20 Feb 2019

DIGITALEUROPE’s Declaration to ensure the EU is a world leader in Digital Manufacturing


Ensure the EU is the world leader in Digital Manufacturing driving the creation of a cross-industry ecosystem and high-value manufacturing products and services.

By 2025, the manufacturing industry operating in Europe will take full advantage of its digital transformation to foster opportunities for innovation and growth. It will enable innovative solutions for sectors such as transport and healthcare, while ensuring high-levels of safety and sustainability. Our industry will also enable the reskilling of the workforce to be ready for the digital age.

Key goals by 2025

  1. The EU has a regulatory framework that allows the manufacturing sector to lead internationally as well as stimulates the development and deployment of key enabling technologies
  2. The EU has developed a Digital Manufacturing ecosystem that leads on innovation and competitiveness
  3. The EU is generating and enhancing investment in the Digital Manufacturing ecosystem and enabling technologies
  4. The EU is a leader in creating high-value data-driven services and in sharing data across Europe and the world
  5. The EU is continuously reskilling and upskilling its workforce to embrace digital production processes
  6. The EU has accelerated sustainability and green growth through new industrial technology solutions

Concrete actions with EU governments

1. Develop EU policies with criteria that are manufacturing-focused

We endeavour to drive a mission-based digital regulation with EU institutions and governments. An agile mission-based regulatory framework is key to achieve the above goals. Rules developed to regulate digital are currently too focused on the consumer market. Europe’s strength is in business-to-business, and we need to focus at enhancing what we are good at in a global competitive environment. We propose to share our expertise and experience that will encourage EU policymakers to prioritise its manufacturing sector especially amongst smaller to medium sized companies (SMEs).

2. Create the infrastructure for the free flow of data

We endeavour to cooperating with EU institutions and governments in increasing the free flow of data both in the EU and internationally. Data is critical for economic growth of the manufacturing sector. It will feed into the development of important innovation in new technologies such as AI algorithms and new digital services. We therefore encourage Member States to work with our sector to develop a compatible and interconnected infrastructure for data exchanges through a secure pan-European architecture system. As European manufacturers are now international by nature, we should not neglect the importance of exportability of EU systems to be able to integrate at an international level.

3. Generating and enhancing investment and public funding

We endeavour to the successful implementation of the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe funding programmes. Both funding mechanisms are key in developing the deployment of new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), high performance and high resilient connectivity, and infrastructure in key areas. These include access to high-performance computing, cybersecurity competence centres, Digital InnovationHubs and AI algorithm databases to stimulate the creation of local economic actors and tomorrow’s unicorns.

4. Reskilling and upskilling its workforce to embrace digital production processes

We endeavour to reskilling and upskilling our workforce. The area of a workforce with digital skills is missioncritical for the EU’s growth and to mitigate any impact on job losses caused by the digital transformation. The EU, national governments and educational institutions should collaborate with our industry to deliver an assessment on the skills gap in each Member State and define solutions.

5. Accelerating sustainability through industrial technology

We endeavour to investing in innovation to drive sustainable solutions. Technology is rapidly maturing and advancing to reduce waste, material usage and energy needs. Member State governments can play a more crucial role in developing the necessary programmes for ensuring a fully circular EU economy.

The European manufacturing sector can reinforce its leadership position by combining digital and clean technologies. Typically, a digital twin can ensure process and product sustainability by tracking its life cycle from the design to the recycling stages. Other key examples include the creation and uptake of waste management systems, and accelerating research and design of less carbon-intensive materials. This would help reduce energy consumption and reducing the exploitation of raw materials. Industry and governments should rapidly devise common methodologies to measure these benefits.

6. Developing a digital ecosystem

We endeavour to the development of a digital ecosystem connected to ‘digital factories’. The European Commission has begun a process to create digital factories. The next EU budget and European Commission mandate will be critical to its success. In cooperation with governments we propose a dialogue with industry on the development of funded pilots with the objective to create large scale digital operations and a start- up community to support it.

Key performance indicators

Together with EU Member State governments and key stakeholders we can measure our success across the value chain in 2025 in achieving the following:


  •  5% of working women should be ICT specialists currently only less than 1.4% of women in the EU are employed as ICT specialists.

Skills and jobs

  • Members States and companies across Europe should have completed retraining 20% of the workforce in need of reskilling. Currently an estimated 52% of workers need some form of reskilling.
  • Enterprises in Europe should be providing digital skills training to an additional 5% of their employees. Today, only 21.4% of all European enterprise do so.


  • Europe should have saved 26 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by digitising resource-intensive sectors. According to estimates, 15.8 billion can be saved from the electricity sector, 9.9 billion from the logistics sector, and 540 million from the automotive sector alone.


  • Infrastructure deployment (e.g. data centres, 5G etc.) should be accelerated delivering low latency and high capacity to manufacturing and logistics centres by 2023.
  • 5G connections should cover 40% of European workforce, 70% of European industrial sites and 80% of main logistics/transportation routes.


  • European countries should be spending 3% of their GDP on Research & Innovation – Japan already meets that target with 3.3% spending, and in the US, it is 2.8%. The EU average is only 2%.

Connected Single Market

  • 15% of European enterprises should be selling across borders – currently only 8.2% do so.

European competitiveness

  • Europe should be home to 25% of the world’s unicorns. In 2017 we were home to just 11%, farbehind the US with 55% and China with 23%.
  • 15% of European manufacturing industries should leverage big data analytics. At the moment, only 7.5% do so.
Declaration on digital manufacturing


For more information please contact
Ray Pinto
Senior Director for Digital Transformation Policy
Back to Digital transformation
View the complete Policy Paper
Our resources on Digital transformation
30 Apr 2024 Position Paper
Contribution to public consultation on white paper on export controls
29 Apr 2024 Publication & Brochure
The Download: Funding Europe's Digital Transition - Investing in the future not the past
06 Mar 2024 resource
DIGITALEUROPE’s response to the Joint European Supervisory Authorities’ public consultation on the second batch of policy mandates under DORA
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