null Statement to the European Commission on the proposal for programme "Path to the Digital Decade"

Digitalisation as a systemic change, and its deep societal impact, must be taken into account in all policymaking. CSC therefore welcomes the Commission’s proposal that draws the attention of politicians, civil servants and other stakeholders to the various dimensions of digitalisation both at European and national levels. While it is important to emphasise the significance of digitalisation, this must not be discussed in a silo. The Digital Decade policy programme must be tightly connected to other relevant EU policies, such as the European Green Deal, the European Strategy for Data and the various policies related to education, research and innovation. Data as the core element of digitalisation must be recognised in this development: the societies are becoming increasingly data-intensive, and therefore we need more and more capacity, infrastructure, skills and policies to turn data into new innovation and business.

In short, CSC recommends:

  1. adding a new two-fold target for reducing the carbon footprint of the ICT sector: first agreeing on how to measure the footprint and then setting a target for reducing it with a view to eventually removing it altogether;
  2. setting concrete targets for ensuring cross-border and cross-sectoral flow and re-use of data, e.g. by developing the common European data spaces and shared data management practices in line with the MyData principles, FAIR principles and the European Interoperability Framework;
  3. extending the target regarding citizens’ access to their own electronic health records (Art. 4.1.4.b) to guarantee access to all health care professionals dealing with the individual in question as well as for secondary use, especially for research purposes, provided that appropriate methods for anonymisation/pseudonymisation are in use;
  4. expanding the digital skills targets to promote horizontal and continuous opportunities to update one’s competences, improving the skills and competences of teachers as well as creation of tighter links between education, research and innovation;
  5. setting a more comprehensive infrastructure target for developing an interoperable ecosystem of data management, edge computing capacities and more consolidated cloud, AI, High-Performance Computing and quantum infrastructures, allowing for data to be analysed and re-used in the most appropriate environment, taking into account the needs of different beneficiaries;
  6. extending the scope and increasing the level of ambition in the target concerning Europe’s quantum capabilities;
  7. setting a separate target for developing European High-Performance Computing capabilities;
  8. requiring the Member States to set their own digital targets on national level taking into account their starting point in relation to the respective EU-level targets;
  9. developing the Multi-Country Projects with high ambition and clear added value, seeking synergies but avoiding duplications with existing projects, e.g. fully leveraging previous work done and investments made in EOSC, GAIA-X and EuroHPC;
  10. ensuring human-centricity by promoting co-design processes and digital identification solutions for cross-border use;
  11. together with a wide range of stakeholders, critically evaluating the DESI index to make sure it provides relevant information in relation to the targets to be set in the Policy Programme;
  12. paying attention to openness, transparency and ensuring a diverse and balanced representation of public and private interests as well as civil society and various fields of academia when organising stakeholder consultations.

Read the full statement here