The European Commission (EC) has proposed a bold vision for Europe’s digital transformation by 2030. According to a new study by Public First — Unlocking Europe’s Digital Potential — the EC’s Digital Decade could unlock an extra €2.8 trillion in gross value added (GVA), the measure of the value of goods and services produced in the region’s economy, which is equivalent to nearly 21 percent of the European Union’s (EU) current economy. Over half of this projected figure relies on the increased adoption of cloud computing.
The EC has proposed some ambitious targets, including 75 percent of EU companies using cloud services, 5G connectivity everywhere, and 80 percent of the population possessing basic digital skills by 2030. Europe is making good progress toward some targets, including digitizing 100 percent of core public services, and it’s likely to meet the internet connectivity target.
However, at the current rate of progress, meeting all the targets and securing Europe’s €2.8 trillion digital future would take until 2040 — an extra 10 years. According to the study, the EU is on track to unlock €1.3 trillion in economic value by 2030, but if progress is accelerated, up to a further €1.5 trillion in additional benefits could be generated by the end of this decade. Without a collective effort by private and public sectors, the EU will achieve only 45 percent of its potential benefits by 2030.
Currently, only 26 percent of European companies use the cloud, far from the 75 percent the Digital Decade targets. The biggest blocker to progress remains a lack of digital skills. Over the past five years, basic digital skills across the EU’s workforce haven’t improved fast enough, and the number of female information and communications technology (ICT) specialists remains low. On current projections, the goal set by the EC is unlikely to be met, with only 61 percent of the EU’s population having basic digital skills by 2030.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) shares the EC’s vision for Europe’s digital transformation, and is committed to supporting the drive to further cloud adoption and digital skills development across the EU. AWS commissioned the Public First study to understand how to work together to help Europe unlock its digital ambitions. Success will require sustained, collective focus and cooperation across the public and private sectors.
Extending the power of the cloud to every business
Cloud technology is central to AWS and the critical enabling technology for growth in the EU. The cloud cuts costs, improves security, and offers scalability and reliability. It also accelerates innovation and enables true transformation as businesses gain access to much more powerful and flexible new technologies including machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and big data. It allows organizations to operate in ways they had not imagined possible before.
Since launching in Europe 15 years ago, AWS has consistently partnered with businesses and governments with the core mission of putting the power of the cloud in the hands of everyone. AWS cloud services will fuel the Digital Decade, providing the raw power for powerful new technologies like AI and guiding businesses through their digital transformation into agile enterprises that are globally competitive. We believe European companies of all sizes and across all sectors need access to the world’s best technologies to be competitive at home and globally.
AWS continues to expand its cloud infrastructure in Europe. Through its multibillion-euro investment in infrastructure, it creates jobs, advances workers’ skills, provides opportunities in European communities, and helps its customers do the same. Thousands of Europe’s fastest growing startups, largest enterprises, and governments use AWS to innovate rapidly and better serve their customers.
Creating a digitally skilled workforce
AWS has committed to helping 29 million people globally grow their technical skills with free cloud computing skills training by 2025. This commitment to provide free cloud skills training will help create a digitally skilled workforce that can use the full potential of the cloud and make the EC’s Digital Decade targets a reality.
Enabling Europe’s digital competitiveness
Innovation is the lifeblood of the digital economy. AWS will help Europe’s inventors and entrepreneurs tackle pressing challenges without the expense of buying and running their own servers. In Germany, we worked with an AI company to offer sophisticated software tools free to 27,000 people participating in a competition to produce ideas to tackle the COVID pandemic. We will continue to enable Europe’s digital competitiveness through imaginative initiatives like this, while respecting Europeans’ valued privacy and freedom of choice.
Making Europe’s digital future green
A digital future for Europe is sustainable. AWS is committed to powering its operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, and is on track to achieve that target five years early. As the world’s largest buyer of renewable energy, it will continue to work alongside customers to harness the potential of emerging green technologies. For instance, recycled heat from our data center in Dublin is returning low-carbon and cost-effective heating to local communities through a new district heating system. The renewable energy projects we are engaged in will soon generate enough power for over 11 million European homes, accelerating sustainability across the Continent.
Leading through collective effort
The Digital Decade gives Europe a chance to lead in the global digital economy. The bold and ambitious program demands an equally bold collective effort from governments, the private sector and citizens.
AWS is committed to working with private and public sector partners toward these goals as Europe takes on this challenge. Together, we can realize a Europe that leads in the global digital economy, ensures green economic growth and benefits all citizens.
You can read more about how AWS is committed to playing its part in empowering the Digital Decade here.