Europe in €2bn digital boost

Europe in €2bn digital boost

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

This is the first set of work programmes with strategic investments to boost Europe’s technological sovereignty.

This includes deployment of a secure quantum communication infrastructure for the EU (EuroQCI) that will offer high resilience against cyber-attacks as well as a network of European Digital Innovation Hubs set up with a budget of €329m until the end of 2023.

These are in addition to the main €1.38bn Digital Europe Programme 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.

“This is Europe’s Digital Decade. By 2030, data, cloud, edge and quantum computing will drive industrial and societal innovation, creating new business models,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market. “The €2bn investment 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 main work programme will include investments in common data spaces for for manufacturing, mobility and finance to enable cross-border data sharing for businesses, including small and medium size businesses (SMEs) and start-ups, and the public sector, as well as the deployment of a federated cloud-to-edge infrastructure and services based on the Gaia-X project.

It will also include building of testing and experimentation facilities for AI-based solutions in order to boost the use of trusted AI (including use by SMEs and start-ups) to respond to key societal challenges, including climate change and sustainable healthcare (e.g. deploying AI testing facilities for health and smart cities and communities);

The work programme on cybersecurity will see investments in building up advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures. It will fund the development and best use of knowledge and skills related to cybersecurity, promote sharing of best practices and ensure wide deployment of state–of-the-art cybersecurity solutions across the European economy.

The European Digital Innovation Hubs will be an important tool in EU policies, in particular the industrial policy and the policy for small and medium businesses and start-ups, to support companies and the public sector in the twin green and digital transitions.

The first calls for the Digital Europe Programme will be published by the end of November, and more calls will be published in 2022 and the work programmes will be implemented mainly through grants and procurement.

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