CoR Secretary General speaks at the 2018 ITAPA V4 Congress in Bratislava  

For the Secretary General Jiří Buriánek the challenge of digitization will be decisive for the future of EU

On13 November 2018 Secretary General Jiří Buriánek spoke at the Plenary Opening session of the ITAPA V4 Congress in Bratislava, the best known IT congress in Slovakia. He highlighted that Digital Infrastructure covering the full territory of the EU and obviously also the V4 territory is one of the key challenges for the upcoming European Smart Infrastructure and will be decisive for the competitiveness of the EU and the Visegrad 4 countries (Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic) . It is to be seen in the context of a dramatic struggle which will reward the fastest movers and punish the ones coming too late.

In order to put this smart infrastructure in place, Mr Burianek pleaded for new smart approaches for reaching a digital infrastructure covering also remote region areas and making the citizens and companies of the EU, including notably the SMEs, fit for the industry 4.0 and the sharing economy process. Most specifically, a new approach is needed for creating synergies at regional and cross-border level with new instruments like European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) and a massive effort in developing public-private partnerships using both EU instruments (Invest EU) and private financial sources via notably the recently established Digitisation Fund.

The panel concluded that the deployment and coverage by 4G and 5G in the near future are key to progress in technologies like automated cars, artificial intelligence etc. Synergies across national bounderies, including at regional and local level need to be undertaken urgently.