Bitkom on EU budget negotiations

  • Member States want to cut funding for the Digital Europe funding programme.
  • President Berg: "Don't take the saving axe to the future area of digitalisation".

Berlin, 16. July 2020 - EU leaders will meet tomorrow to discuss the new proposal by Council President Charles Michel for the EU budget 2021-2027. The proposal includes cuts of €1.4 billion in the new Digital Europe funding programme to just €6.8 billion. The high-tech research programme Horizon Europe is also to receive less funding. Bitkom President Achim Berg explains:

"For the first time, there is to be an independent funding programme for digitisation. But even before the programme is launched, the already very small funds are being cut massively by member states. This is not only a completely wrong signal, it also thwarts the ambitious goals of initiatives such as Gaia-X. The Corona crisis has shown the outstanding importance of digital technologies today in overcoming major challenges. We need more, not less, digitization in order to achieve our environmental goals and enable sustainable economic growth that will take us out of the current economic troubles.

The new Digital Europe programme aims to establish investments in digital education, IT security and key technologies such as AI and high performance computing on a broad basis. We see time and again that small and medium-sized enterprises in particular need more concrete and targeted help in the use of technology. To do this, we need a strong digitization and research budget that shows Europe and Germany the way to the new, digital and sustainable economy.

In order to achieve budget cuts of 26 billion euros, the saving axe is applied to the already rather sparsely financed area of digitisation, while for instance more than 300 billion EUR planned for agriculture remain untouched”.