The European Commission proposed a course towards the digital decade, a specific plan to achieve the digital transformation of EU society and economy by 2030, with a specific delivery mechanism.
Among other things, it will establish a governance framework based on an annual mechanism for cooperation with Member States to achieve the 2030 goals for the digital decade in the fields of digital skills, digital infrastructure, digitisation of businesses and public services. It also aims to implement large-scale digital projects with the participation of the Commission and the Member States.
The Commission considers that “digital progress in Member States has been uneven in recent years. The trend shows that the progress of the countries that were progressing at a slow pace five years ago has remained slow to date. With this new course towards the digital decade, there will be structured cooperation to achieve the agreed targets, while recognising the differences between member states’ starting points.
Specifically, the Commission proposes, a structured, transparent and common monitoring system based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) to measure progress towards the goals of 2030, including key performance indicators (KPIs), as well as annual report on the ‘State of the Digital Decade’, in which the Commission will assess progress and make recommendations for actions.Also, multi-annual strategic roadmaps for the digital decade by Member State, in which member states will describe the policies and measures they have adopted or planned to support the goals of 2030, a structured annual framework to discuss and address areas where insufficient progress is being made, through recommendations and joint commitments between the Commission and member states.Finally, a mechanism to support the implementation of multi-country projects.
Initially, the Commission will develop projected courses in the EU for each objective, together with the Member States, which in turn will propose national strategic roadmaps to achieve them. Every year, the Commission will report on the ‘State of the Digital Decade’ to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
As for large-scale multi-country projects, which no single Member State could develop on its own, the Commission has identified an initial list of different areas for investment: data infrastructures, low-consumption processors, 5G communications, high performance computing, secure quantum communication, public administration, blockchain technologies, digital innovation hubs and investing in people’s digital skills.
Multi-country projects will draw investments from EU financial resources, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility, as well as Member States. Where appropriate, other public and private bodies may invest in the projects. The Commission, acting as the accelerator of multi-country projects and in order to ensure broad participation and successful implementation, will provide guidance on the implementation mechanisms and assist their implementation. The programme foresees a new legal structure, the European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC), which allows the fast and flexible organisation and implementation of multi-country projects.