The European Commission has embraced the new political agreement on the first EU programme that aims to accelerate the Digital Europe Programme.
The European Parliament and the EU Member States have agreed upon the launch of the Digital Europe Programme, worth €7.5bn. The programme is a part of the next long-term EU budget that covers the 2021-2027 period. It will provide funding for projects in five crucial areas: supercomputing, Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring the wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “This programme is one of the key tools to make sure digital sectors will propel the recovery. The agreement shows that we are all working together on shaping and supporting the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy.”
Investments under the Digital Europe Programme support the Union’s twin objectives of a green transition and digital transformation to strengthen the Union’s resilience and open strategic autonomy. The programme aims to fill the gap between the research of digital technologies, and to bring innovations to the market – for the benefit of Europe’s citizens and businesses.
What is the Digital Europe Programme?
The Commission has published draft orientations for Digital Europe, which will shape the work programmes and calls for proposals for the programme’s first two years (2021-2022). The Digital Europe Programme will complement other EU programmes, such as Horizon Europe, the EU programme for research and innovation, on which a political agreement has been reached last week.
The legal adoption of the Multiannual financial framework package along with the ratification of the Own Resources Decision is essential to the progression of the programme. Once adopted, the EU’s long-term budget, coupled with the NextGenerationEU initiative, will be the largest stimulus package ever financed through the EU budget.
European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “The pandemic has underlined the need to invest in our digital capacities, from supercomputers to cybersecurity. The programme will help European businesses, especially smaller ones, to deploy advanced technologies, to grow and benefit from the vast opportunities of digital transformation. It will help our citizens to upgrade their digital skills. This is essential to deliver on the twin digital and green transitions, to promote our technological sovereignty and strengthen our strategic digital capacities.”