President von der Leyen gave a speech at the “Masters of Digital 2021” event about the future of Europe and its digital transition. The President looked back on the beginning of her mandate, and her goal of digital innovation at the core of her agenda. She stated she believed that the 2020s can be Europe’s Digital Decade, a decade when Europe becomes a global leader in the digital world, fostered by thousands of European digital entrepreneurs, innovators and pioneers. Europe is now attracting more capital than any other region in the world for start-ups at seed stage, and Europe’s ‘deep tech′ companies are worth a combined EUR 700 billion today, growing at incredible speed. Urgent issues to address, according to the President, are the rules and regulations for digital business, that will enable less obstacles and delays of investment that made many European businesses leave our continent in order to grow. Although these are hard times for investments, the European Union has put together NextGenerationEU, the largest digital investment plan Europe has ever seen. At least 20% of NextGenerationEU will fund digital investment, roughly, EUR 150 billion, and it will help bring high-speed internet to all corners of the Union, invest in the skills European workers for digital transition and support the creation and the expansion of Digital Innovation Hubs. European Union is making a change by re-writing the rulebook for the Digital Internal Market. This means one set of core digital rules for all digital businesses operating in Europe, instead of a patchwork of national legislation and national regulators for the same company. The President explained the 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.
Referring to the data and artificial intelligence, the President stated: “Machine-generated data can be the fuel for Europe’s recovery: We are literally sitting on a goldmine. Every day, every European business produces data without even noticing. Research tells us that the potential value of data produced in Europe will soon reach EUR 1.5 trillion a year. Imagine: 1.5 trillion, and we are only using a tiny percentage of this treasure. Data can cut Europe’s energy consumption massively, with benefits for the planet and for your balance sheets too. For all these reasons and many, many more, data need to be shared and exchanged more widely. And therefore, companies need clear rules on how to access, share and sell available data.’’ The President sees the Europe’s digital sector as a driver of EU recovery and the innovations on the markets as gamechangers of the lives of millions.
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