The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Commission jointly held the sixth meeting of the Broadband Platform on 25 May. Members learnt about the latest policy initiatives on digital transformation, such as the European Commission's proposal on Gigabit Infrastructure, the proposal on the Cyber Solidarity Act and discussed challenges and opportunities linked to connectivity, digital resilience and a digital maturity assessment for cities, villages and regions in Europe. CoR members directly informed Commission's experts about the digital challenges they experience at local and regional level.
The latest developments on digital policies in the European Union were the focus of discussions between members of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission during the Broadband Platform meeting which took place on 25 May. During the session on connectivity, representatives from the European Commission DG Connect explained that excellent and secure connectivity for everybody and everywhere in the EU is becoming a prerequisite to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits. In this context, the 5G for smart communities initiative grants funds for the rapid deployment and take-up of 5G. The European Commission further presented a set of actions to solve bottlenecks for fibre deployment at the local level, such as the Gigabit Infrastructure Act.
Ilpo Heltimoinen (FI/ECR), Chair of the Broadband Platform and Lappeenranta City Councilor, said: "Digital transformation has become more important than ever, and a high-quality digital infrastructure is an increasingly significant cornerstone of our economies, taking its place alongside electricity, gas, water and transport networks. It is therefore crucial that fast and secure connectivity is available across Europe so people can connect with each other, learn and work online. Today's digital economy offers a multitude of opportunities, from creating an online business to completing online degrees, and we want Europeans to be at the forefront of capitalising on these possibilities."
Members of the meeting further discussed the brand-new ECON study on digital resilience which states that local authorities (e.g., municipalities and associations of municipalities) are currently amongst the preferred and most vulnerable targets by hackers. Its recommendations include that increasing connectivity requires secure connections and so-called digital resilience. They further debated on the EU Cyber Solidarity Act which will also feed into an ongoing CoR opinion by rapporteur Pehr Granfalk (SE/EPP), Member of Solna Municipal Council, and an external ECON conference in Wismar, Germany, on the subject.
Participants also learned more about a concrete tool which will serve those in charge at regional, municipal and city level to benchmark their digital maturity against that of their peers, called LORDIMAS. When entering their data, they will receive targeted policy recommendations on how to speed up the digital transformation of their region, village or city. LORDIMAS will be launched at the Mayors' Digital Assembly on 15 June and Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), President of the Helsinki region, Ufuk Kahya (NL/Greens), Alderman of the municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch and Kata Tüttő (HU/PES), Deputy Mayor of Budapest, are the CoR's LORDIMAS ambassadors.