In Brussels today, Commissioner László Andor spoke at the Microsoft event on how information and communication technologies (ICT) can fuel the EU economy. He outlined the “huge potential in working together and harnessing both public and private resources to get through the crisis and ensure a job-rich growth”.
Talking to some 200 representatives of businesses and media, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion stressed the need to “focus on both short-term and long-term measures to ensure stability and boost job creation”.
Besides stricter economic governance at EU level which will underpin growth and jobs in the long run, Mr Andor warned about the need for “immediate action to restore confidence on the EU economy”, as set out in the 2012 Annual Growth Survey package adopted last year.
“To step up job-creation capacity and maintain the bemployability of those without jobs, the Commission needs to work with companies like Microsoft to help businesses survive or be established”, said Mr Andor. “Companies play an important role in making their needs clear and helping the Commission to determine demand”, he added.
The Commissioner took the opportunity to introduce the EU’s initiatives to encourage mobility and skills matching – Agenda for New Skills and Jobs – and to improve education and employment for young people – Youth on the Move and the recent Youth Opportunities Initiative .
Sectors with significant employment potential like the ICT can contribute to improve productivity and competitiveness. “I was struck to learn though that some 30% of Europeans have never used the Internet. There is room for action by the private sector here”, Mr Andor said.
According to research by Oxford Economics, growth in spending in the ICT sector from 2010 to 2013 could lead to the creation of more than half a million new jobs and over 10 000 new businesses, as well as generating more than two billion Euros in taxes annually.