Emerging Europe risks missing out on EU’s Digital Decade

Europe as a whole must do more to meet its ambitious Digital Decade goals. The countries of emerging Europe must do much more, particularly in cybersecurity and education.

The largest Europe-wide trade organisation representing digitally transforming industries, DigitalEurope, last month addressed a letter to the European Commission outlining three key areas of digital development that EU member states should prioritise.

DigitalEurope’s director-general, Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, says that, ‘’the EU is keen to make this the Digital Decade. But for that to happen Europe needs a monumental push to digitally upskill its workforce and citizens and address the digital divide.”

According to DigitalEurope’s letter to the European Commission, in order to achieve this goal, the three areas of digital development that EU member states should focus are cybersecurity upskilling, recognition of industry certifications, as well as the introduction of compulsory computer science education that includes coding and computational thinking.

According to Bonefeld-Dahl there is still a notable discrepancy between member states. Regional experts, as well as the European Commission’s annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), agree, saying that most countries in emerging Europe have some catching up to do.

“At least one in 15 workers in Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands is employed as an ICT specialist. In Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, it is just one in every 30 workers,” Bonefeld-Dahl tells Emerging Europe.


“The difference [between member states] is even more concerning when it comes to cybersecurity,” Bonefeld-Dahl continues.

DigitalEurope’s letter to the Commission details that the EU should better identify the current capabilities of member states, outline gaps, and make education on cyber skills easier to access.

Ion Moldoveanu, lead technology manager at Deutsche Bank Romania and board member of ANIS and VP Romania, which focuses on digital skills, digitalisation in education, and public administration in the country, agrees with the content of the letter.

“Society can only handle technological challenges,…