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Special Report 19/2020: Digitising European Industry: an ambitious initiative whose success depends on the continued commitment of the EU, governments and businesses

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22/09/2020

Digitalisation is associated with better business performance, but EU businesses are not taking full advantage of advanced technologies to innovate. In 2016, the Commission launched the Digitising European Industry initiative, which had the aim of reinforcing the EU's competitiveness in digital technologies and ensuring that every business in Europe can fully benefit from digital innovations.

We found that the Commission strategy for supporting the digitalisation of European industry was soundly based and supported by Member States, but had limited influence on the strategies of most of the Member States we visited, and lacked information on intended outcomes. The Commission has carried out several activities to support the establishment and operation of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) in Member States. However, DIHs received limited support from most of the Member States we visited.

Good levels of broadband connectivity are a pre-requisite for digitalisation. Progress has been made in recent years, but not all Member States are likely to meet the EU’s 2020 targets for broadband, and achieving the targets for 2025 will be even more challenging.

We recommend that the Commission, together with Member States, take further action regarding funding, monitoring, DIHs and broadband connectivity.