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Europe's Digital Decade

The EU will pursue a human-centric, sustainable vision for digital society throughout the digital decade to empower citizens and businesses.

European Union 2021

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:

  1. a digitally skilled population and highly skilled digital professionals;
  2. secure and substainable digital infrastructures;
  3. digital transformation of businesses;
  4. digitisation of public services.

Targets: 20 million employed ICT specialists, 80% adults with basic digital skills, Gigabit connectivity for everyone, 5G everywhere, double EU share in global production of semiconductors, 10 000 climate neutral edge nodes, first computer with quantum acceleration, 75% of companies using AI/cloud/big data, grow scaleups and finance for innovation, more than 90% SMEs with basic level of digital intensity, 100% online key public services, 100% availability of medical records online, 80% citizens using eID

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.

Read the press release on the communication.

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.

The yearly cooperation cycle   To monitor and evaluate progress leading to 2030,  the Commission will develop EU-level trajectories for each target together with the Member States.	The Member States will then draft national trajectories and strategic roadmaps to attain the targets  The annual cooperation cycle: Monitor progress based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) Evaluate progress and provide recommendations to Member States in the Report on the state of the Digital Decade Rep Engage in cooperative dialogue to identify deviations from the projected trajectories Adjust Member States’ strategic roadmaps to adapt planned actions at national levels Addresse insufficient progress through joint commitments, as well as through Multi-country Projects and actions at Union EU level

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

Download the factsheet 

Download the presentation 

Download the staff working document 

Multi-country projects

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.

common data infrastructure and services, blockchain, low-power processors, Pan-European deployment of 5G corridors, high-performance computing, secure quantum infrastructure and the network of cybersecurity centres, digital public administration, digital innovation hubs, or high tech partnerships for digital skills

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.


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