Bitkom comments on the Commission’s 2030 Digital Compass

  • Goals are partly ambitious, party utopian
  • Bitkom president Berg: "Europe needs a re-start in data policy"

Berlin, 9th March 2021Regarding the European Commission's plans for a "Digital Compass for 2030" Bitkom president Achim Berg explains:

“We explicitly welcome the EU’s Digital Compass. It is important to set specific goals in digital policy, to measure them and then develop actions to realise these goals. The Commission has set very ambitious objectives - some of which are utopian. For example, the number of IT specialists is to be increased to 20 million by 2030, half of them women and half men. The world market share of European semiconductor production is to be more than doubled to 20 percent. Across Europe, 10.000 edge data centres shall exist, three out of four companies are to use artificial intelligence. Four out of five citizens are to use eID solutions and key public services are to be 100 percent digitised. Here, the European Commission is setting goals that are also partly beyond its legal mandate. If taken seriously, the Digital Compass requires the EU to intervene deeply in its own structures, expand its ability to act and massively restructure its budget in favour of digitisation. Bitkom would highly support such far-reaching reforms but as long as it’s not realistic, the EU’s digital credo must be: Set realistic goals and implement them with consistency. Digitisation does not come for free and must be given much greater consideration in the EU’s budget.

The Digital Compass makes the progress of digitisation in Europe as well as the degree of dependence on digital imports from non-EU countries quantifiable. Bitkom has always advocated for such an instrument.

In terms of further design, implementation and evaluation of the goals, competent and non-governmental partners - for example from the business community - must be involved in order to make this process transparent and objectively verifiable. In some points, the goals must also become even more ambitious, especially in the area of data policy, where the EU has already set the legal framework in the past. Not only the Covid19 pandemic has shown that the Commission’s restrictive rules prevent rather than promote the development of a competitive data economy in Europe. All public data in Europe must be made accessible via a central platform in order to make it usable for economic and scientific purposes.

In addition to reviewing individual targets, we must now move to the implementation phase. The European Parliament and member states must follow suit. The success of the Digital Compass will depend on whether the complex coordination succeeds and whether the right measures are implemented in member states to make Europe a leading and digitally sovereign player in the digital age”.