The Digital Decade is the European Commission forward-looking strategic vision for the development of the digital economy and the transformation of European businesses by 2030. The plan, presented by the European Commission on 9 March 2021, aims to support a prosperous digital future for all.
The Digital Decade vision and avenues for the future are organised across 4 cardinal digital points: skills, government, infrastructures, and business. These 4 key areas are also part of Europe's Digital Compass, a framework to monitor the progress towards the 2030 targets and milestones, whilst supporting a robust governance structure, monitoring system and multi-country projects involving stakeholders and investors from the EU, member states and industry and private sector.
The Digital Decade also contributes to upholding European values on digital principles, citizenship and rights - such as a secure and trusted online environment, which protects personal data and abides by privacy regulations, or equal access to technology and public and digital services online for all.
To achieve the targets outlined within the Digital Decade strategic communication, actions launched cover all 4 cardinal points.
- The EU will launch actions to increase the number of qualified and competent Information and communication technology (ICT) professionals and train more digital experts to reach 20 million ICT professionals in Europe (in 2019, ICT specialists in Europe were 7.8 million or 4% of the total workforce).
- Strategic actions on skills also include the bridging of gender and diversity gaps in the technology sector and initiatives targeting women's career prospects in the field (the IT sector in Europe has one of the highest levels of gender disparity - in 2019, 82.1% of ICT specialists were men).
- With the increased dependence on technology, digital competences and skills have become essential to participate in society, take advantage of digital public services, and remain competitive in the labour market. By 2030, 80% of European citizens should possess at least a basic level of digital skills.
Digital Transformation of Businesses
- The EU will launch actions to improve the uptake of digital emerging technologies so that 75% of EU companies can start using Cloud/AI/Big data. Digital intensity, or the deployment and integration of technology within operational and business processes, wil
- Actions to stimulate digital intensity, or the level of integration, deployment and uptake of technology within business and operational processes, for SMEs will also be launched so that 90% of SMEs can reach at least a basic level of digital intensity.
- Strategic innovation actions will also be deployed to double the number of EU unicorns (start-ups valued above $1 billion) from 60 in 2020, and contribute to the scaling up of businesses.
Secure and sustainable digital infrastructures
- Given the dependency of advanced technologies on sustainable and secure digital infrastructures, the European Union will prioritise actions improving connectivity and deploy 5G throughout the EU member states. By 2030, all European households should also be connected to the internet.
- Developing quantum and high performance computing and producing Europe's first supercomputer.
- Data and cloud infrastructures will also be improved in a sustainable way, with 10,000 climate neutral highly secure edge notes.
Digitalisation of public services
- The EU will launch a wide range of actions on a local, regional, national and European level to ensure that key public services throughout the member states are available 100% online.
- e-Health: by 2030, medical records will become more accessible for both patients and medical professionals, whilst keeping personal and sensitive data protected and secured.
- Strategic actions to increase digital citizenship and awareness of digital identity will aim to see 80% of EU citizens using some form of a digital ID by 2030.
The Digital Decade is part of the wider strategic priority of the European Commission: ensuring that Europe is fit for the digital age. As a strategic initiative, it underpins and complements a variety of recent actions by the EU institutions launched to promote the development of digital and emerging technologies and the upskilling of citizens and businesses. There are many examples of initiatives and actions, already working towards the 2030 targets outlined in the Digital Decade: the Digital Education Action Plan, the European Cybersecurity Act, the recommendations of the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG) on ethical AI. Many initiatives and actions are also facilitated and enabled through the Digital Europe Programme and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.