Günther H. Oettinger’s speech at Bruegel’s event “What Digital Union for Europe?”

Dear Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is turning digital – faster than we could have imagined. Digital is already everywhere. Yet, this is only the beginning.

Citizens are digital – three quarters use the Internet regularly. Especially for those under 40, the Internet has become an integral part of our life.

Companies are currently starting the 5th or 6th wave of digital – from simple websites many have moved on to using Enterprise resource planning for logistics, social media for branding, eInvoices for accounting. However, too few of them are selling online.

Also public administrations are moving online fast. One quarter of EU citizens makes requests online.

We have heard about the benefits of the digital world for productivity. Digitisation has been, is and will be good for Europe.

Yet I cannot help thinking that it would be much better for Europe if we were able not only to use digital technology, but also to play a bigger role in creating it.

To generate more high-quality jobs, and to contribute to shaping the digital world. Today, we reap some but not enough of the digital jobs and shape very little of this new Internet world.

Every footballer in the world wants to play in Europe. That is where the game is. For the same reason, every IT specialist dreams of going to the US. We should make Europe a place where IT dreams also come true.

To get there, European policy must follow where citizens, companies and administrations have already gone. Otherwise we will end up with a European Union for the analogue world and a return to purely national thinking for the digital world – 21st century technology with 19th century policy.

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Source: Bruegel

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