The Path to the Digital Decade: how to underpin European competitiveness

15 Nov 2021

During the State of the Union, President von der Leyen announced the Path to the Digital Decade as a key initiative to promote digital transformation, address growing needs of digitalization and shape universal standards.

The Path addresses the targets to achieve in ten years in the following fields:

  • Digital skills:
    • Adults with basic digital skills: from 56% to 80%
    • Employed ICT specialists: from 8.4 million to 20 million
  • Digital infrastructures:
    • Gigabit network coverage: from 59% yo 100% of households
    • 5G coverage: from 14% yo 100% of populated areas
    • The EU production of semiconductors, including processors: from 10% yo 20% of world production in value
  • Digital transformation of businesses
    • Cloud computing services: from 26% to 75%
    • Big data: from 14% to 75%
    • Artificial Intelligence: from 25% to 75%
    • Online access to key public services (related to career, studying, family, regular business operations, moving): from 75% to 100% citizens

Cooperation among MSs remains as an essential tool to achieve the Digital Decade objectives in:

  • High-tech partnerships for digital skills through the Pact for Skills;
  • European Digital Innovation Hubs;
  • Pan-European deployment of 5G corridors;
  • European Common Data Infrastructure and Services;
  • Endow the EU with the next generation of low power trusted processors;
  • Acquiring supercomputers and quantum computers, connected with the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking;
  • Connected Public Administration;
  • European Blockchain Services Infrastructure

The Commission will be the institution in charge of coordination. The Commission will assess the viability of proposed multi-country projects. After that, the Commission will advise on the possibilities for implementation of the multi-country project with the participating MSs. As a final step, the Commission will support the implementation of projects by providing technical assistance services, expertise, and the exchange of best practice.

The Path creates a yearly cooperation cycle to monitor and evaluate progress leading to 2030. The aim of the annual cooperation will be focused on:

  • Address insufficient progress through joint purpose, as well as through multi-country project and actions at European level
  • Evaluate progress and provide recommendations to MSs in the Digital Decade Report
  • Monitor progress based on DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index)
  • Engage in cooperative dialogue to identify deviations from the projected trajectories
  • Adjust MSs path to adapt planned actions at national levels

As next steps, the Commission will approve a joint declaration along with European Parliament and European Council to identify a set of digital principles and rights including:

  • Protection of the intellectual creation of individuals in the online space
  • Accessible digital public services and administration
  • Protection of personal data and privacy
  • Universal digital education and skills
  • Ethical principles for human-centred algorithms
  • Access to digital health services

European Commission (2021). Policy Programme: a Path to the Digital Decade.
European Commission (2021). 2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade.
European Commission (2021). State of the Union: Path to the Digital Decade.

Manuela Sánchez

Senior Public Affairs Consultant

Senior Consultant in the area of Public Affairs at LLYC. She is currently a PhD candidate in International Law. She holds a degree in Law and Political Science from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and the Université Libre de Bruxelles and a Master’s degree in Politics and Democracy. She is a specialist in Regulatory Analysis, International Law and Institutional Relations.