President von der Leyen at the ‘Masters of Digital 2021′ event: ‘The 2020s can be Europe’s Digital Decade’

The President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered a speech yesterday at the ‘Masters of Digital 2021′ event, where she said: “I believe the 2020s can be Europe’s Digital Decade. A decade when Europe becomes a global leader in the digital world. New ideas are coming from the old continent. European industry as a whole is entering a new era. One fourth of industrial robots in the world are produced in Europe.” But investments – both public and private – and a clear set of rules are needed for Europe to take the lead in this digital world. On investment: “NextGenerationEU is the largest digital investment plan Europe has ever seen. At least 20% of NextGenerationEU will fund digital investment. It can be a game changer.” On clear, coherent rules for digital businesses“For years, our digital businesses have dealt with way more obstacles than their competitors abroad. So we are creating a single set of rules for all digital businesses operating in Europe. This is why we have just presented two new pieces of legislation. The Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. The Digital Services Act defines the responsibilities of all digital actors operating in Europe. And the Digital Markets Act will ensure that the online world remains a space of innovation and accessible to all players, big and small. These are just the first steps, and more are following.” Europe’s digital lies in data and artificial intelligence, President von der Leyen said, two areas in which the Commission will introduce this year, to create more certainty for businesses and customers alike. “Last November, we introduced a regulation on European data governance. And later this year, we will present a Data Act and proposals on health data spaces. What we want to do is to put those who generate data in the driving seat.” On artificial intelligence: “This spring we will present a legal framework for artificial intelligence in Europe. We will set some requirements for high-risk applications of AI – from making sure that they use high-quality data, to ensuring human oversight. And in parallel, we will present a new plan to push European excellence on AI.” The speech is available online, and you can watch it here.