The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, referred to the Web Summit this Wednesday as "a European pride" and said she believed that 2020 could be marked by the acceleration of the digitization of the economy. Ursula von der Leyen believes that the pandemic served as a “catalyst” for innovation and that the European Union (EU) is in a position to become a “global leader” in digital transformation.
"The Web Summit is a European pride and gives me hope that the 2020s could be our digital decade," said Ursula von der Leyen, at opening of this year's edition of the Web Summit (which takes place online only), thanking the “pioneers and evangelists of technology” who allowed the digitalization of services and the holding of events, such as the Web Summit, in safety in times of pandemic.
The president of the community executive revealed to be "an optimist about technology" and said that the impact of the so-called "deep technology" in the lives of citizens is "more visible than ever" due to Covid-19.
“Because of the pandemic, we saw years of innovation and digitalization in just a few weeks. Companies of all types have digitized all or part of their operations, from production to sales and customer service. And thanks to that, they are surviving. People who had never ordered a pizza online, have now become accustomed to all types of online services, ”he said.
In 2020 alone, European Commission data shows that the value of European technology companies has increased by almost 50% and the sector "is attracting more international venture capital than ever". At the same time, the focus on startups Europe continues to grow. According to Ursula von der Leyen, “the pandemic was a catalyst and an accelerator of change”, but part of these trends “have been visible for some time”.
“In the past five years, the value of European technology companies has quadrupled. Europe has the largest number of artificial intelligence scientists, who publish studies in the best magazines in the world. And there are more people developing software here than in the United States ”, he noted, stressing that“ Europe has all the potential to be a global leader in the next wave of digital transformation ”.
Ursula von der Leyen, however, drew attention to the fact that Europe is "advancing under its weight" due to "obstacles" that competitors in other parts of the world do not face, such as regulatory complexity and bureaucratic barriers.
To get around this, the European Commission will invest in a recovery plan, called Next Generation EU, worth € 750 billion, 20% of which is earmarked for digitization. "NextGeneration EU will help small businesses to incorporate the latest technologies that are already available on the market," he guaranteed.