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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Supporting industry

The EU supports businesses across Europe to adapt to the digital world by coordinating initiatives, focusing investments, and boosting skills.

    Person holding tablet overseeing manufacturing

© image by B4LLS Getty Images/iStock

There are two million companies in the EU, representing 33 million jobs, and contributing a significant amount to economic growth. Chances are, if you don’t work in industry yourself, you know someone who does. And, changes to industry affect us all. This section addresses industry in a broad sense, including such vertical sectors as manufacturing, mobility, energy and agriculture.

One big change that is sweeping through EU and global industry right now is digitisation – business and industry finding digital answers to their challenges. This change is affecting how businesses do business and how people do their jobs. 

The EU leads the digitisation of industry on many fronts but not everyone is at the same level. Smaller businesses, food and drink businesses, crafts, construction and publishing are among the types of businesses that are falling behind in using digital technologies to help their customers, and to manage what they do.

Global competition is also heating up, so to keep EU jobs safe and EU products and services at the high standards of quality and safety that we expect, EU industry cannot be left behind.

The EU is here to support businesses to adapt and move with the times. It has identified 5 strands to focus on to unlock the full potential of digitisation for businesses:

  1. establishing a European platform of national initiatives on digitising industry
  2. creating Digital Innovation Hubs
  3. strengthening leadership through partnerships and industrial platforms
  4. introducing a regulatory framework for the digital age
  5. preparing Europeans for the digital future

The EU’s support in digitising industry won’t only make life better for business – it will also help people and the environment. The EU supports projects that bring together technologies that can make sci-fi a reality. For example, EU projects are being developed to give you smart control over your energy use to help you to save money, to give you the self-driving car of your dreams, and to keep the food we grow and eat clean, green, and safe.

The EU's standardisation strategy will help businesses in the digital decade by ensuring interoperability of products and services, reducing costs, improving safety and fostering innovation. It will also support industry, in particular SMEs, to participate in standardisation. For example, by reinforcing building critical mass and contribution to standardisation in EU R&D&I programmes, like Horizon Europe or Digital Europe Programmes, and supporting the participation of EU experts in standardisation

As we head further into the 2020s, the EU’s support for the digitisation of industry and businesses will be guided by the vision of the Digital Decade, where thinking will focus on how technology can help people.

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