The European Commission (EC) said it will invest €1.98 billion (US$2.25 billion) to advance its member states’ digital transition.
To that end, the EC has adopted three work programmes for the Digital Europe Programme, outlining the objectives and specific topic areas.
This first set of work programmes includes strategic investments that will be instrumental in realising the Commission’s goals in making this Europe’s Digital Decade.
The Digital Europe Programme aims to bolster Europe’s technological sovereignty and bring digital solutions to market for the benefit of citizens, public administrations, and businesses.
The “main work programme”, worth €1.38 billion ($1.57 billion), will focus on investment in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and data spaces, quantum communication infrastructure, advanced digital skills, and the wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society, until the end of 2022.
Alongside this main work programme, the Commission published two specific work programmes: the first one focuses on funding in the area of cybersecurity, with a budget of €269 million ($305.89 million) until the end of 2022; and the second one focuses on the set-up and operation of the network of European Digital Innovation Hubs, with a budget of €329 million ($374.12 million), until the end of 2023.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “With the Digital Europe Programme, we are building secure and sustainable digital infrastructures. We are also enabling businesses gain better access to data or use solutions powered by artificial intelligence.
“The programme also invests to ensure that Europeans can get the right skills to actively participate in the labour market. The aim is that everyone in Europe – citizens, businesses and administrations – can benefit from market-ready technological solutions.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “This is Europe’s Digital Decade. By 2030, data, cloud, edge and quantum computing will drive industrial and societal innovation, creating new business models.
“The €2 billion investment announced today enables European companies – of all sizes and notably startups – to seize opportunities in fast-growing markets. It will also empower European citizens with the skills needed to thrive in a safe digital environment. This strengthens our technological sovereignty.”
The Digital Europe Programme is the first funding programme of the EU focused on bringing digital technology to businesses and citizens.
With a planned total budget of €7.5 billion ($8.53 billion) over seven years, it will accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, bringing benefits in particular to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Digital Europe Programme will complement investments under other EU programmes, such as the Horizon Europe, EU4Health, InvestEU, the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as investments under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.