16 Sep 2020

SOTEU: President von der Leyen has set an ambitious 20% digital funding target – now let’s execute the plan

The State of the European Union address by President von der Leyen comes at a moment where Europe stands at a crossroads.

DIGITALEUROPE fully supports the Commission’s renewed commitment to the twin green and digital transitions and the ambitious 20% target for digital spending.

Now it is time to execute it, and the digital industry has outlined five key areas of investment to carry out its post-COVID recovery strategy.

Director-General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl said:

“President von der Leyen’s words are a powerful source of hope at one of the most difficult times in the European history. I welcome her clear vision for the European green and digital recovery. Above all, I am thrilled with the news that she has set a clear 20% goal for digital spending in the Next Generation EU recovery programme. This was one of DIGITALEUROPE’s top recommendations for the post-COVID recovery plan and sets our continent on a clear path to be a stronger digital Europe.

Now it is time to execute it.

The COVID recovery package was a huge step forward. If we spend this money wisely, Europe can come out of the crisis stronger than ever.

The crisis has exposed areas where Europe urgently needs investment. In our COVID recovery plan we set out five key areas areas: digital skills and education; digital energy optimisation and green tech; fast and secure connectivity and infrastructure; harnessing emerging technologies in the health sphere; and digitising SMEs.

These priorities will not only create jobs and spur growth. They will also lay the foundations for a more inclusive, prosperous and green post-COVID society.

The good news is that the types of projects we need are already being implemented across Europe. We just need the vision – and the money – to scale them up.

This requires ambition and concrete action-oriented collaboration from all leaders: in the EU institutions, in the Member States, and of course in industry. The unprecedented Recovery Instrument must not be wasted. We are eager to provide our expertise in order to help European and national policymakers develop sound, future-proof investment plans.”


DIGITALEUROPE has identified five priority areas where immediate, substantial investments are needed:

  • Digital education and skills. Children should leave school with the skills that employers need. Upskilling and reskilling workers will boost their job prospects and empower our citizens to take part in the digital society.
  • Digital for a green recovery. Investing in smart solutions and green technologies will boost jobs, improve productivity and quality of life, and reduce our environmental footprint.
  • Connectivity and infrastructure. High-quality and secure networks are crucial to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity across the whole of society, as well as enabling strategic digital technologies (like AI and the Internet of Things) that will relaunch the European industry.
  • Digital healthcare. Digital transformation will improve the resilience and preparedness of our healthcare systems, in addition to addressing pre-existing challenges such as access to and continuity of care.
  • Digitising small and medium-sized enterprises and scale-ups. The digitisation of SMEs can enable them to move their activities online and continue trading in case of future lockdowns, streamline processes, save costs and help them expand.

In our 2019 manifesto, DIGITALEUROPE outlined 22 KPIs for 2025 to create a stronger digital Europe. These success indicators are intended to take the pulse of Europe’s digital transformation.

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