Why Europe’s Digital Decade Matters
By Josep Borrell, Margrethe Vestager  |  Jun 30, 2021
Why Europe’s Digital Decade Matters
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The European Commission’s unveiling last month of its vision of a European “digital decade,” with policy targets for 2030 focusing on the four cardinal issues of skills, infrastructure and capacities, public services, and the digitalization of business, shows the European Union aims to be at the forefront of the digital revolution. Digitalization is key to building economic and societal resilience and global influence in a world where geopolitical competition for techno-primacy means the EU vision of digitalization based on open societies, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms, trumps authoritarian systems that use digital technologies for surveillance and repression.

BRUSSELS - The European Commission presented its vision for a European ’digital decade’ last month. With policy targets for 2030 focusing on the four cardinal issues of skills, infrastructure and capacities, public services, and the digitalization of business, the European Union aims to be at the forefront of today’s digital revolution.

To ensure technology empowers citizens and businesses to build a more prosperous and inclusive society will require open and competitive markets. Enterprises of all sizes must have an equal opportunity to innovate and deliver their products and services to consumers.

More broadly, digitalization is now key to building economic and societal resilience and exercising global influence. Europe’s shared future is already taking shape in the digital domain. In a world marked by geopolitical competition for technological primacy, the EU must ensure its vision of digitalization, based on open societies, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms, proves its worth over that of authoritarian systems that use digital technologies as tools for surveillance and repression.

By boosting its own capabilities, the EU can help shape the world’s digital transformation for the better. The success of Europe’s digital decade will require the EU to forge strong alliances and working relationships with like-minded countries, both bilaterally and multilaterally. After all, reaping the full benefits of technological innovation requires maintaining an open digital economy in which investments can flow freely. Whether deploying digital health solutions, fighting terrorism, mitigating climate change, protecting biodiversity, or using technology to predict natural disasters and future pandemics, these will need much more international technological collaboration.

But digitalization carries serious risks, ranging from mass surveillance and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure to t

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