My message to the Tallinn Digital Summit: Make the Digital Single Market a reality by the end of 2018. - EU monitor

EU monitor
Friday, February 28, 2020
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Source: A. (Andrus) Ansip i, published on Thursday, September 28 2017.

This week sees the European Union's heads of state and government meet in Estonia to discuss how to build Europe's digital future up to 2025. This is a good time for the Tallinn summit to be held. It can really help the DSM to move from vision to reality. That is what is needed for people to see and feel the digital difference, and as soon as we can make it happen.

The Commission has done its work. Our initiatives have arrived in a steady flow. Some are already in effect; the rest are on the EU negotiating table. What we need now is some strong political commitment for the final decisions to be taken.

EU leaders themselves already called for this in June 2016. They agreed that the DSM must be in place by the end of 2018 - the clock is ticking.

From @EU2017EE

I would like to see results emerge from the Tallinn summit that will directly help us in our work to build a DSM - and accelerate it.

I say this because it seems clear to me that more and more EU countries are showing a solid commitment to digitisation.

Governments are waking up to the need - the urgency - to digitise and to act at EU level.

You can see from the summit agenda that the topics for discussion are all intrinsically important to the DSM.

Just to name a few: the future of the digital economy, cybersecurity - building trust and confidence, along with a free and open internet; how to get governments and public services to go digital; boosting digital skills and literacy in the workforce.

The Tallinn Summit is a great opportunity to build on - not merely reaffirm - what EU leaders have already agreed.

A unique chance to endorse specific goals that are not only aspirational for Europe's future digital economy and society but also actionable - meaning that we will realistically be able to put them into effect, quickly, on the ground.

Spectrum, which is crucial for Europeans to have high-speed connectivity in the future, is one example that I have often mentioned. If we do not change our spectrum policies, EU will remain as a follower and will not be able to lead.

This is already the case for 4G. According to the OpenSignal metric, that measures availability of 4G, the leaders are South Korea (95.71%) and Japan (92.03%). Best EU country is Lithuania with (84.73%). The US (81.30%) and China (73.83%) outperform most EU countries, including our biggest Member States - Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Without coordinated spectrum, we will be lagging behind also in deploying 5G. Europe should not be left behind. Hence, I welcome the calls from some EU heads of government to agree on the new Telecoms code by the end of this year. We cannot afford losing more time.

On data, all EU countries need to implement the General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018. Our proposed review of e-privacy rules should be adopted by then - making life vastly easier for people and businesses.

Last week the Commission presented a series of measures on non-personal data flows and cybersecurity. The Digital Summit gives a good opportunity to show common determination in this area. I would like to see each EU country sign up to changing their systems in ways that will help us build strong cybersecurity for the EU, whilst allowing free movement of non-personal data in the Single Market.

From @EU2017EE

The EU should also be a leader in innovation. This requires the right tools - with the creation of the European Innovation Council - and the right investments for research and innovation after 2020. We need to double the current budget.

Progress in linking up public eServices across borders - on the basis of the eIDAS regulation and the once-only principle - has immediate benefits for people and companies.

These are just a few examples of what the summit could achieve.

They are not the only urgent ones - there are quite a few more. But I will conclude by mentioning three areas whose importance for the DSM cannot be overstated.

Firstly, the importance of trust and confidence in the online environment.

Secondly, the importance of high-speed connectivity - everywhere, and for everyone.

And lastly, the importance of promoting digital skills as our society, economy and single marketplace turn increasingly digital.

Bottom line: nobody should be left behind in the digital age.

I hope that EU leaders will address them all. And I wish the #TallinnDigitalSummit every success.

Another blog soon.

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