Digital Decade

Status: In development
Type: Strategy

In March 2021, the European Commission published the 2030 Digital Compass: the European Way for the Digital Decade communication, which sets out its long-term strategy for the digital transformation of the European Union.

The strategy, which includes a set of quantitative targets, seeks to define a set of rights and principles for Europeans that will “empower businesses and people in a human-centered, sustainable, and more prosperous digital future.”

Our observatory tracks the various elements of the strategy as it evolves with a focus on the discussions about the development of the underlying rights and principles for a European Digital Public Space.


Commission, Parliament and Council sign European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles
Presidents of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council signed the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles. The Declaration sets the rights and principles to guide the digital transformation and the Digital Decade Program.
Council adopts Digital Decade 2030 Roadmap
The Council adopted the 2030 policy program ‘Path to the Digital Decade’.
Parliament adopts Digital Decade 2030 roadmap
The Parliament adopted the Digital Decade 2030 Roadmap.
Commission, Parliament and Council agree on Declaration of Digital rights and Principles
The European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a political agreement on the Declaration of Digital rights and Principles.
Parliament approves final text of the Path to the Digital Decade
The Parliament approved the final text of the Path to the Digital Decade that was previously agreed upon during the Trilogue negotiations.
Trilogue agreement on the Path to the Digital Decade
Both Parliament and Council agreed on the final version of the 2030 policy program 'Path to the Digital Decade'.
Parliament adopts position on ‘Path to the Digital Decade’
The European Parliament adopted its position on the 2030 policy program 'Path to the Digital Decade'.
Council adopts position on ‘Path to the Digital Decade’
The Council of Ministers adopted its position on the 2030 policy program 'Path to the Digital Decade'.
A group of S&D MEPs working on digital policy files – Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Brando Benifei, Josianne Cutajar, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, Iban Garcia del Blanco, Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques, Christel Schaldemose, Paul Tang and Tiemo Wölken – sent a letter to the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission on the need to upscale the declaration into an EU Charter for Digital Rights in which they write:
The EU needs an updated social contract for the digital age. Its citizens need a digital economy based on rules and principles that are necessary for a free, inclusive and just digital society. Political declarations setting guidelines are important. Yet they fall short of actual digital rights to fight and stand for. A proper Charter outlining these rights would guide the EU’s legislative work as the digital transformation progresses.
Declaration on digital rights and principles is published
The European Commission proposed a Declaration on digital rights and principles for a human-centered digital transformation.
Summary report of the public consultation
The Commission published the results of the targeted consultation on the 2030 Digital Compass: The European way for the Digital Decade.
Implementing Decision on the financing of the Digital Europe program
The European Commission published an implementing Decision on the financing of the Digital Europe program. Four annexes to the Decision are published, corresponding to the four work programs: the Work Programme 2021-2022, the Work Programme 2021-2023 on European Digital Innovation Hubs, the Cybersecurity Work Programme 2021-2022, and High Performance Computing.
Commission publishes the 2030 path to the digital decade
We submitted our response to the European Commission's public consultation on a set of European digital principles. We also attached an additional document where we argue the importance of acknowledging a wider societal perspective than keeping a mere single market approach.
In order to shape a European digital space that represents our democratic values, that is aligned with the realities of the green transition and that provides space for all to use digital technologies to satisfy their needs, this digital space must be understood to be more than a marketplace - an increasingly important part of our society as a whole
Public consultation on a set of European digital principles closes
We submitted our feedback to the Commission. In our response, we highlight a lack of civil society and not-for-profit sectors in the roadmap document, which might ultimately undermine the success of the Commission’s initiative. In addition, we argue that the four cardinal points established by the Digital Compass need to allow the measurement of more complex goals related to achieving the twin transition and related goals of sustainability and societal well-being. In particular, the enhanced DESI should include indicators for measuring adherence to the Digital Principles.
Public consultation for the Digital Compass policy program closes
Public consultation for the Digital Compass policy program opens
The European Commission opens a consultation for the Digital Compass Policy Programme. It also publishes a roadmap.
