Shaping Europe’s digital future : The strategies for data and Artificial Intelligence

Today, the Commission unveils its ideas and actions for a digital transformation that works for all, reflecting the best of Europe: open, fair, diverse, democratic and confident. It presents a European society powered by digital solutions that put people first, opens up new opportunities for businesses, and boosts the development of trustworthy technology to foster an open and democratic society and a vibrant and sustainable economy. Digital is a key enabler to fighting climate change and achieving the green transition. The European data strategy and the policy options to ensure the human-centric development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) presented today are the first steps towards achieving these goals.

The President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Today we are presenting our ambition to shape Europe’s digital future. It covers everything from cybersecurity to critical infrastructures, digital education to skills, democracy to media. I want that digital Europe reflects the best of Europe – open, fair, diverse, democratic, and confident.”

Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said: “We want every citizen, every employee, every business to stand a fair chance to reap the benefits of digitalisation. Whether that means driving more safely or polluting less thanks to connected cars; or even saving lives with AI-driven medical imagery that allows doctors to detect diseases earlier than ever before.

Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “Our society is generating a huge wave of industrial and public data, which will transform the way we produce, consume and live. I want European businesses and our many SMEs to access this data and create value for Europeans – including by developing Artificial Intelligence applications. Europe has everything it takes to lead the ‘big data’ race, and preserve its technological sovereignty, industrial leadership and economic competitiveness to the benefit of European consumers.” Continue reading “Shaping Europe’s digital future : The strategies for data and Artificial Intelligence”

Digitalisation is a key challenge for SMEs

The benefits of digitalisation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are multiple, allowing them to boost competitiveness, expand market access and improve customer relations. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) considers it necessary to support the digital transformation of SMEs with measures adapted to the specific needs of different types of companies.

The information report Digitalisation and SMEs in the Mediterranean region adopted by the EESC sets out to analyse the current state of play of digitalisation in northern, southern and eastern Mediterranean countries and highlight specific challenges. One of the main conclusions of the report is the need to establish a “broad policy agenda aimed at strengthening the decisive role of SMEs in the socioeconomic development of the Euro-Mediterranean countries and, most importantly, in the fight against unemployment”.

According to María Helena De Felipe Lehtonen, rapporteur of the report, SMEs’ digitalisation in the EuroMed region is of the utmost importance if they are to increase their competitiveness in the global market.

The availability of digital infrastructure does not automatically lead to the adoption of digital business models and technologies. According to the 2019 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) of the European Commission, more than 50% of firms in Mediterranean EU Member States such as Greece, Spain, Italy or France have very low levels of digital intensity, compared to less than 20% in leading countries such as Finland, Denmark or the Netherlands. Continue reading “Digitalisation is a key challenge for SMEs”