ELF & NEOS Lab Studie:
What we have and what we want
von Charles Hoffreumon 

In this study we discuss measurements of digitalisation and argue that:

  • comparing technology adoption rates across geographies is misleading and that we should first define sensible targets, given the peculiarities of the European Union. As such, since we do not have a clear vision of what European digitalisation ought to be, we do not have a clear picture of how we are performing.
  • the emergence of European platforms is made difficult in most instances by intrinsic fixed factors, not necessarily by a lack of political action.
  • existing legislation (GDPR and, likely, the future AI regulation) can be used as a way to nudge European companies into behaving “in the European way” as well as constraining transnational companies. There is evidence that, currently, the first role dominates.
  • the emergence of European platforms would be fostered mostly by educating the population in digital matters. Training citizens not only in the technical, but also the societal aspects of digitalisation, may incentivise them to favour local solutions. That is, if those solutions reflected their values better than the solutions offered by transnational companies (which the legislation in place makes more likely). As such, creating “a digitally skilled population” might in fact be the most important factor and the bottleneck of the whole European Commission’s Digital Compass.