The Digital Agenda forms one of the seven pillars of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Its main objective, as defined by the European Commission, is ‘to develop a digital single market in order to generate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe’.
The seven pillars making up the Digital Agenda are:
- achieving the digital single market to update EU Single Market rules for the digital era, with the aim of boosting the music download business, establishing a single area for online payments, and further protecting EU consumers in cyberspace;
- enhancing interoperability and standards, ensuring that new information technology (IT) devices, applications, data repositories and services interact seamlessly anywhere;
- strengthening online trust and security, including the establishment of a coordinated European response to cyber attacks, and the introduction of reinforced rules on personal data protection;
- promoting fast and ultra-fast internet access for all;
- investing in research and innovation;
- promoting digital literacy, skills and inclusion;
- promoting ICT-enabled benefits for EU society, such as health and public services.
There is a shortage of employees with digital skills across the EU. To promote employment in the information communications technology (ICT) field and in jobs which require digital skills, in 2013 the European Commission created the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and Skills. This multistakeholder partnership endeavours to facilitate collaboration among business and education providers, and public and private players to take action to attract young people into ICT education and to retrain unemployed people.
The European Commission’s May 2015 Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (PDF) set out details on the concepts on which the seven pillars of the Digital Agenda are based.
Reacting to this Communication, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) noted in a preliminary assessment in June 2015 its concern that digitalisation should not just be a technological issue or a question of the market, but should also focus on the transition of traditional jobs to digital jobs in the industrial and service sectors. It further stated that digitalisation should be based on quality work and that the transition should be anticipated and managed in close cooperation with trade unions, European Works Councils and workers’ representatives in general. The ETUC stressed that it was ready to support the transition to digitalisation, provided the framework was ‘sustainable, just and fair’.
For the employers, BusinessEurope stated in a press release (PDF) issued in May 2016 that it fully supported the European Commission in its efforts to increase cross-border e-commerce and further develop the digital economy. It pointed out that while e-commerce was increasing continuously at national level, cross-border online sales were still underdeveloped, also as a result of remaining fragmentation in the single market.
Topic: Digital age