--- Posted by Jorgen Gren, DG CONNECT, Head of the "Growth & Jobs" unit
As many of you will know, the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) was launched in May 2010, as an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, to stimulate Europe's economy and help Europe's citizens and businesses get the most out of digital technologies.
Two years on, great progress has been made. More than 45% of the DAE's 101 actions have been completed, and others will soon be. We are well on the way to meeting many of the DAE's key targets. For example, regular internet usage is rising steadily, especially among disadvantaged groups: regular internet users currently represent 67.5% of the population, up from 65% in 2010 and the good news is that we are likely to meet our target of regular internet use by 75% of the population one year ahead of our 2015 schedule. Broadband penetration levels continue to rise and the rate of penetration is also increasing: the EU broadband market continued to grow in 2011 with some 6.7 million new lines - representing 5% year-on-year growth. Online purchases continue to increase, although the pace of growth in cross-border eCommerce remains too slow – 9% against target of 20%.
Why a review now and what it is all about? The review responds to the fast pace of change in ICT and the appearance of new challenges and opportunities such as cloud computing. It identifies 7 key areas, and presents in each of them an initiative, or key transformative action, which could deliver significant results.
For the Digital Single Market, the Commission will complete the on-going review of the Copyright Framework.
For Digital public services, the Commission will develop and implement public digital service infrastructures, policy and support in the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility.
For Broadband, the Commission will propose durable regulatory measures on non-discrimination and wholesale pricing to promote investments in high-speed networks and strengthen competition across all networks.
For Cloud computing, the Commission will launch pilot actions in the European Cloud Partnership, harnessing public buying power to help create the world's largest cloud-enabled ICT market, dismantling current national fortresses and negative consumer perceptions.
For Trust & Security, the Commission will propose a Directive on network and information security.
For Entrepreneurship, Digital jobs and Skills, the Commission will launch the 'Grand Coalition on Digital Skills and Jobs' to address the shortage of ICT professionals.
And for Key Enabling Technologies, the Commission will propose an industrial strategy for micro- and nano-electronics, to increase Europe's attractiveness for investment in design and production as well as growing its global market share.
How about the original targets of the DAE then? They will all remain valid, as will the original set of 101 actions - the implementation of which is still a priority. What we call the key transformative actions will complement, and not replace, the original actions.
By refocusing the Digital Agenda, I believe the review will help to further stimulate the digital economy. Full implementation of the updated DAE would enhance growth, with a 5% expected increase of European GDP by 2020. And employment would be boosted, with 1.2 million jobs expected to be created in infrastructure construction in the short term, rising to 3.8 million jobs throughout the economy in the long term.
The DAE review is not merely a review of past achievements; it is a forward-looking blueprint to tackle current and emerging problems.