the Council will discuss the draft Declaration, and endorse it at the highest level in a solemn signature.