The European Commission’s Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) is supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians through a variety of actions. The main objective of our work is to re-establish connectivity infrastructures, and ensure businesses can continue operating. This supports the wider work of the European Commission in tackling Russia’s military aggression.
It is essential that refugees fleeing Ukraine have access to affordable connectivity to keep in touch with family and friends, and find out the latest information. The European Commission and European Parliament helped to coordinate steps to ensure this with telecom operators from the EU and Ukraine. They issued a statement outlining coordinated efforts to secure and stabilise affordable or free roaming and international calls between the EU and Ukraine. Although the initial agreement was only for 3 months, the Commission has called on telecoms operators in the EU and Ukraine to prolong their agreement.
A report from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) mentions that, as of July 2022, 80 EU mobile operators were offering free international calls to Ukraine and a further 44 offered calls at a lower price. Furthermore, 55 European operators provide free roaming to subscribers travelling in Ukraine. EU operators also helped to establish Wi-Fi hotspots for refugees, and distributed over 2.5 million SIM cards between March and May 2022.
The Commission also authorised the national regulatory authority of Ukraine to participate in BEREC. BEREC’s aim is to ensure the consistent application of the electronic communications laws in Europe, notably via opinions and guidelines.
The European Commission signed an agreement to associate Ukraine to the Digital Europe Programme in September 2022. Ukrainian businesses, organisations and public administrations will be able to benefit from the funding and support of the programme in areas such as supercomputing, artificial intelligence, and digital skills. They will also be able to participate in Digital Innovation Hubs – one-stop shops that help companies dynamically respond to the digital challenges and become more competitive.
The European Commission and French Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised an event on continued support for Ukraine’s digital sector at the Digital Assembly 2022, held on 21-22 June.
The Tech4UA event saw the launch of a digital tech hub for equipment donations to Ukraine. Based in Slovakia, the hub will reduce red tape at the border for companies donating equipment. Participants also agreed to offer EU-level coordination for technical support.
The Commission also launched the EUTech4Ukraine Futurium Community at the Digital Assembly. This community aims to bring together stakeholders, encourage discussions, and share information about new measures to support Ukrainian refugees, companies and government in the digital field.
Laptops for Ukraine
Laptops for Ukraine aims to collect and deliver laptops, smartphones and laptops for schools, hospitals and public administrations in Ukraine’s most affected war regions.
At present, about 70,000 teachers are in need of laptops, and schools are in need of digital devices to ensure children can keep learning. And, there is a demand for laptops and devices across other vital sectors.
Organisations, companies and individuals based in Belgium can donate devices via Digital Europe. Donations can include new or used devices, as long as they are functioning. Other donation hubs will be set up in due course.
Companies wishing to make larger donations can do so directly through the EU civil protection mechanism.
So far, the Commission has helped to ship 12,000 donated devices to Ukraine through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. A further 13,000 devices will be transported in the coming weeks.
The initiative is organised by the European Commission, the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation and Digital Europe, a European organisation representing the digital technology industry.
Supporting Culture and learning
The European Competence Centre for cultural Heritage (4CH) worked with partners to create the Supporting Ukrainian Monuments initiative. This initiative helps to digitise and preserve Ukrainian cultural heritage for future generations.
Organised by Professor Franco Niccolucci, Director of VAST-LAB, the Save Ukrainian Monuments initiative is supported by the European Commission, the Ukrainian embassy to Italy, the Italian Ministry of Research and many Ukrainian ministers.
Levebee, an app developed with help from an EU-funded project, is now available in Ukrainian. This will support remote learning for children displaced by war. Its content includes, maths, and languages.
Find out more about actions to support culture
Disinformation is false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain, and which may cause public harm.
The European Commission has worked to tackle disinformation for some time, in particular with signatories of the code of practice on disinformation. The signatories are heavily involved in taking urgent action to limit disinformation related to the war in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the Commission introduced measures to suspend the broadcasting activities of Russia Today, Sputnik, Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24/Russia 24, and TV Centre International in or directed at the EU. These state-owned, pro-Kremlin outlets are essential and instrumental in supporting Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and spreading disinformation.
The European Union works with countries around the world and international organisations to ensure technology helps to improve lives everywhere.
Through digital partnerships, the EU can strengthen connectivity across the world.
As more countries are inspired by the European digital model, European companies have more opportunities to do business, creating more jobs for citizens.