Europe must regain its place as world leader in digital technology

Written by Markus J. Beyrer, Director General, BUSINESSEUROPE

We cannot solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein.

Markus J Beyrer Director-General BUSINESSEUROPE (BUSINESSEUROPE)

Markus J Beyrer
Director-General
BUSINESSEUROPE (BUSINESSEUROPE)

Digital is affecting everything we know. It will change dramatically our lives and our economy. It will impact the way we produce, how we work, our approach to information, our contacts with public administration. All sectors will be concerned, not only manufacturing and trade, but also energy and transport, education and health.

Europe can either ride the wave of digital transformation, grasping the opportunities that it will offer, or miss the train and let our competitors make the most out of it, widening the gap that is already growing wider year after year.

There is unprecedented potential for Europe. By taking advantage of digital opportunities, our continent can not only regain competitiveness, but also speed up the journey to economic prosperity. Achieving a Digital Single Market could add 1.25 trillion euros of added value to Europe’s manufacturing industry by 2025, create 3.8 million skilled jobs and ensure that Europe regains its place as a world leader in information and communication technology.

Europe was a digital leader in the past. We invented the CD, the DVD, and the videotape. But now innovation is happening elsewhere. Ranked by annual revenues, 13 out of the 20 global internet companies are based in the US, four in China, two in Japan, one in South Korea and none in the EU. Conversely, just eight of the world’s top 100 high-tech companies have their headquarters in Europe and generate only a tenth of the industry’s global revenue.

To win in the digital economy and create value both for consumers and the society, companies will need an adequate business environment, which favours, and not hampers, digital transformation. The new Digital Single Market strategy must live up to these expectations. Europe must rethink its risk-opportunity balance and focus on the opportunities rather than on the threats of the digital economy.

First, the digital economy is largely based on the collection, process and analysis of data. The EU framework on data protection must therefore ensure not only that citizens’ personal data are protected, but also that collecting, analysing and transferring data does not become too burdensome and expensive for companies.

Second, Europe needs a robust infrastructure – this is the backbone of the digital economy. Ubiquitous high-speed networks are the key enabling technology for the full realisation of the so-called ‘Industrial Internet’. Competition and strong incentives for continued investment in the EU on broadband infrastructure will be essential to meet the exponential connectivity and quality demands associated to an Industrial Internet. Constant availability, reliable speeds and adequate capabilities of communication infrastructure are all crucial elements to avoid disruptions and downtime costs in fully automated processes.

Third, it is essential that consistent efforts are made towards the development of the skills needed to make the digital revolution a reality. There is a growing demand for highly specialised skills, such as Big Data analysts, as well as cyber-security and cloud-computing specialists. Business, academia, schools, government and organisations should work together to develop a high-level digital skills strategy that would also facilitate global talent mobility.

To conclude, policy makers must bear in mind that under a better regulation approach, any action should be aimed at decreasing regulation that is not needed, instead of adding new requirements. To have a more innovative Europe with a positive impact on growth and jobs, one should avoid creating new rules for every new innovative product or business model. At the same time, it is crucial to ensure that existing rules are effective, fast enough and properly enforced to meet the new challenges.

Interoperability, transparency, non-discrimination and consumer choice should be among the paramount principles for the digital economy of the future. Most issues can be solved with adequate application of existing rules. When considering actions targeting specific business models, it should be kept in mind that the consequences of new rules designed for targeting specific companies, sectors or business models will – in all likelihood – have broader and unintended spill-over effects into other companies and sectors, with a negative impact on growth and jobs.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How private investment can boost education access and quality in the digital economy

5 amazing people fighting to save the oceans

European Commission adopts new tools for safe exchanges of personal data

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

A Sting Exclusive: Healthy oceans amidst COVID-19, written by the United Nations Under-Secretary General

Here’s how to close the $176 billion health financing gap

Vulnerable young people must not be blamed & stigmatised for violent radicalisation

Why business schools can’t “return to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic

State aid: Commission approves €500 million Greek scheme to support the self-employed affected by coronavirus outbreak

Countries urged to make ‘digital world’ safer for children

The European Youth explains the age gap in European business in the 21st century

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

There is no recipe for a healthy mental state

MasterCard @ MWC14: Innovation in times of regulatory uncertainty

FROM THE FIELD: Gaza men advocate for an end to early marriage

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?

EP Group leaders on Brexit: “the agreement is not open to renegotiation”

China, forever new adventures

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

Who is responsible for public health? The tendencies and its benefits –or not– on Health Education around the world

‘Antagonistic gestures and accusations’ drown out Kosovo dialogue hopes, Security Council hears

Teenage girl’s death sentence spotlights Sudan’s failure to tackle forced marriage, gender-based violence – UN rights office

Ambition, transformation, active citizenship: COP24 looks to next year’s big UN Climate Change Summit

COVID-19 shows why we must build trust in digital financial services

With lifelong learning, you too can join the digital workplace

Mergers: Commission fines Sigma-Aldrich €7.5 million for providing misleading information during Merck takeover investigation

Recognize, celebrate and ‘stand in solidarity’ with persons with albinism

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Financing fossil fuels risks a repeat of the 2008 crash. Here’s why

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

Safety fits into our palms: The role of mobile technology in healthcare systems and life saving

Closing the data gap: a cost-effective way to improve air quality

Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

Praising Roma’s contributions in Europe, UN expert urges end to rising intolerance and hate speech

UN Convention that promotes mediation to resolve trade disputes moves closer to entry into force

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

UN’s AIDS agency ‘greatly encouraged’ by latest scientific breakthrough showing cure is possible

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

How multistakeholder platforms can strengthen our multilateral system

How the powerful science of behaviour change can make us healthier

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

The Internet of Bodies is here. This is how it could change our lives.

The US + Britain trivialize mainland Europe, NATO and the EU

Cyclone Fani hits India, UN moves to protect vulnerable refugees in Bangladesh

6 data policy issues experts are tracking right now

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

At least half of people who have a job fear they’ll lose it in the next 12 months

Trump to run America to the tune of his business affairs

Forest fires: Commission adds planes to rescEU fleet to prepare for summer

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Security Council must ‘come together’ to address the plight of children trapped in armed conflict, says UN envoy

Commission presents review of EU economic governance and launches debate on its future

Why democratizing skills is the key to the post-pandemic economy

How smart farming is helping Brazil feed the world

Black babies more likely to survive when cared for by Black doctors, suggests new study

Belarus, climate action, COVID-19: MEPs assess EU summit results

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s