15 Sep 2021

Von der Leyen is right: Digital is the ‘make-or-break’ issue

Today, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen delivered her State of the European Union address, highlighting digital as the make-it-or-break-it issue. DIGITALEUROPE is pleased by the commitment to strengthening connectivity, digital skills and cybersecurity, but the lack of recognition for digital’s role in the green transition and the Health Union are missed opportunities. 

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

“We have a Commission President who understands digital’s crosscutting role in achieving Europe’s priorities. She’s right to say it is the ‘make or break’ issue.

Investment in 5G, fibre and digital skills will underpin our competitiveness for years to come and will make sure that all citizens and businesses can benefit from the digital transition. We will keep pushing for plans, timelines and KPIs for boosting pan European tech investment.

A European Chips Act is clearly the major announcement, and I am pleased with the level of ambition. It could well be the answer to our semiconductor shortage, provided we do it right and continue to work with our international partners. Industry’s views will be critical to making this a success.

In general, the focus on creating international partnerships is great to see; Europe definitely needs to strengthen its capabilities and its competitiveness in a digitalised global economy. Overall, we would like to see – like with the EU-US Trade and Technology Council – that digital is always on the agenda in our international collaboration and outreach. 

On cyber and defence, we are delighted to see a new EU-NATO joint declaration, and the deep understanding of data and intelligence sharing. The importance of boosting our cyber resilience is reflected in two new initiatives.

Unfortunately, there were also some missed opportunities. We’d have loved to see even more ambition in the health part about the long-awaited data space. Likewise, the digital and green transitions still seem to be dealt with separately, not recognising the crucial role that digital will have to play to tackling climate change.”

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