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Digital Agenda: How to harness digital advances in Europe's favour
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19/05/2010 00:00:00

The European Commission has today unveiled an ambitious strategy – the Digital Agenda for Europe - to boost Europe's prosperity and well-being by tapping into the potential of a digital economy. Already half of European productivity growth over the past 15 years has been driven by information and communications technologies. The Agenda outlines seven priority areas for action with emphasis on practical results like easier electronic payments and invoicing, rapid deployment of telemedicine, energy efficient lighting, fast and super-fast broadband for Europeans, including in remote areas. The Digital Agenda is the first of seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (see IP/10/225).

"We must put the interests of Europe's citizens and businesses at the forefront of the digital revolution and so maximise the potential of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to advance job creation, sustainability and social inclusion", said Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes. "The ambitious strategy set out today shows clearly where we need to focus our efforts in the years to come. To fully realise the potential of Europe's digital future we need the full commitment of Member States, the ICT sector and other vital economic players."

The Agenda identifies seven key areas: creating a digital Single Market, greater interoperability and better standards, boosting internet trust and security, much faster internet access, more investment in research and development, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and applying information and communications technologies to address challenges facing society like climate change and the ageing population.

Increase Europeans' access to fast and ultra fast internet

The 2020 target is internet speeds of 30 Mbps or above for all European citizens, with half European households subscribing to connections of 100Mbps or higher. Today only 1 percent of Europeans have a fast fibre-based internet connection, compared to 12 percent of Japanese and 15 percent of South Koreans. The Commission will among others explore how to attract investment in broadband through credit enhancement mechanisms and will give guidance on how to encourage investments in fibre-based networks. To promote the development of broadband networks, the European Commission will propose an ambitious European Spectrum Policy Programme later this year to increase the efficiency of radio spectrum management and maximise the benefits for consumers and industry.

Enhance trust and security

To help Europeans feel safer online, the Digital Agenda will strengthen EU rules on personal data protection, improve the eYou guide (www.eyouguide) - the digital guide to rights online - to make it more practical and user-friendly, and propose the creation of an EU-wide online resolution system for eCommerce transactions.

The Digital Agenda also aims to boost people's confidence to use the internet by ensuring a better coordinated European response to cyber-attacks, identity theft and spam.


Implementing the ambitious strategy unveiled today by the European Commission would contribute significantly to the EU's economic growth and spread the benefits of the digital era to all sections of society. The Digital Agenda foresees some 100 follow-up actions (see attached tables), of which 31 would be legislative.

A Digital Agenda press pack is available at:

Audio-visual stockshots are available at:

Further information in MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200.

    Annex 1: Key actions


    Planned delivery date

    A vibrant digital Single Market

    Key Action 1: Simplify copyright clearance, management and cross-border licensing by:



    •    Enhancing the governance, transparency and pan-European licensing for (online) rights management by proposing a framework Directive on collective rights management


    •    Creating a legal framework to facilitate the digitisation and dissemination of cultural works in Europe by proposing a Directive on orphan works, to conduct a dialogue with stakeholders with a view to further measures on out-of print works, complemented by rights information databases


    •    Reviewing the Directive on Re-Use of Public Sector Information, notably its scope and principles on charging for access and use.


    Key Action 2: Ensure the completion of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), eventually by binding legal measures fixing an end date for migration and facilitate the emergence of an interoperable European eInvoicing framework through a Communication on eInvoicing and by establishing a multistakeholder forum


    Key Action 3: Propose a revision of the eSignature Directive with a view to provide a legal framework for cross-border recognition and interoperability of secure eAuthentication systems


    Key Action 4: Review the EU data protection regulatory framework with a view to enhancing individuals' confidence and strengthening their rights


    Interoperability and standards

    Key Action 5: As part of the review of EU standardisation policy, propose legal measures on ICT interoperability to reform the rules on implementation of ICT standards in Europe to allow use of certain ICT fora and consortia standards


    Trust and security

    Key Action 6: Present measures aiming at a reinforced and high level Network and Information Security Policy, including legislative initiatives such as a modernised European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), and measures allowing faster reactions in the event of cyber attacks, including a CERT for the EU institutions


    Key Action 7: Present measures, including legislative initiatives, to combat cyber attacks against information systems by 2010, and related rules on jurisdiction in cyberspace at European and international levels by 2013

    2010  2013

    Fast and ultra fast internet access

    Key Action 8: Adopt a Broadband Communication that lays out a common framework for actions at EU and Member State to meet the Europe 2020 broadband targets, including:



    •    Reinforce and rationalise, in this framework, the funding of high-speed broadband through EU instruments (e.g. ERDF, ERDP, EAFRD, TEN, CIP) by 2014 and explore how to attract capital for broadband investments through credit enhancement (backed by the EIB and EU funds);


