The EU has proposed the creation of the first ever Digital Europe investment programme, to expand support for digital capabilities in the next multiannual financial framework.
By creating the first ever Digital Europe investment programme, the new proposal would further the implementation of the European Commission’s digital single market strategy, and help the bloc to respond to the growing role of digital technologies and accompanying challenges in the future.
The programme would seek to secure the EU’s innovation capacity and competitiveness in the digital sector, by avoiding a growing investment gap not addressed by the current budget. The programme would prioritise investment in a number of sectors, including improving digital skills, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.
How would the first ever Digital Europe investment programme function?
The proposed programme would provide a total of €9.2bn over the period 2021-2027, the duration of the next multiannual financial framework, which would be arranged according to five of the EU’s key priorities in digitisation. The proposal includes:
- €2.7bn to expand and strengthen Europe’s supercomputing and data processing capabilities;
- €2bn to safeguard and reinforce cyber defence, and grow the EU’s cybersecurity industry;
- €2.5bn to capitalise on the transformative potential of artificial intelligence across a broad range of sectors;
- €1.3bn to support the widespread digitisation of public services and administration to ensure EU-wide interoperability; and
- €700m to enable Europeans to learn new digital skills, including through long and short-term training courses and vocational education.
This structure will enable significant developments across the entirety of European society, and if successful could ultimately facilitate the rapid expansion of the digital single market.
Why is this a commission priority?
European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, emphasised the potential for Europe to become a world leader in the growth of digitisation, but stressed that a strong, bespoke investment programme is vital to this effort.
She explained: “Having the first pan-European digital programme is a major step for strengthening Europe’s world leadership in the digital transformation. We will invest in key strategic digital capacities, such as artificial intelligence, high performance computing and cybersecurity, and, as is the case with all our digital initiatives, European citizens will stay at the heart of this programme.”