Public consultation on European digital principles closes
We submit our input to the public consultation on European digital principles. We express support for the Commission’s initiative to include a set of digital principles as a key part of the European digital strategy. However, we observe a lack of reference to the European digital society as the proposal is still largely framed in market terms. In this light, we propose the “Vision for a Shared Digital Europe” policy framework which lays the foundation for a more equitable and democratic digital environment, where basic liberties and rights are protected, where strong public institutions function in the public interest, and where people have a say in how their digital environment functions. At the heart of this vision are four policy principles: Enable Self-Determination, Cultivate the Commons, Decentralize Infrastructure and Empower Public Institutions. These principles can contribute to creating a European digital space that embodies our values: strong public institutions, democratic governance, sovereignty of communities and people, diversity of cultures, and equality and justice.
Public consultation on a set of European Digital Principles opens
The European Commission opens a public consultation on a set of European digital principles. The survey is accessible here.
Public consultation on European Digital principles opens
The European Commission opened a public consultation on the declaration of digital principles. It also published a roadmap.
Andrea Renda – Senior Research Fellow and Head of Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation & Digital Economy at the Center of European Policy Studies (CEPS) – published an analysis of the European Commission’s plans to make the digital economy fit for Europe. He describes how the Digital Compass plays a crucial role in achieving Europe’s digital sovereignty but needs various adjustments. These include a more nuanced approach to connectivity since 5G technologies seem to be cost-effective only in a subset of use cases, more efforts in the development of “Personal Information Management Systems”, and clearer rules for the governance of future data spaces. Finally, Renda argues for effective coherence between policy files to make the best out of enforcement provisions.
Friends of Europe – a Brussels-based, pro-EU think tank – published a reaction to the Commission's communication. They argue an overall lack of ambition in the strategy, which appears to be vague and unattainable in terms of target reaching. In particular, the 20% microprocessor manufacturing target is described as unrealistic. They advocate for a change of approach where the Commission’s compass can be developed into an actual roadmap for the digital decade.
2030 Digital Compass Communication
The Commission publishes the "2030 Digital Compass: the European Way for the Digital Decade" communication. Together with the proposal, it also publishes an annex to the Communication.
We submit our feedback as part of the Commission’s the Roadmap for Communication on a Europe’s digital decade: 2030 digital targets for consultation. We present three high-level observations on the need to keep into account societal outcomes in the Commission’s strategy for the digital decade. Second, we emphasize the importance of incorporating public digital infrastructure at the center of the strategy in order to achieve digital sovereignty goals which reflect European rules and values. Finally, we highlight the need to include access rights in the proposed Charter of Digital principles.
Germany, Finland, Denmark and Estonia send a letter to Ursula von der Leyen stressing the importance of Europe's digital sovereignty. The letter concludes by stating:
The European Commission should develop an action plan for greater digital sovereignty on this basis, ideally as part of its initiative announced for March 2021 on Europe’s Digital Decade. In order to ensure that critical dependencies do not become entrenched, a set of immediate measures should be defined in this plan to enable the European Union to become digitally sovereign in critical areas. [...] Digital transformation is one of the greatest opportunities and challenges for Europe’s future, and it must be of help to people, our societies and our economy. As Europeans, we aspire to continue asserting our democratic values and rules in the digital era at home and abroad. At the same time, we want to participate in digital value-added, thus safeguarding future prosperity in the European Union and moving our societies into the digital age. This can only be achieved if we follow a coherent path towards digital sovereignty – self-determined and open.
Digital Decade roadmap consultation opens
The European Commission publishes the Roadmap for Communication on Europe’s digital decade: 2030 digital targets for consultation.
European Council conclusions on the Digital Compass
As part of the conclusions of the special meeting on 1 and 2 October 2020, the European Council invited the Commission to present, by March 2021, a comprehensive Digital Compass which sets out the EUʼs concrete digital ambitions for 2030. The Compass should establish a monitoring system for European strategic digital capacities and capabilities, and outline the means and key milestones to achieve EU’s ambition.

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