On 9 March 2021, the European Commission presented a vision and avenues for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030. The Commission proposes a Digital Compass for the EU's digital decade that evolves around four cardinal points:
The Commission will pursue the EUʼs digital ambitions for 2030 through concrete terms
- targets at EU level and projected trajectories at EU and national level
- a robust joint governance framework to monitor progress and address insufficiencies
- multi-country projects combining investments from the EU, Member States and the private sector
Digital citizenship: rights and principles for Europeans
On 26 January 2022, the Commission proposed an inter-institutional solemn declaration on digital rights and principles for the digital decade.
The digital rights and principles outlined in the declaration will complement existing rights, such as those rooted in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, and data protection and privacy legislation. They will provide a reference framework for citizens on their digital rights, as well as guidance for EU Member States and for companies when dealing with new technologies. They are intended to help everyone in the EU get the most out of the digital transformation.
The proposed rights and principles are
- Putting people and their rights at the centre of the digital transformation
- Supporting solidarity and inclusion
- Ensuring freedom of choice online
- Fostering participation in the digital public space
- Increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals
- Promoting the sustainability of the digital future
The Commission will provide an assessment of the implementation of the digital principles in the annual State of the Digital Decade report. The Commission will also conduct an annual Eurobarometer survey to monitor the follow-up measures in the Member States. The Eurobarometer will collect qualitative data, based on citizens’ perception of how the digital principles are put into practice in various Member States. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will discuss the proposal before adoption.
The Path to the Digital Decade
The policy programme Path to the Digital Decade sets up a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to achieve the common objectives and targets for Europe's digital transformation. This governance framework is based on an annual cooperation mechanism involving the Commission and Member States. The Commission will first develop projected EU trajectories for each target together with the Member States, which would in turn propose national strategic roadmaps to attain them.
The cooperation mechanism would consist of
• a structured, transparent and shared monitoring system based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) to measure progress towards each of the 2030 targets
• an annual ‘Report on the state of the Digital Decade’ in which the Commission evaluates progress and provides recommendations for actions
• multiannual Digital decade strategic roadmaps in which the Member States outline adopted or planned policies and measures in support of the 2030 targets
• a structured framework to discuss and address areas of insufficient progress through joint commitments between the Commission and the Member States;
• a mechanism to support the implementation of multi-country projects
To reach the digital targets and objectives, the European Commission will accelerate and facilitate the launch of multi-country projects, large-scale projects that no single Member State could develop on its own.
These projects could
- combine investments from the EU budget, including from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, from Member States, and the private sector
- address gaps in the identified critical capacities of the EU
- support an interconnected, interoperable and secure Digital Single Market
The Commission has identified an initial list of multi-country projects. This list includes areas for investment such as data infrastructure, low-power processors, 5G communication, high-performance computing, secure quantum communication, public administration, blockchain, digital innovation hubs and digital skills.
Example of a potential multi-country project
The EU could deploy a network of Security Operations Centres, powered by AI, to anticipate, detect and respond to cyberattacks at national and EU level.
The European Digital Infrastructure Consortium is a new instrument to help interested Member States speed up and simplify the implementation of multi-country projects.
- 20% Percentage of the Recovery and Resilience Facility each EU country should dedicate to the digital transition
International partnerships for the Digital Decade
The EU will promote its human-centred digital agenda on the global stage and promote alignment or convergence with EU norms and standards. It will also ensure the security and resilience of its digital supply chains and deliver global solutions. These will be achieved by
Potential areas of partnership
- Use of technology to fight climate change and environmental challenges
The political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council is now subject to formal approval by the two co-legislators. Once approved, the Digital Decade policy programme will enter into force.
As a first step following the entry into force of the policy programme, the Commission will together with the Member States develop key performance indicators to measure progress towards the 2030 digital targets in preparation of the first annual report on the “State of the Digital Decade” to be adopted possibly already in June 2023. The indicators will be enshrined in an implementing act. Within nine months, the Member States shall present their first national strategic roadmaps, which will launch the cooperation cycle.