The European Commission proposed the first Digital Europe programme worth €9.2 billion to align the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027 with the need for developing and reinforcing Europe’s strategic digital capacities.

Rapporteur Markku Markkula welcomes the investments such as advanced high-capacity 5G networks, HPC, AI and Cybersecurity, which are necessary to enable the deployment of digital services and technologies in Europe. Markkula underlined the pivotal role of cities and regions in providing such digital services and in creating and managing digital platform economy.

In his opinion he emphasises the importance of establishing the network of European Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) with sufficient coverage for all regions. While the impact assessment clearly states that the DIHs shall have a strong regional dimension, this is not reflected in the legislative proposal.

He also stresses the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) as future technology to be applied for societal challenges and create sustainable growth. He proposes that we need to ensure the high quality of data and secure personal privacy in Europe.

‘To make digital revolution happen and to be competitive, we need stable and clear legal environment, favorable conditions to stimulate the innovation and allow to all players to tap into the new market dynamics allowing Europe with companies to become the global leaders. Cities and regions have an important role and responsibility to make digital transformation happen – we need to empower cities, businesses and citizens.’

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