The data-driven economy, and more generally the digital economy, is an area of strategic economic importance for the EU Member States. Making innovative use of this data is the main source of increased productivity for the EU economy. At the Commission’s request, the EESC has drawn up an opinion “Towards a thriving data-driven economy”, which was adopted by 213 votes to 1, with 11 abstentions at the EESC’s plenary session on 21 January.
In recent years, data has become extremely important for the economy – it is a “fuel” that can be consumed and reused and can enhance its potential. In its opinion, whose Rapporteur is Ms Nietyksza, the EESC welcomes the Commission’s communication, which calls for the establishment of a thriving data-driven EU economy and thus a digital economy using information technologies. However, the EESC draws attention to the fact that the communication fails to set out clearly the Commission action strategy needed to develop this type of economy in the EU.
The EESC regrets the substantial reduction in funding for financing the digital infrastructure under the Connecting Europe Facility. A new investment plan, presented by the EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker, in December 2014, aimed at mobilising at least EUR 315 billion in the form of additional public and private investment in key areas such as digital infrastructure, is a welcome policy response.
It is forecast that 80% of jobs will require digital knowledge and skills by 2020. The Committee stresses that it is very important to retrain workers so that they have the necessary skills to work in these newly emerging jobs and economic sectors.
Compliments of: EESC Press Unit | Comité économique et social européen