2016 Digital Day: Innovation in the digital era. Reinventing our economy. - Related Opinions
The EESC welcomes the Commission's communication, which calls for the establishment in the European Union of a thriving data-driven economy and thus a digital economy using information technologies.
The EESC stresses that the broad dissemination of information technologies in all areas of society and the economy, culture and education will provide enormous development opportunities, but it is necessary to support IT-related research and development in the technical, economic and social sciences. The EESC regrets the substantial reduction in funding for the financing of digital infrastructure under the Connecting Europe Facility and strongly advocates drawing appropriate conclusions. A new investment plan presented by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2014, aimed at mobilising at least EUR 315 billion in the form of additional public and private investment in key areas such as digital infrastructure, is in this context a welcome policy response.
The Europe 2020 strategy's objective is to use smart, sustainable and inclusive growth to emerge from the crisis. The Digital Agenda for Europe pinpoints as obstacles the lack of digital skills, the risk of low trust in networks, cybercrime and missed opportunities in addressing societal challenges. Unequal ICT access is primarily an extension of financial and social inequalities; there is an urgent need to develop growth and employment in order to secure a successful exit from the crisis. For ALL citizens, having a critical grasp of the contents of all media tools means 1) being online; 2) knowing how to use the equipment; 3) being at home with technology; 4) being trained to use it; 5) being part of the e society. E-inclusion must follow a global approach and ensure everyone's independence, regardless of their position in society.