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Leading the Digital Decade Conference

Virtual Live

Leading the Digital Decade Conference is a two-day online event focused on Europe’s digital transformation towards 2030. The event is co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. It will be held virtually on 1-2 June 2021.


To ensure a robust recovery and to make Europe’s economy and society more resilient, the EU must rely on a skilled population of digitally-savvy citizens and a rich talent pool of digital experts and specialists in key emerging technologies. More than half of European companies report difficulties in recruiting ICT professionals and as new jobs emerge, estimates show that 4 out of 10 adults lack the digital skills to participate in the digital society and transformation. To address this challenge, the Digital Decade sets ambitious targets by 2030: at least 80% of all adults with basic digital skills and 20 million employed ICT specialists in the EU (compared to 7.8 million in 2019), with a focus on increasing the number of women and overall diversity in the IT sector. To meet these targets, important actions are already ongoing and a wide range of actors are collaborating to up-and reskill European citizens and train more ICT experts. In this context, the Recovery Plan for Europe and the new European programmes are a window of opportunity and need to be combined with novel and stronger partnerships between governments, businesses and education providers to achieve the Digital Decade ambitions. 

In the world of tomorrow, if the EU wants to be the master of its own destiny, no longer naïve, but confident in its means, in its values, and in its choices, it must rely on a pool of digital experts in key emerging technologies as well as on digital savvy citizens.

It is one of the objectives of the Digital Europe Programme to close this digital skills gap, and in doing so, to promote European sovereignty. It will provide training opportunities for the future experts in key capacity areas, target the upskilling of the existing workforce and, notwithstanding the main focus on the advanced digital skills, will address the digital transformation of the education sector.


The first day of the event will focus on the Communication 2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade. The second day will be dedicated to the launch of the Digital Europe Programme, the first financial instrument of the EU to specifically finance European projects on digital. 

Day 1 - 1 June 2021

On the first day, a panel dedicated to the digital skills topic - Digital Skills: Engine of European Recoverywill be organised at 14h00-14h45 (CEST). It will address the following questions:

  • Which collective actions are most promising to achieve that at least 80% of all Europeans have at least basic digital skills; what needs to be done to train an additional 12 million digital technology experts by 2030 to reach the Digital Decade targets?

    • What kind of actions are needed to accelerate the increase in basic digital skills and leapfrog?
    • How to scale up innovative and disruptive models to train more ICT specialists, both through formal higher education and bootcamps, and to attract more girls and women to become digital technology experts?
    • How can actions under the National Recovery and Resilience Plans and European-level programmes contribute to reaching these targets?
    • Which incentives and KPIs are needed so that businesses, governments and education institutions work together to attain these objectives?

The panellists for this session include:


  • Ulrike Fiona Domany-Funtan,Secretary-General of Fit4internet


  • Petra De Sutter,Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of public enterprises, public administration, post and telecommunication, Belgium
  • Josianne Cutajar,Member of the European Parliament
  • Alexandra Mechkova,CEO of Telerik Academy
  • Barbora Buhnova,Associate Professor and Vice-Dean for Industrial Partners (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic), Governing Board Member, Czechitas
  • Robert-Jan Smits,President of the Executive Board at Eindhoven University

Day 2 - 2 June 2021

On the second day, a panel dedicated to the digital skills topic, An Ambitious Impetus for Advanced Digital Skills - Building the European Sovereignty will be organised at 16h15 – 17h00 CEST. 

The panel will discuss the importance of advanced digital skills as the main driving force behind a digital and sovereign Europe, especially in the context of recent EU actions in this area - the Digital Europe Programme and the European Data Strategy. At the heart of the Digital Europe Programme is the objective of closing the digital skills gap and consequently promoting and strengthening European sovereignty. It will provide training opportunities for the future experts in key capacity areas, target the upskilling of the existing workforce and, notwithstanding the main focus on the advanced digital skills, will address the digital transformation of the education sector. The speakers of the session will focus around these key issues. 


  • Fabrizia Benini, Head of Unit - Digital Economy, Recovery Plan and Skills, DG CONNECT
  • Silvia Merisio, Policy Officer - Digital Economy, Recovery Plan and Skills, DG CONNECT
  • Arthur Tréguier, Policy Officer - Digital Economy, Recovery Plan and Skills, DG CONNECT
  • Rehana Schwinninger-Ladak,  Head of the Unit Interactive technologies, Digital for Culture and Education. 

Across the two days, there will be invaluable discussions on Europe's digital future, so you don't want to miss your chance to hear what's next for European innovation. Check out the full programme that is available on the conference's website.

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Event Details

Target audience
Digital skills for all
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) not further defined
Target language
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative
Event setting
Virtual Live