Brigitte Zypries, parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, and Commissioner Günther Oettinger have discussed Europe's way towards a digital data economy at a conference on Smart Data in Berlin.

State secretary Zypries commented: "Big Data Technologies contain huge potential for Europe. They improve and accelerate decisions, optimise business processes and are a key ingredient for a European Digital Single Market. In Germany alone, companies have generated more than 6 billion EUR with Big Data solutions in the last year. With the programme "Smart Data" we fund the development and experimentation of innovative services through Big Data technologies, in particular for SMEs, via 13 lighthouse projects  . Through that, we wish to kick-off the early and broad take-up of intelligent technologies in the fields of industry, mobility, energy and health".

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society said "With the internet revolution, the global economy is becoming more and more digital. The data-intensive sectors of the economy are growing by 40% per year, 7 times quicker than the overall (ICT) market. Businesses that base decision-making on data analysis see a 5-6% yearly increase in productivity. The digital economy is a growth engine for Europe. The big data phenomenon has undeniable effects on business efficiency, innovation and creation and is predicted to spur hundreds and thousands of new jobs across Europe in the coming years. This means that the freedoms of the European single market have to also go digital. Our vision is to create a Digital Single Market which transposes the strengths of the European Single Market to the data-driven economy."

About Smart Data – Innovation through Data

With the technology programme "Smart Data – Innovation through Data", the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Industry funds 13 lighthouse projects between 2015 and 2018 with 30 Million EUR. Their aim is to unlock the potential of Big Data technologies for the German economy. The participating enterprises and organisations contribute additional 25 Million EUR so that the programme reaches a joint volume of 55 Million EUR. The programme's focus is on applications for industry, mobility, energy and health. Smart Data is part of the new high-tech strategy and the digital agenda of the German government.

Further information on the Smart Data technology programme:

A thriving European data-driven economy

In July 2014, the European Commission presented its strategy to accelerate the development of a data-driven economy.The Commission will use its full range of policy and legal tools, and invest in research and innovation to support the European data community and develop the appropriate legal environment for a thriving data-driven economy.

As part of this, in October 2014, the Commission and representatives of the EU data industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up the Big Data Value public-private partnership. This public-private partnership will help focus public, private and academic research efforts to support research and innovation in game-changing big data ideas in fields such as energy, manufacturing and health to deliver services like personalised medicine, food logistics and predictive analytics. Investments are expected to reach around EUR 2.5 billion over 2016-2020. The Commission has earmarked around EUR 500 million in Horizon 2020. Each euro of that EU investment is expected to trigger additional four euros of private sector investment (around EUR 2 billion).

To help identify the policy and legal framework, in 2015, the European Commission is consulting  a number of key stakeholders both from the public and private sector. Its aim is to get a better understanding of emerging new business models which result from the increased application of data analytics tools and methods, and also to understand how the EU policies and legislation can and should be adapted to the requirements of the continuously evolving data economy