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.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

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

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Failing to see reality or deceiving the masses? The EU about poverty and social exclusion

Sudan: UN rights chief alarmed over ‘excessive force’, alleged use of live fire against protestors

Russia is ready for its Phase 3 evaluation once it fulfills high-priority recommendation

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

Water pollution is killing millions of Indians. Here’s how technology and reliable data can change that

Climate change is threatening Switzerland’s stunning scenery

G20 starts to tackle inequality

Finland has a new eco-fashion line – clothes made from trees

Educate children in their mother tongue, urges UN rights expert

Adriatic Sea: MEPs adopt multiannual plan for fisheries

Civilians ‘continue to pay highest price’ in Ukraine conflict, with peace prospects losing ‘momentum’

‘Power is not given, power is taken’, UN chief tells women activists, urging push-back against status quo

What makes us happy? AI scanned 700,000 journal entries to find out

The megatrend that will shape our working future

This is what CEOs around the world see as the biggest risks to business

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

EU mobilises €21 million to support Palestine refugees via the UN Relief and Works Agency

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

In visit to hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, UN chief calls for greater action to address climate change

How data can empower patients to personalize and improve their cancer treatment

UN human rights office urges Egypt to immediately release detained protestors

UN conference agrees better ways for Global South countries to work together on sustainable development

Empathic AI could be the next stage in human evolution – if we get it right

RescEU: MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

ITU Telecom World 2018 takes place in Durban, South Africa

Asia’s plastic problem is choking the world’s oceans. Here’s how to fix it

Conflict, climate change among factors that increase ‘desperation that enables human trafficking to flourish’, says UN chief

Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

Ramped-up emergency preparedness, part of ‘changing the DNA’ of the UN’s health agency

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

Germany to help China in trade disputes with Brussels

$1.4 billion needed this year to fund UN’s agency for Palestine refugees

EU budget 2019 approved: focus on the young, innovation and migration

Accountability for atrocities in Myanmar ‘cannot be expected’ within its borders – UN investigator

We need to give voice to ‘We the Peoples’, says UN chief

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

‘Working night and day’, UN health agency seeks to prevent global coronavirus crisis

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

Larger species are more at risk of extinction than smaller ones – here’s why

The world needs a grand coalition to tackle climate change

Haiti: ‘Laden with challenges’ but also hope, Mission chief tells Security Council

Antarctica: the final coronavirus-free frontier. But will it stay that way?

Secure 5G networks: Commission endorses EU toolbox and sets out next steps

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

European Innovation Scoreboard 2018: Europe must deepen its innovation edge

To my Chinese friend

7 shocking statistics that show the cost of corruption

Parliament’s interparliamentary delegations established

More children killed by unsafe water, than bullets, says UNICEF chief

250 days until the European Parliament elections

New Eurobarometer survey shows: The majority of Europeans think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality problems

Trump-China trade war lingers upsetting global economy and stock markets

How civil society must adapt to survive its greatest challenges

Commission reinforces tools to ensure Europe’s interests in international trade

More Stings?

Advertising

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