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LEurope numérique pour tous: fournir des solutions intelligentes et inclusives sur le terrain

Opinion Number: CDR 3332/2019
Rapporteur: KARJALAINEN Anne
Commission: SEDEC
Status: Adopted
Date: 09/10/2019
To contribute towards the development of specific measures under the future Digital Europe programme, where salient issues for LRAs are concerned
To require a digital hub to be supported by EU funds and policies in each of the NUTS 2 level regions across the EU
To advocate the development of the local DESI index
To strengthen the local and regional dimension in the future Digital Europe programme
To require from the European Commission a more inclusive approach towards the digital transformation policies
The rapporteur has disseminated and discussed the CoR's key political messages on the Digital Europe for All as a keynote speaker on a number of occasions: the EU Digital Assembly in June 2019 in Bucharest (still while preparing the opinion and collecting input for it), meetings with the DG CNECT Digital Europe programme Officer Mrs Zoe de Linde in July-August 2019, the EU digital policy discussion in Brussels on 28 November 2019 (organised by the CoR with the Deputy DG CNECT of the Eur. Commiss., Mrs C. Bury) which has ensured continuity of the EU digital policies for local and regional authorities across the old and new mandat eof the European Commission, the local DESI workshop organised by ESPON in Brussels on 20 January 2020, and on the EU CITIES Forum in Porto on 31 January - 1 February 2020, where the rapporteur has voiced teh CoR's support to the Join, Boost and Sustain declaration of cities contributing towards compatible digital platforms across the EU with the aim to ensure the EU's technology neutrality and enabling high quality digital services for the citizens.

- considers that the term "digital cohesion" is an important additional dimension of the traditional concept of economic, social and territorial cohesion defined in the EU Treaty. The CoR therefore proposes an open debate on the future role of digitalisation in promoting "cohesion" in the European Union. The aim would be to address societal challenges, while making sure not to leave any person or region behind;

- calls for strong European cooperation between all levels of government in the EU to achieve better use, further enhancement and upscaling of a citizen-driven digital transformation in cities and communities;

- stresses that the network of digital innovation hubs should be promoted throughout the EU, with a view to ensuring that each NUTS2 region has one hub, established with the support of the Digital Europe programme;

- supports the proposal made by DG CNECT during the 2019 Digital Assembly to produce a "local DESI index" to complete the existing Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) that is produced every year at national level; recommends close cooperation between DG CNECT, the European Committee of the Regions, the ESPON (the European Spatial Planning Observation Network) programme, and other initiatives and institutions to develop the concept for such an index, which then should be produced on an annual basis by DG CNECT alongside the national DESI index;

- underlines the need to address the crucial issue of data, in itself and in the context of Artificial Intelligence, and the way it is handled by local and regional authorities. The Committee could contribute in this regard by facilitating the exchange of best practices and deepening the reflection on the management of personal and public data by local and regional authorities. The CoR calls for serious reflection on the principles of data circulation in the light of the challenges of protection and sovereignty of data of general interest vis-à-vis digital giants.
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