It gives us great pleasure to congratulate you on your recent appointment as President of the European Commission, and to share with you the thoughts of the digital industries in Europe about the importance of European ‘digital policy’ in the coming years.
We are very encouraged by your Political Guidelines for the next Commission entitled “A New Start for Europe: My agenda for jobs, growth, fairness and democratic change” manifesto in which you have called for the creation of a fully digital Europe – and a fully single digital market.
We are confident that your leadership of the European Union executive body will be a truly ‘Digital Presidency’. This requires taking full advantage of digital technologies to preserve and advance the industrial and social fabric of Europe by deploying these technologies throughout our society.
To achieve the full potential of the economic and social contribution digital technologies can make, we believe that ‘digital policy’ in the European Commission must be both integrated into the responsibilities of the whole College and allocated to a genuine ‘Digital Champion’. This person should be charged with applying an innovation principle – as opposed to a precautionary principle – to all EU legislation, and ensuring that EU policy is forward-looking, future-proof and consistent across the Commission with a well-defined set of goals.
The ‘Digital’ Commissioner with an expanded digital agenda would act as the natural interlocutor with the digital industries as well as with the other Commissioners. This would ensure that the digital transformation is achieved in all policy areas through smarter policies that meet the persistent, economic and political challenges of our day.
Such an approach would ensure that Europe is best placed to generate economic growth and empowered by a reinvigorated ICT and Internet sector in Europe to ensure European citizens and businesses enjoy the greatest choice and value.
Today digital technologies are present in many areas of our economy, from automotive to agriculture, from culture to energy. They are also present in the provision of public services be it medical care or the filing of tax returns. We are certain that the digital technologies can also have a key role to play and substantial impact in yet more areas.
The term ‘digital’ no longer refers to an industry sector, or some backroom service provided by a small technical elite. The entire economy is digital.
It has been estimated that 75% of the benefits of digital technologies are reaped by non-technology entities. We believe that the structure and objectives of European policymaking should ensure that this digital transformation is reflected into all policy domains.
The digital transition is paramount to push Europe further along the path of economic recovery, fiscal stability and growth. In order to ensure that Europe extracts maximum value from this digital transition, it is vital that Europe’s leadership embraces policies that encourage the deployment of modern digital infrastructures and services by all market players and ensure that citizens and businesses are equipped with the digital skills and tools necessary to succeed in the global marketplace.
We are very pleased that you share our vision of a ‘Digital Presidency’. We stand ready to work with you and your ‘Digital Champion’ in shaping and delivering the digital enablement necessary for the advancement of Europe’s industrial and social structures. The organisations that have signed this letter would be happy to provide further information and support you in achieving this transition.