17 Feb 2020

Europe’s digital sector calls for a budget that matches our ambitions

“Digital companies grow two and a half times faster than non-digital companies. Yet only 3% of the proposed EU budget is devoted to the digital transformation of our society. This should be at least 10% if we are serious about bringing Europe into the digital age, with half of that focused on deploying new technologies.

On Thursday EU leaders will have to decide whether to invest in the industries of the future, or those of the past. The European social model is at stake.”

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.

DIGITALEUROPE and 24 national digital associations have written letters to President Charles Michel and national leaders ahead of the extraordinary European Council on 20 February.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl continued:

  • “This European Council will define Europe’s future. Spending on digital can deliver economic growth, good well-paying jobs, and energy efficiency.”

  • We have five recommendations that will help transform Europe into a digital powerhouse. We need to look across the whole budget and see where digital can make a difference – that could be in agriculture, in research and development or elsewhere. If we don’t act, this will be a huge missed opportunity.”

  • We are not necessarily asking for an overall budget increase, rather that the money is allocated to those areas which can make the biggest difference to our future prosperity.”

Our recommendations:

  • Increase the share of the EU budget spending on digital transformation to 10%. It is currently around 3%.
  • Significantly expand the Digital Europe programme from €9.2 billion to €25 billion to maximise the short- and medium-term impact on skills, AI and SME digitalisation across the EU.
  • Integrate digital across the Horizon Europe framework programme for research.
  • Earmark specific spending on digital innovation from other funding programmes, like the Common Agricultural Policy or Cohesion Policy.
  • Increase overall funding on research and development from 2% to 3% of EU GDP.


  • Digital companies grow two and a half times faster than non-digital companies. However, over half of citizens need to gain new digital skills in order to do their jobs.
  • Artificial intelligence could add €3.6 trillion to Europe’s economic growth by 2030, but right now the US is investing four times more than the EU, and China is investing twice as much.
  • Digitally enabled industries could support a 20% reduction in global CO2 emissions.

National trade associations that co-signed the letter:

For more information please contact:
Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
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