The EU now has the ability to increase its global competitiveness in the digital field, and to develop its strategic digital capacities. The Socialists and Democrats fought hard for proper financing for the Digital Europe Programme, linked to the Union’s seven-year budget and in line with our climate targets, and the European Parliament has today confirmed the final version.
Carlos Zorrinho MEP, S&D negotiator on the file, said:
“The approval of the Digital Europe Programme is important for the volume of investment it contains, amounting to €7.588 billion, and for its scientific and technological priorities. However it is also important because it is embedded in the common values of the European Union and in an ethical commitment of reference, which will allow us to affirm the geopolitical relevance of the EU in the second wave of digitalisation, helping to make it more democratic, green and inclusive.
“With its decentralised and networked model of implementation, I would also like to highlight the contribution that this programme will make to reducing digital exclusion, developing skills and promoting cohesion and convergence between the various territories of the European Union.”
Dan Nica MEP, S&D spokesman on research and innovation, said:
“This programme aims to make Europe more autonomous and independent from other global players on key technologies, such as artificial intelligence or supercomputing. We cannot let the pandemic slow us down. We need to invest now in technologies if we want to remain competitive on the global scene. To achieve that, we must first reduce the digital divide between our own member states, increase cohesion between territories and provide more help to the areas that are lagging behind. These points were already agreed upon; now we must take concrete actions to tackle them. We want a competitive digital Europe that can speak with one voice on all digital issues.”
Ismail Ertug MEP, S&D vice-president in charge of digital issues, said:
“Of the ten most valuable digital startups in the world, not a single one is based in the EU. And the coronavirus crisis has only reinforced the need for the digital transformation. With a show of strength, we want to take Europe to the digital top. With the Digital Europe Programme, we are investing almost €7.6 billion in the important areas of high-performance computing and data processing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and advanced digital skills in the private and public sectors. Cybersecurity is the foundation for successful digitisation. We need to protect our data, but also our democracies.
“Without the acquisition of advanced digital skills for current and future workers, there will be no successful digitisation. We invest in people. With the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH), we are facilitating access to digital capacities, technologies and know-how for all companies, especially SMEs.”
Note to editors:
The agreed budget of the programme amounts to €7,588,000,000 for the 2021-2027 period and is to be spent on five areas:
- High-performance computing – €2,226,914,000 (for projects to build-up and strengthen supercomputing and data processing in Europe)
- Artificial intelligence (AI) – €2,061,956,000 (to help spread AI across the European economy and society)
- Cybersecurity and trust – €1,649,566,000 (boosting cyberdefence and the EU’s cybersecurity industry)
- Digital skills – €577,347,000 (for advanced digital skills)
- Digital transformation of public administration and interoperability – €1,072,217,000 (digital transformation of public services and their EU-wide interoperability).