Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning the communication on Europe's digital decade (2030 digital targets)

Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap concerning the communication on Europe's digital decade (2030 digital targets)

CSC welcomes the plan to formulate a new vision for Europe’s digital transformation and especially the human-centric approach. This requires developing user-centric digital services by e.g. ensuring people’s control over their personal data, and improving interoperability between digital services to improve consumer experience. Data is in the core of digitalisation and must therefore be recognised as a key element in all areas. Thus, it is crucial to adhere to MyData principles, FAIR principles and the European Interoperability Framework.

CSC appreciates the intention to ensure synergies between the digital and green transitions. The pioneering work done in Finland to create a climate and environment strategy for the ICT sector provides useful input to the European vision. When considering the environmental impact of the ICT sector, it is important to keep in mind its dual nature: 1. the sector causes GHG emissions (carbon footprint); 2. it creates solutions for reducing emissions in other sectors (carbon handprint).

Another key starting point for the new vision is coherence of EU’s digital goals. This requires making sure concrete targets and actions to implement the vision never lose sight of the underlying principles, such as the human-centricity and environmental sustainability. Europe’s digital sovereignty must be strengthened in line with the principles of global cooperation and open science that European RDI needs to thrive. At the level of capacity building, coherence requires creating synergetic, interoperable and federated data ecosystems by developing high-performance computing, data management, AI and connectivity networks in convergence. Data flow across sectors and borders must be ensured as well as use of sensitive data for R&I purposes, taking inspiration from the work done in Finland on use of health data in ways that respect people’s right to privacy.

The vision for Europe’s digital transformation must be paired with concrete targets and actions, and it must be built on existing digital infrastructures. CSC agrees with the four dimensions that the Commission has identified, but would like to see digitalisation of education considered as part of the dimension of digital government and the Digital Education Action Plan included among the previous strategies informing the vision. All actions must be determined based on a thorough analysis of Europe’s strengths, and continuously adapted to possible changes in the operating environment.

Action are required in three areas: regulation, investments and skills development. Regulation must guarantee peoples´ rights online and support a well-functioning digital single market. Legislative barriers must be removed to ensure innovation and growth. Soft-law type of instruments and community-driven bottom-up approaches must be adopted wherever possible.

Sustainable funding for digital infrastructures must be ensured, to meet the growing capacity needs for data processing. CSC warmly welcomes the intention to create Multi Country Projects, which would pool not only funding, but also human resources, and help develop and scale up innovative technologies. In particular, investment must be channeled towards supporting practical applications and commercialisation of innovations as this continues to be the weak link in European innovation processes.

Efforts are needed both to provide all Europeans with basic skills and competences to operate in the increasingly digitalised world and to train a wide range of specialised professionals for the needs of the digital economy. Particular attention must be paid to transversal skills and life-long learning as both specialised professionals and ordinary citizens need to be able to continuously update their skills and competences in the rapidly evolving digital world.