    •    Propose an ambitious European Spectrum Policy Programme in 2010 for decision by the European Parliament and the Council that will create a co-ordinated and strategic spectrum policy at EU level in order increase the efficiency of radio spectrum management and maximise the benefits for consumers and industry


    •    Issue a Recommendation in 2010 to encourage investment in competitive Next Generation Access networks through clear and effective regulatory measures


    Research and innovation

    Key Action 9: Leverage more private investment through the strategic use of pre-commercial procurement  and public-private partnerships , by using structural funds for research and innovation and by maintaining a pace of 20% yearly increase of the ICT R&D budget at least for the duration of FP7


    Enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion

    Key Action 10: Propose digital literacy and competences as a priority for the European Social Fund regulation (2014-2020)


    Key Action 11: Develop tools to identify and recognise the competences of ICT practitioners and users, linked to the European Qualifications Framework  and to EUROPASS  and develop a European Framework for ICT Professionalism to increase the competences and the mobility of ICT practitioners across Europe


    ICT-enabled benefits for EU society

    Key Action 12: Assess whether the ICT sector has complied with the timeline to adopt common measurement methodologies for the sector's own energy performance and greenhouse gas emissions and propose legal measures if appropriate


    Key Action 13: Undertake pilot actions to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data by 2015 and to achieve by 2020 widespread deployment of telemedicine services

    2015- 2020

    Key Action 14: Propose a Recommendation defining a minimum common set of patient data for interoperability of patient records to be accessed or exchanged electronically across Member States


    Key Action 15: Propose a sustainable model for financing the EU public digital library Europeana and digitisation of content


    Key Action 16: Propose a Council and Parliament Decision to ensure mutual recognition of e-identification and e-authentication across the EU based on online 'authentication services' to be offered in all Member States (which may use the most appropriate official citizen documents – issued by the public or the private sector)



    Annex 2: Key Performance Targets

    These indicators are mainly drawn from the Benchmarking framework 2011-2015 [1] endorsed by the EU Member States in November 2009.

    1.  Broadband targets:

    Basic broadband for all by 2013: basic broadband coverage for 100 percent of EU citizens. (Baseline: Total DSL coverage (as percentage of the total EU population) was at 93 percent in December 2008.)

    Fast broadband by 2020: broadband coverage at 30 Mbps or more for 100 percent of EU citizens. (Baseline: 23 percent of broadband subscriptions were with at least 10 Mbps in January 2010.)

    Ultra-fast broadband by 2020: 50percent of European households should have subscriptions above 100Mbps. (No baseline)

    2.  Digital Single Market:

    Promoting eCommerce: 50 percent of the population should be buying online by 2015. (Baseline: In 2009, 37 percent of the individuals aged 16-74 ordered goods or services for private use in the last 12 months.)

    Cross-border eCommerce: 20 percent of the population should buy cross border online by 2015. (Baseline: In 2009, 8 percent of the individuals aged 16-74 ordered goods or services from sellers from other EU countries in the last 12 months.)

    eCommerce for business: 33 percent of SMEs should conduct online purchases/sales by 2015. (Baseline: During 2008, 24 percent and 12 percent of enterprises was, respectively, purchasing/selling electronically, for an amount equal to or greater than 1 percent of the turnover/total purchases.

    Single Market for telecoms services: the difference between roaming and national tariffs should approach zero by 2015. (Baseline: In 2009, the roaming average price per minute was 0.38 cents (call made) and the average price per minute for all calls in the EU was 0.13 cents (roaming included).

    3.  Digital inclusion:

    Increase regular internet use from 60 percent to 75 percent by 2015 and from 41 percent to 60 percent for disadvantaged people. (Baseline figures are for 2009)

    Halve the proportion of population that has never used the internet by 2015 (to 15 percent). (Baseline: In 2009, 30 percent of individuals aged 16-74 had never used the internet.)

    4.  Public services:

    eGovernment by 2015: 50 percent of citizens using eGovernment, with more than half of them returning filled in forms. (Baseline: In 2009, 38 percent of individuals aged 16-74 had used eGovernment services in the last 12 months, and 47 percent of them used eGovernment services for sending filled forms.)

    Cross-border public services: by 2015 online availability of all the key cross-border public services contained in the list to be agreed by Member States by 2011. (No baseline)

    5.  Research & innovation:

    ICT R&D increase: Double public investment to Euro 11 billion. (Baseline: ICT government budget appropriations or outlays on R&D (ICT GBAORD) was 5.7 billion nominal Euro in 2007.)

    6.  Low Carbon Economy:

    Promotion of low energy lighting: By 2020 at least 20 percent overall reduction in energy use on lighting. (No baseline.)

    [1]               For more information see Benchmarking framework 2011-2015 ; This is a conceptual framework for collection of statistics on the information society as well as a list of core indicators for benchmarking.


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 30/10/2010  |Top