The EU has announced the DIGITALEUROPE programme, a new funding initiative to support digital and technological developments across Europe.
The DIGITALEUROPE programme, designed to encourage wider digitisation and uptake of new technological advances, will concentrate funding in five key areas:
- Advanced digital skills;
- Widening societal use of digital technology; and
- Artificial intelligence (AI).
Norbert Hofer, Austria’s Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology and President of the Council, said: “The DIGITALEUROPE programme will help ensure that the benefits of the digital transformation will reach all citizens and businesses. It will boost investment in crucial areas such as cutting-edge cybersecurity tools and artificial-intelligence-based innovations.”
The DIGITALEUROPE programme will fund the development of high performance computing, cyber defence and advanced digital skills in Member States, boosting the interoperability of public services and implementing digital transformation within public administration bodies across the EU. The programme will be complementary to other EU-based digital enhancement funding schemes such as Horizon Europe and the Connecting Europe Facility.
Artificial intelligence testing facilities will be made available to a wider range of public authorities and businesses of any size, in order to help accelerate the uptake of AI as a tool to facilitate business and administration; while the DIGITALEUROPE programme will increase investment in research and development to ensure the EU remains a contender in the global race to dominate the field of artificial intelligence.
The text approved on Tuesday by the Council of Europe, which will form the basis of its negotiations with the European Parliament on the implementation of the DIGITALEUROPE programme, lays out clarified terms of the implementation and delivery of the programme. Guidelines have been drawn up to specify which aspects of the programme will be implemented primarily by the European Commission and which aspects will be passed to a joint undertaking.
Government Europa Quarterly interviewed Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl of DIGITALEUROPE at the ICT2018 conference in Vienna. The interview will appear in full in Government Europa Quarterly 29, out in May 2019.