The Council and the European Parliament have reached a preliminary agreement

LB – 08/2022

Shortly before the summer break, the Council and the European Parliament reached a preliminary agreement on the policy programme "Path to the Digital Decade" for 2030, which was previously presented by the Council last September. Its overall objective is implementing the digital changes in line with EU values.

The programme aims to strengthen the promotion of inclusive and sustainable policies for EU digital leadership – for the benefit of both, the citizens and business. Digital change in Europe is to be shaped through pan-union digital objectives, joint efforts implemented by the member states and the EU as well as joint investments. The direction is given through the European Commission’s so-called Digital Compass, that was released in March 2021, for the four areas of skills, secure and sustainable digital infrastructures, digital transformation in companies and the digitalization of public services and specific targets have also been defined for the period up to 2030. The objective-oriented digital changes should contribute to a modern, competitive, well-educated and prosperous society within the EU.

Clarification of definitions and multi-country project concept

The preliminary agreement reached by the Council and the European Parliament specified several definitions involving the programme's general objectives, focused on strengthening human rights, transparency and security and promoted digital literacy.

The concept involving multi-country projects was also specified in the text. These are large-scale projects that pool funds from the EU, member states and the private sector. This is intended to achieve progress that could not be achieved by one member state working alone. Investing will be made easier in the following sectors: high-performance computing, shared data infrastructures and services, blockchains, power efficient processors, pan-European 5G corridor development, high-tech digital skills partnerships, secure quantum infrastructure and a network of cyber-security centres, digital public services, testing facilities and digital innovation centres.

New: close cooperation between member states and European Commission

The political programme is also introducing a new way of governing together. Close cooperation between member states and the European Commission is intended to ensure that the EU can realise its objectives. It is envisaged that the European Commission, together with the member states, will develop EU-level target paths for each EU digital objective. Member states will develop national target paths and strategic roadmaps; their review is planned for 2026. The European Commission will assess the progress made with regard to the "Path to the Digital Decade" based on DESI (Digital Economy and the Society Index) in its annual report, which will also be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council. During the negotiations, the Members of Parliament attached great importance to the European Parliament having a strong control function in achieving the digital objectives by 2030.

Digital rights and principles are already guiding current activities

The programme has been guiding the European Commission's activities since its publication in March 2021. This applies in particular to digital rights and principles. The overall objective of "ensuring fairness, transparency and accountability in algorithmic management" included in the proposed directive on improving working conditions in platform work is based on these principles. The broad european level consensus is also evident here. This objective received much support during the initial discussions about the proposed directive held in both the European Parliament and the Council.

Next step

The preliminary agreement now has to be approved by both, the Council and the European Parliament. The Czech Presidency of the Council, which has been in charge since July 1, intends to submit an agreement to the country's deputy permanent representatives for approval as soon as possible.