On 19 February 2020, the European Commission issued a communication (PDF) outlining its three key objectives that will help Europe as it continues its digital transformation over the next five years:

  1. Technology that works for people.
  2. A fair and competitive economy.
  3. An open, democratic and sustainable society.

The communication forms part of the Commission’s priority strategy to create a Europe fit for the digital age.

In this blog, we take a look at some of the key actions under each of these three objectives.

Technology that works for people

To ensure that digitisation benefits everyone, the EU wants to encourage access to and provide education on digital technology to as many people as possible.

To increase people’s trust of online services, EU regulation will clarify the role and responsibilities of online platforms. Forming part of the Digital Services Act package, the aim is to strengthen co-operation between competent authorities, protect fundamental rights and make it easier to scale up in the digital single market.

A fair and competitive economy

The Commission plans to launch a European data strategy, including a legislative framework for data governance. This will deal with, for example, B2B data sharing and how it affects intellectual property rights. For more information, see our blog on the Commission's data and AI proposals.

As part of this approach, the Commission will evaluate and review competition rules, draft a regulation on European digital capacity, accelerate Europe’s gigabit connectivity and establish a joint cyber unit. 

There will also be a communication on business taxation to address the tax challenges arising from the digitisation of the economy.

An open, democratic and sustainable society

The Commission aims to produce a democracy action plan to improve the resilience of the democratic system, support media pluralism and address the threat of external intervention in European elections. 

It also plans to make data centres carbon-neutral by 2030 and use digital technology to develop a precise digital model of Earth (what it calls a ‘Digital Twin of the Earth’). The Commission hopes this will significantly improve Europe’s environmental prediction and crisis management capabilities. 

Other key actions cover promoting the exchange of health records, developing a circular electronics initiative, and revised rules to improve the digital single market and promote the use of trusted digital identities.

Next steps

The various key actions set out in the communication will be supported by white papers and draft legislation, which will be released in due course. 

The Commission is also encouraging intense co-operation between EU institutions, member states and the private sector. As it says in the communication, achieving the three key objectives will require a huge effort, but will mean a better digital future for everyone.