Digitalisation makes life easier for all Europeans. Modern technologies give us new and improved ways of communicating with our friends, treating illnesses and manufacturing useful products with fewer resources. These opportunities do not end at Europe’s borders; they extend around the globe. But they also require new laws, better infrastructure and state-of-the-art educational concepts. For Europe, digitalisation is therefore both an opportunity and a challenge. To make the most of the digital transformation, it is essential for the states in Europe to work together.
Digitalisation and the flow of data do not stop at national borders. On the contrary, digital technologies bring people closer together, strengthen networking in Europe and facilitate joint projects. This requires common ground rules, such as those afforded by the digital single market in Europe. Important functions of this market include making it possible to eliminate roaming charges for the use of mobile phones abroad and to legally stream films throughout Europe. A digital single market can also protect citizens by establishing clear guidelines for data exchange and security.
Digitalisation also signifies a historic transformation for Europe’s industry. With the convergence of industry and Internet technology (Industry 4.0), humans, machines and products communicate with one another via the Internet. This not only makes businesses more competitive, it also makes completely new business models possible for start-ups and SMEs. But in business, too, digitalisation requires a common framework in Europe. The single market means companies can develop new technologies for a market of 500 million Europeans and remain competitive vis-à-vis Asia and North America. The step into the digital age is also the opportunity to retain workers in Europe in the long term and create new jobs.
People remain the drivers and the focus of these technologies. They are the ones who develop ideas and use digitalisation for their personal needs – whether in terms of healthcare, their physical presence at work or in their home. Humans will design, direct and control machines. And Europe presents a unique opportunity to further this transformation for the benefit of all citizens.