On Monday 1st October, Secretary General of the European Committee of the Regions Jiri Burianek delivered a keynote speech on digitization in the European Union, one of the main themes of the 14th Conference of European Regions and Cities hosted by the Institute of the European Regions (IRE) in Salzburg. European high-profile speakers discussed how European regions and cities contribute to the future Europe.
In his intervention, Mr. Burianek focused on the epochal change of the digitization of society and economy. He said that Internet of Things, driverless cars, Industry 4.0, 3D printers and others had opened a new world of opportunities but also novel challenges that are transforming our economy and culture. He emphasized that the EU is implementing its digitization in many different ways, but the growth is still too slow. To face this challenge, Mr. Burianek stressed the importance of a new digital deal where all levels of governance –the European, the national and the local and regional ones -would join forces. He gave best practice examples of projects where local and regional authorities were at the forefront, like Innsbruck, first 5G city.
Mr. Burianek ended his speech underlining the urgency to maintain an inclusive and interactive process to improve digital skills of EU citizens and reduce the digital gaps between European regions in order to be ready for the digital run.