- Published on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 16:17
Who's in for some digital or what is the Digital Agenda for Europe?
Europe has faced the reality check: demographic ageing and global competition so they had to find a new way of making it to world wide (web). The only way of doing it is to work smarter. So, to put Europe on smart track to sustainable and inclusive growth, there are some measures that need to be done and of the first measures is called the Digital Agenda for Europe.
What is the Digital Agenda and why do we need it?
First of all, Digital Agenda is not made yesterday nor last year, the planning has been going on for quite some time. To be specific, it was launched in May in 2010 and it's the first of seven flagships initiatives under Europe 2020, which will help Europe to reebot the economy and help Europe's citizens and business to get the most out of digital technologies. And you'll probably ask yourself now: "Wow, and how will they do that?" Well, they did review it in December of 2012, identifying the 7 key areas which should stimulate the conditions to create growth and jobs in Europe, which are:
- Create a new and stable broadband regulatory environment.
- New public digital service infrastructures through Connecting Europe Facility loans
- Launch Grand Coalition on Digital Skills and Jobs
- Propose EU cyber-security strategy and Directive
- Update EU's Copyright Framework
- Accelerate cloud computing through public sector buying power
- Launch new electronics industrial strategy – an "Airbus of Chips"
What will that mean to any of us?
The fact is that the ICT sector is directly responsible for 5% of European GDP, and the value of that market is € 660 billion annually, but it includes more of contribution to overall growth (it goes 20% directly from the ICT sector and 30% from ICT investments).
If the Digital Agenda goes fully updated into the 2020 Initiative, it would increase European GDP by 5% and over the next 8 years it would mean in increasing the investments in ICT and improving the skills in the labour force, reforming the framework conditions for the brand new internet economy.
In terms of jobs, well, the numbers are high. The predicitions are it will bring up to 3.8 million new jobs throughout the economy in the long term.
Let's get back to the aims of Digital Agenda. What those 7 key areas really means, and in which specific fields will it impact?
Their targets are precisely separated in 7 pillars and 101 actions. Every pillar has its own action agenda.
Pillars include: digital single, interoperability and standards, trust and securit, fast and ultra-fast Internet, research and innovation, enhancing digital literacy, skills and inclusion, ICT - enabled benefits for EU society.
Digital Agenda is trully a long-term agenda (2020) but they put some specific deadline for their very ambitious goals if they really want to push Europe to stand in line with Asia, or USA.
As the track has to be smart, also the goals can be measured:
- the entire EU to be covered by broadband by 2013
- the entire EU to be covered by broadband above 30% by 2020
- 50 % of the EU to subscribe to broadband above100 Mbps by 2020
- 50 % of the population to buy online by 2015
- 20 % of the population to buy online cross-border by 2015
- 33 % of SMEs to make online sales by 2015
- the difference between roaming and national tariffs to approach zero by 2015
- to increase internet usage from 60 % to 75 % by 2015, and from 41 % to 60 % among disadvantaged people
- to halve the proportion of the population that has never used the internet from 30 % to 15 % by 2015
- 50 % of citizens to use eGovernment by 2015, with more than half returning completed forms
- all key cross-border public services, to be agreed by Member States in 2011, to be available online by 2015
- to double public investment in ICT R&D to € 11 bn by 2020
- to reduce energy use of lighting by 20% by 2020
They already put the mid-term review, and the best part is you can track everything on the Digital Agenda scoreboard and you can see how every country is progressing towards the Digital Agenda targets or how digital is country X, you can also explore graphs; there are interactive graphs which can help you to compare within another countries and accross time.
Who's behind it?
Digital Agenda is managed by the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect), with the women in charge, one of the vice - presidents of European Commission - Neelie Kroes.
She is proponent of Free and Open Source Software. Of course, you can check her Twitter and Facebook account, which I would say isn't that popular for a woman who's been handling the digital agenda of whole Europe. Neither is the Facebook page of Digital Agenda itself, if you take a look. Obviously, they're so focused on achieving these goals that they don't have to time to endorse themselves and their work properly or people in general are not aware of the Digital Agenda.
What’s in it for me
And before you make any conclusion of your own, it's worth mentioning the todays standing points of Digital Agenda: somewhere before Christmas in 2012. They’ve launched Open data portal, which main assignment is to show its commitment to the principles of openness and transparency in their further progress. You can test the beta version here and if you want to express your opionin or get involved you can do it here.
Don't forget, this is a long-term step. It should have been done earlier but probably no one in Europe (and by Europe I’m reffering to Brussels) really considered digital as their main competitive strenght plant that needs watering. It's easy to be wise after the event, but this is a great opportunity to use all the tools and benefits that Digital Agenda is providing. Also, we have already started. The Startup scene is hitting off pretty hard, which shows that Digital Agenda is doing a good job by pushing the “Startup in Europe, stay in Europe” action, to provide new jobs for young people and their businesses in order to help transform the economy and society. So obviously, there are jobs actually lying around out there, which bring me back to fundamental question; what are you waiting for?
Sanja Nikolić, Digital Account Manager