Digital Europe is a programme set out in the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework to accelerate recovery and drive Europe's digital transformation
The European Commission has adopted three work programmes under Digital Europe, outlining the objectives and specific thematic areas that will receive a total of €1.98 billion in funding. This first set of work programmes provides for strategic investments that will be instrumental in achieving the Commission’s objectives in making Europe’s Digital Decade a reality.
The main objective of the Digital Europe programme is to strengthen technological sovereignty and bring digital solutions to the market for the benefit of citizens, public administrations and businesses.
Digital Europe work programmes
The main work programme is endowed with €1.38 billion and will invest mainly in the areas of artificial intelligence, cloud and data spaces, quantum communication infrastructure, advanced digital skills and the broad use of digital technologies across the economy and society, until the end of 2022. The main investments of this programme will go to:
- Creating common data spaces, at sectoral level, to facilitate cross-border data exchange for the public sector and businesses, including SMEs and start-ups, and creating a federated cloud infrastructure and services. Ultimately, these are the most important elements of digital solutions to ensure secure data flows.
- Establishment of test and experimentation facilities for AI-based solutions to boost the use of reliable AI to address key societal issues such as climate change and sustainable healthcare.
- Establishment of a secure quantum communication infrastructure for the EU offering high resilience to cyber-attacks.
- Creation and delivery of master’s degrees and training for workers in digital technologies to boost digital skills in Europe.
- Creation, operation and ongoing and evolving maintenance of digital services supporting cross-border interoperability of solutions in support of public administrations.
The other two work programmes are specific. One focuses on funding in the area of cybersecurity and has a budget of 269 million until the end of 2022. This will include investments in the development of advanced cybersecurity equipment, tools and data infrastructures. It will also fund the promotion of the use of cybersecurity-related knowledge and skills, promote the exchange of best practices and ensure the widespread use of state-of-the-art solutions across Europe.
The remaining programme is based on the creation and operation of the network of European Digital Innovation Centres, with an allocation of €329 million until the end of 2023. It will facilitate technology trials as well as the digitisation of European public and private organisations. The EICs will be an important instrument in industrial, SME and start-up policies, supporting businesses and the public sector during the green and digital transition.
Next steps for Digital Europe
The first calls for the Digital Europe programme will be published at the end of November, with more to come in 2022. The work programmes will be implemented mainly through grants and public procurement. Some specific actions will be implemented under indirect management, with partner organisations taking care of the necessary arrangements.
A fourth work programme, covering High Performance Computing and managed by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, is still pending to be published.
More about Digital Europe
Digital Europe is the first EU funding programme focused on bringing digital technology to businesses and citizens. With a total planned budget of €7.5 billion over seven years, it will accelerate economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, bringing benefits mainly to small and medium-sized enterprises. The programme will be implemented through multi-annual work programmes.
The Digital Europe programme will complement investments under other EU programmes, such as Horizon Europe, EU4Health, InvestEU, and the Connecting Europe Facility, as well as investments under the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism.