Opinion Factsheet  

Digitising European Industry

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Opinion Number: CDR 2884/2016
Rapporteur: MCCARTHY Kieran
Commission: SEDEC
Status: Adopted
Date: 11/10/2016
 
The European Committee of the Regions
underlines that the EU’s Digital Single Market is underpinned by its 500 million consumers and is the single most powerful policy instrument for the EU and its Member States and regions to stimulate innovation, growth and jobs;
recognises that the EU ICT sector represents an important share of the economy employing more than 6 million people and accounting for about 4% of GDP. Recent studies estimate that the digitisation of products and services has the potential, if fully embraced, to add more than EUR 110 billion of revenue for industry per year in Europe in the next five years;
agrees that two particularly key success factors for reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market are (a) a highly competitive European digital industry, coupled with (b) the readiness of the private and public sectors to adapt accordingly by integrating the resultant digital innovations into their activities in order to ensure high quality services for all citizens. Underlines that removing regulatory barriers, cutting red-tape and modernising EU regulation is also a key factor.
The CoR Opinion on "Digitising European Industry " underlines that the Digital Single Market strategy, especially the pillar on "maximising the growth potential of the digital economy", contains all the major levers for improving industry digitisation with actions in areas such as the data economy, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, skills and e-government. The convergence of a number of additional technologies is increasingly driving the digital change, notably robotics and artificial-intelligence, and 3D printing​welcomes the Communication from the European Commission on Digitising European Industry: Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market and the package of enabling measures it proposes towards unlocking the opportunities that arise from the Digital Single Market strategy. Europe’s future economic growth and employment prospects, but also social cohesion, increasingly depends on the ability to understand, embrace and utilise all aspects of the innovation society within its regions. The rapporteur was also invited to present the CoR opinion at an event - 'The impact of digitalisation on 21st century families' in November 2016.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS

- welcomes the Communication from the European Commission on Digitising European Industry: Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market and the package of enabling measures it proposes towards unlocking the opportunities that arise from the Digital Single Market strategy. Europe's future economic growth and employment prospects, but also social cohesion, increasingly depends on the ability to understand, embrace and utilise all aspects of the innovation society within its regions;

- notes that the continuing industrial revolution, driven by new generations of digital technologies such as big data, and by new and different ways of applying digital technologies to sectoral and local problems, is taking place. The challenge ahead is for European industry to seize fully and swiftly these digital opportunities. The opportunities for companies in traditional and non-technological industries, particularly SMEs, to fully embrace digitisation as a means of enhancing and securing their competitiveness cannot be overstated;

- emphasises that the rapid development and widening use of digital technologies also urgently requires modernisation of the current regulatory framework in order to keep pace with an unprecedented rate of innovation;

- considers that investment from private and public sources including wider contribution from business and institutional players such as the European Investment Bank (EIB – including through the European Investment Plan/EFSI) – should be encouraged and the importance reaffirmed of synergies between Horizon2020, the Startup Europe and FIWARE initiatives, the ESIFs, and regional and national policy instruments in relation to the broader EU objectives of competitiveness and cohesion.