Cohesion Policy Making Europe fit for the digital age
EU Cohesion Policy makes a key contribution to making Europe fit for the digital age, in particular through significant financial allocations from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), totalling around EUR 20 billion over the current investment period 2014-2020
- Status of implementation and achievements
- ICT thematic objective
- Data Story on digital investments
- Project examples
Cohesion Policy also helps improving the strategic policy frameworks for digital investments; The EU countries and regions developped digital growth strategies and broadband plans for the 2014-2020 ERDF investments. For the 2021-2027 ERDF programmes, the up-dating of the national or regional broadband plans in line with the European Electronic Communications Code are an enabling condition.
- The focus of digital investments under Cohesion Policy is to overcome the digital divide both socially, economically and geographically, by reaping the benefits of digitisation for citizens, companies and governments so that no EU region is left behind, in particular by: Supporting digitalisation of firms, including the take up of AI and other advanced digital technologies, Digital Innovation Hubs, and digital start-ups, Fostering research and innovation related to digital technologies (see background on Smart Specialisation Strategies),Fostering the roll-out of broadband in remote and rural regions,Improving access to e-government, e-health, and digital skills, Enhancing the digital transition of cities via the Urban Agenda for the EU.
In view of experimenting with new approaches and for the preparation of the Cohesion Policy programmes 2021-2027, the Commission launched:
- Interregional partnerships along digital value chains under the Thematic Smart Specialisation Platforms and pilots for interregional innovation investments. For example on 3D printing, cybersecurity, High Tech Farming, AI and human-machine interfaces, or traceability and big data. A Pilot Action for Regions in Industrial Transition in which the role of digital technologies and automation is addressed, together with globalisation, decarbonisation and skills issues (see OECD report).