The Digital Decade policy programme 2030, a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to achieve common targets for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030, has entered into force.
For the first time, the European Parliament, Member States and the Commission have jointly set concrete objectives and targets in the four key areas of digital skills, infrastructure including connectivity, the digitalisation of businesses, and online public services, in respect of the Declaration on European Digital Rights and Principles. The objectives and targets are accompanied by a cyclical cooperation process starting today, to take stock of progress and define milestones so that they can be reached by 2030. The programme also creates a new framework for multi-country projects that will allow Member States to join forces on digital initiatives.
The aim: Digital Decade targets and objectives
Starting now and leading up to 2030, EU Member States, in collaboration with the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission, will shape their digital policies to achieve targets in 4 areas to:
- Improve citizens’ basic and advanced digital skills;
- Improve the take-up of new technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, data and cloud, in the EU businesses, including in small businesses;
- Further advance the EU’s connectivity, computing and data infrastructure; and
- Make public services and administration available online.
These targets embody the policy programme’s objectives, such as ensuring safe and secure digital technology, a competitive online environment for SMEs, safe cybersecurity practices, fair access to digital opportunities for all, as well as developing sustainable, energy and resource-efficient innovations.
Together, the Digital Decade objectives and targets will guide the actions of Member States, which will be assessed by the Commission in an annual progress report, the State of the Digital Decade. A new high-level expert group, the Digital Decade Board, will also reinforce the cooperation between the Commission and the Member States on digital transformation issues. A new Forum will also be created to bring on board various stakeholders and discuss their views.
Cooperation and monitoring progress towards 2030 targets
In the coming months, the Commission, together with Member States, will develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to monitor progress towards individual targets, within the framework of the annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). In turn, Member States will prepare their national strategic roadmaps within 9 months from today, describing the policies, measures and actions that they plan to make, at national level, to reach the programme’s objectives and targets. From June 2023, the Commission will publish its annual progress report, the State of the Digital Decade, to provide an update, assessment and recommendation on progress towards the targets and objectives.
Pooling investments between Member States is necessary to achieve some of the ambitions of the Digital Decade objectives and targets. To join efforts for large-scale impact, the policy programme creates a process to identify and launch multi-country projects in areas such as 5G, quantum computers, and connected public administrations among others.
In the coming months, the Commission will adopt an implementing act defining the KPIs for the digital targets and will develop projected EU trajectories for each of them together with Member States.
In June, the Commission will publish the first State of the Digital Decade report, to provide an update, assessment, and recommendation on progress towards the targets and objectives.
In October, Members States will submit their first national strategic roadmaps, on which the Commission will have published guidance to support them.
On 9 March 2021, the Commission laid out its vision for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030 in its Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade Communication. In her State of the Union address in September 2021, President Ursula von der Leyen put forward the Path to the Digital Decade, a robust governance framework to reach these digital targets. It calls for combined efforts and investments to create a digital environment in Europe that can lead the future, while empowering people and their businesses. A political agreement by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU was reached in July 2022.
In parallel, the inter-institutional solemn Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles, the EU’s ‘digital DNA’, was signed in December 2022. The Commission will also provide an assessment of the implementation of the digital principles in the annual State of the Digital Decade report, to make sure that rights and freedoms enshrined in the EU’s legal framework are respected online as they are offline.