24 April 2024

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Central Eastern European digital industry shares its vision of EU digital agenda ahead of European elections

Strengthening cybersecurity and trust, boosting investment in digital skills and education, fostering innovation and digital services, promoting a conducive regulatory environment, ensuring sustainability and finally, promoting competitiveness and global partnerships - these are the key elements of a forward-looking vision for the incoming European Commission and European Parliament, articulated by CEE Digital Coalition in their latest statement addressed to national and EU officials.

14 digital industry national trade associations from 12 Central Eastern European countries, cooperating under the banner of CEE Digital Coalition, published a statement, covering a list of core priorities for digital advancement addressed at the new European administration. According to signatories of the document, the blueprint presented is an expression of their unwavering dedication to driving digital transformation across the European Union, focusing on ensuring that the CEE region leads in innovation, competitiveness, and economic vitality. The statement was published just days after the Three Seas Summit and Business Forum in Vilnius, Latvia, where political and business leaders gathered to discuss the region’s development. It also corresponds to the upcoming elections for the European Parliament.

Regulations and competitiveness as pillars of digital progress
Signatories of the released statement argue that a conducive regulatory environment is one of the keys to unleashing digital innovation in Europe. “This vision emphasizes the importance of formulating regulations that do not unduly increase compliance costs for businesses including SMEs, thereby enabling them to innovate and compete effectively. To further this aim, it is essential to implement policies that facilitate the European startup ecosystem's access to venture capital and tech talent, which is crucial for transforming innovative ideas into market-ready solutions. Moreover, the current complexity of the EU's regulatory framework and the associated compliance costs can hinder businesses' digitalization efforts. Identifying and resolving conflicting regulations and removing redundant barriers will help SMEs innovate and digitalize” – the document reads.

Promoting competitiveness and global partnerships also made it to the list of priorities proposed in the statement. “The significance of competitiveness and international collaborations cannot be overstated, particularly for the CEE region, a dynamic hub of innovation and technological advancement within the European Union. Strengthening our transatlantic relationships and forging robust partnerships with key global players are critical for mutual prosperity and security. Central to this endeavor is a strategic investment in digital infrastructure, which not only sharpens our competitive edge but also solidifies Europe's influential role in the digital global economy” - authors of the statement argue.

Other priorities proposed by CEE’s digital industry organizations included: ensuring sustainability, promoting cross-sectoral digital integration, strengthening cybersecurity and trust, boosting investment in digital skills and education as well as fostering innovation and digital services.

Central Eastern Europe looking to lead the digital revolution in the EU
Authors of the appeal argue that the digital transition in Europe presents a critical opportunity to redefine global living standards and confront major challenges through collective action and note CEE's remarkable economic evolution, highlighted by significant GDP growth, as well as dynamics of the ICT sector and digital economy in the region. – We are committed to building a competitive and innovative digital economy in Europe and a prosperous, safe, modern society in our region. Guided by these principles, we present the following core priorities for digital advancement for the new European administration. We hope that our collective vision and proposed priorities could help to guide the new European Commission and Parliament towards policies that foster a thriving digital economy. We firmly believe that through collaboration, innovation, and targeted action, we can transform the digital landscape of Europe, ensuring it remains competitive and resilient in the global digital economy – Michał Kanownik, President of Digital Poland Association, one of the founders of CEE Digital Coalition concludes.

The statement is available here