Digital technology is changing people’s lives. The EU’s digital strategy aims to make this transformation work for people and businesses while helping to achieve its target of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. Digital communication, social media interaction, e-commerce, and digital enterprises are steadily transforming our world. They are generating an ever-increasing amount of data, which, if pooled and used, can lead to a completely new means and levels of value creation. It is a transformation as fundamental as that caused by the industrial revolution. Therefore, the EU’s strategies for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data aim to encourage businesses to work with, and develop, these new technologies, while at the same time making sure that they earn citizens’ trust.
In her political guidelines, Commission President von der Leyen stressed the need for Europe to lead the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world. This twin challenge requires an immediate change of direction towards more sustainable solutions which are resource-efficient, circular and climate-neutral. It requires that every citizen has a fair chance, wherever they live, to reap the benefits of our increasingly digitised society.
Benefits from digital solutions arising from they do not come without risks and costs. Citizens feel out of control over their personal data. And malicious cyber activity may threaten our personal well-being or disrupt our critical infrastructures and wider security interests.
This societal transformation calls for a profound reflection at all levels of society as to how Europe can best meet these risks and challenges. It will require a huge effort, but Europe has the means to bring about this better digital future for everyone.
Concluding, the Commission wants a European society powered by digital solutions that are strongly rooted in our common values, and that enrich the lives of all of us: people must have the opportunity to develop personally, to choose freely and safely, to engage in society, regardless of their age, gender or professional background. Businesses need a framework that allows them to startup, scale-up, pool and use data, to innovate and compete or cooperate on fair terms. And Europe needs to have a choice and pursue the digital transformation in its own way.