The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union yesterday reached a provisional political agreement on the first-ever Digital Europe programme, part of the EU’s long-term budget presented by the Commission.
The programme, proposed in June 2018, will invest in five key digital sectors: high performance computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and trust, advanced digital skills, and ensuring the wide use and deployment of digital technologies across the economy and society, in order to strengthen European industrial technological leadership. Welcoming the agreement, Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said, “The Digital Europe programme will invest in large-scale digital capacity and infrastructure building in the EU, helping its citizens, companies and regions to thrive in today’s hyper-connected world and ensuring Europe remains competitive globally. Now that this agreement has been reached, it is essential to advance quickly with the negotiations on the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework in order to start this programme on time and with a dedicated budget.” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, added: “This first pan-European digital programme is a major milestone for strengthening Europe’s world leadership in the digital era. We will invest in key strategic digital capacities and, as is the case with all our digital initiatives, European citizens will stay at the heart of this programme. The Digital Europe Programme will have an essential role and help succeed the digital transformation of both our economies and societies.” The programme focuses on areas where no single Member State acting alone can guarantee success, and where public spending is likely to make the highest impact. The Commission has also proposed to fund new digital infrastructure in the EU in 2021-2017 with a renewed Connecting Europe Facility. More information about the Digital Europe programme can be found in a factsheet.