The COVID pandemic showed the importance and potential of digitization in Europe, for example allowing small businesses to continue trading during lockdown. From now, the rollout of 5G is going to be a huge factor in Europe’s digital future, transforming everything from agriculture to education.
To highlight the importance of digital technology for Europe, Vodafone sponsored a POLITICO Live event in Brussels on March 30, Powering Europe’s digital decade: competitiveness, recovery and resilience. CEO Nick Read said digital technologies have the potential to contribute €2.2 trillion of GDP by 2030, and that the growth will contribute to reduced carbon dioxide emissions and a fairer society, among other benefits. “The European digital decade is now even more important due to the war in Ukraine,” he said. “We must ensure that the digital decade will enhance European security and resilience.”
To create a competitive market, the European Union is considering the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to prevent large companies – known as digital “gatekeepers” – from abusing their market power and to allow new players to enter the market. Another consideration is how to stop digital media from being used to disseminate disinformation: The war in Ukraine has shown the importance of cyber defense. “We need to distinguish between freedom of expression and media plurality and the weaponizing of media through propaganda,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s Executive Vice President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age. Other participants called for greater cooperation with the United States to combat disinformation. “Our only chance in Europe is to not become isolated, an island, but to work with like-minded countries,” said Dita Charanzová, an MEP (Renew Europe, Czech Republic) and vice president of the European Parliament. “The first on this list is the US, and there is a window of opportunity to embrace this relationship.”
Learn more about this POLITICO Live event