Successful digital transformation is key for territorial cohesion:



 

Local and regional leaders meeting in Palermo at the end of February to emphasize that the challenge of territorial cohesion can only be addressed if the EU's next long-term budget helps cities and regions to improve digital connectivity, digital public services and their accessibility to the public, while ensuring that no region is left behind in the digital transformation.

Bridging the digital divide and speeding up the development of Digital Single Market through the involvement of cities and regions have been key components of the work of the current mandate of the SEDEC Commission of the European Committee of the Regions.

A two-day event took place in Palermo, where members of the European Committee of the Regions exchanged about strategies implemented by their regions and cities to enhance digital transformation.  Gaetano Armao (IT/EPP), Vice-President and Regional Minister for Economy of the Sicily Region and member of  CoR, host of the event, emphasised how access to digital information is crucial for the development of regions.

José Ignacio Ceniceros (ES/EPP), President of the CoR's Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) and President of La Rioja Region, highlighted how new technologies allow for the delivery of public services for small communities in economically sustainable way.

Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), First Vice-President of the CoR, and rapporteur for the Digital Europe programme, underlined the role of European cooperation and partnerships, and the need to create synergies among the various EU programmes, funding instruments and strategies for smart specialisation.

The CoR has been working together with the European Commission in a joint Broadband Platform to  bridge the digital divide and to find solutions for improving connectivity particularly in rural and sparsely populated areas, having reckoned that high-speed broadband connectivity is a prerequisite for developing innovative and competitive digital services.

Through the Digital Europe programme, European Commission is proposing to invest during the 2021-27 period EUR 9.2 billion in improving the EU's international competitiveness, as well as developing and consolidating Europe's strategic digital capacities related to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, high-performance computing and digital excellence.

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