16 Jun 2020

Letter to the European Council: A stronger digital Europe needs a forward-looking budget

DIGITALEUROPE and 27 national digital associations from 23 Member States are calling to significantly increase the share of digital spending in the Recovery Instrument and EU long-term budget in a letter sent to President Michel and national leaders, ahead of the European Council Summit on 19 June.

Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE, said:

“This is a historic moment for our continent. This EU budget is a unique opportunity to reinvent our economy, not just rebuild the old one. Let’s invest in the future, not the past.

Digitalised companies have shown to be much more resilient the non-digital companies during the crisis. Now let us strengthen our societies and economies by supporting the digitalisation of the European industry.

Spending on digitalisation and skills will pave the way for a rapid economic recovery, create jobs, promote the participation of more citizens in our economy, and enable the European Green Deal.

Together with 27 national digital associations representing thousands of companies across Europe, we urge leaders to swiftly approve the new EU budget and Recovery Instrument and earmark specific spending on digital transformation, infrastructure and skills from other programmes, notably the new Recovery and Resilience Facility.”

Read the full letter here

Our recommendations

  • Swiftly approve the new EU budget and Recovery Instrument to ensure funds are available as soon as possible.
  • Earmark specific spending on digital transformation and infrastructure from other programmes, like the “Recovery and Resilience Facility”, funds within the Common Agricultural Policy, funds within the Cohesion Policy, the Just Transition Fund, and EU4Health.
  • Prioritise investment in digital skills across the European Social Fund+ and the European Regional Development Fund.
  • Maintain Horizon Europe funding as set out in latest Commission proposal and earmark money for applied research on digital transformation in key sectors.
  • Reinforce the dedicated funds for digital, i.e the Digital Europe programme and the Connecting Europe Facility.


  • Investments in connectivity and emerging technologies have a strong multiplier effect. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) could add €3.6 trillion to Europe’s economic growth by 2030.
  • Digitalisation also goes hand in hand with the goals of the European Green Deal. Digitally transformed industries could enable a 20% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2030.
  • Less than one in five European SMEs are “highly digitized”, meaning they are particularly vulnerable to future crises.
  • Network traffic has gone up by 70% in the crisis, yet only 60% have access to ultrafast broadband. This is much lower in rural areas.
  • Over half of citizens need to gain new digital skills to do their jobs. Reskilling and upskilling, particularly of those put out of work from traditional industries, are an integral part of of a just transition.
Read DIGITALEUROPE’s full recommendations

Post-COVID recovery plan for a stronger digital Europe

National trade associations that co-signed the letter:

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