Brussels, 18 December 2012
Digital Agenda Review: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Digital Agenda for Europe?
It is the EU's strategy to ensure digital technologies, including the internet, are used to make life better in Europe. It aims to reboot Europe's economy and connect citizens in new ways. It is the first of seven flagships initiatives under the EU's "Europe 2020" programme for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Why a review now?
More needs to be done to revive Europe's economy and the digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. Anything to boost the Digital Agenda will have wider positive effects. The digital sector also changes faster than most sectors. Reviewing the Commission's goals and plans three years into the Barroso II mandate is a matter of common sense.
What is changing in this review?
The review identifies seven areas where we will take more focused action to create growth and jobs in Europe enhancing skills, via ICT and digital technologies. These seven priorities/transformative actions for 2013-14 are:
Create a new and stable broadband regulatory environment.
New public digital service infrastructures through Connecting Europe Facility
Launch Grand Coalition on Digital Skills and Jobs
Propose EU cyber-security strategy and Directive
Update EU's Copyright Framework
Accelerate cloud computing through public sector buying power
Launch new electronics industrial strategy – an "Airbus of Chips"
What about the original Digital Agenda targets?
They will remain valid, and progress towards the original 101 targets/actions is progressing well. 38 DAE actions are now complete.
Further information on progress towards each target/action is available here
In which area is action most needed?
In particular, Europe needs a 'wake-up call' on high speed broadband. High-speed internet is the basis for the digital economy; without it, essential services such as cloud computing, eHealth, smart cities, audiovisual services – and the benefits thereby derived – will simply not take off.
A 10% increase in broadband take up could yield a 1-1.5% increase in annual GDP or could raise labour productivity by 1.5% over the next five years. For that reason the DAE set ambitious targets.
Encouragingly, the coverage and penetration rates of high-speed networks in Europe are increasing, but overall, Europe trails Asia and the US and is at risk of failing to meet the 2020 targets. The Commission will present a comprehensive package to tackle market incentives to invest, provide targeted funding and reduce roll-out costs.
The Commission is also working on freeing up more spectrum to implement the commitment in the Radio Spectrum Policy programme and will propose an action plan on wireless communications in 2013.
What is the expected impact of the updated Digital Agenda?
Full implementation of this updated Digital Agenda should increase European GDP by 5%, or €1500 per person, over the next eight years, by increasing investment in ICT, improving e-skill levels in the labour force and reforming the framework conditions for the internet economy Furthermore, this should create 1.2 million jobs in infrastructure construction in the short term, rising to 3.8 million jobs throughout the economy in the long term. In addition, the introduction of internet-related processes is expected to lead to massive gains in productivity in traditional industries.
What has the Digital Agenda delivered so far?
The Digital Agenda is on target. For example, regular internet usage is rising steadily, especially among disadvantaged groups, online purchases continue to increase, and high-speed broadband shows the first signs of taking off, including super-fast connections above 100 Mb/S.
But relative success does not mean that work is finished changes in the sector and feedback from citizens, the European Parliament and European Council, means the Digital Agenda needs an update.
By refocusing the Digital Agenda on some key areas, the review will help the digital sector to continue to be the strongest in the European economy.
What are the highlights since 2010?
Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for fast and ultra-fast broadband and pan-European digital services of public interest.
Delivering on DAE broadband targets - the EU has 95% coverage by fixed broadband networks in Europe and our target is to have 100% by end 2013. By 2020 the goal is for all of Europe to have access to broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps. The CEF can help finance these ultra-fast broadband projects.
The European Commission is committed to delivering high-speed internet access throughout the EU. We are creating a stable and predictable regulatory environment for network investments. We are currently targeting measures to reduce costs of such investments through e.g. encouraging sharing of utility infrastructures and coordination of civil works (see IP/12/434)
Horizon 2020 all EU research and innovation funding under a single programme.
The EU Cloud Strategy aims to reduce uncertainty for both cloud suppliers and adopters. It outlined steps to better define cloud computing service provision in law. We have set up a European Cloud Partnership to promote adoption of cloud computing by public authorities.
Updated EU roaming rules (see MEMO/12/316) have delivered consumers savings of 75% across a range of mobile roaming services, compared to 2007 prices. They also introduced structural changes to the roaming market stimulating competition which will drive down consumer prices in the long term.
Proposals on cross-border electronic signatures and on electronic identification (see IP/12/558) will ensure people and businesses can use their own national electronic identification schemes (e-IDs) to access public services in other EU countries where e-IDs are available. It also creates an internal market for e-Signatures and related online trust services across borders, by ensuring these services will work across borders and have the same legal status as traditional paper based processes.
Our open data strategy will help to free up new streams of data from public repositories for innovative applications.
We are working with stakeholders, e.g. industry coalition, to make the internet safer for children.