17 Jul 2020

The European Council must set 15% digital spending target in EU budget and COVID recovery plan

Ahead of the European Council Summit, President Michel presented his updated Recovery Fund and EU long-term budget proposal. DIGITALEUROPE has reviewed this plan, and we are disappointed that essential funds dedicated to Europe’s digital transformation have been cut.

European leaders should instead reinforce these instruments and earmark 15% to digital investments across the different MFF programmes, to match their words with action and to invest in Europe’s digital future.

Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl said:

“We are disappointed and concerned by the proposed cuts of over 6 billion euros to vital digital and research funds, such as Horizon Europe, the Digital Europe Programme, and the Connected Europe Facility.

Digital must stop being a buzzword and finally be recognised as the key enabler for a more sustainable and resilient Europe across all sectors.

We urge European leaders to back their talk of ‘digital revolution’ and ‘mainstreaming’ with real action, and therefore call on the European Council to earmark at least 15% of the funding to digital projects across all programmes in the MFF and Next Generation EU, like they have done with spending on climate action.”


Background

In President Michel’s ‘negotiating box’ published on 10 July, he proposed cuts to the dedicated digital programmes in the EU Budget, as compared to the Commission’s latest proposal. For climate action, the President proposed a spending target of 30% across all programmes of the budget and COVID Recovery Fund (Next Generation EU). There is no such target for digital investment, despite it being the second ‘twin’ pillar of the budget.

15% represents the high benchmark set by Germany in its latest national COVID stimulus package, which includes spending on connectivity in trainings, digital education, 5G and other vital areas of investment.

Read our recommendations

DIGITALEUROPE’s letter to the European Council: A stronger digital Europe needs a forward-looking budget

Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
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