According to a leaked copy of the draft legislation, the European Commission plans to launch a new governance framework for monitoring the digital transition as well as provisions for expediting multi-country projects.
The decision on the ‘Path to the Digital Decade’ is expected to be published on Wednesday (15 September), following Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech.
The legal action is intended to establish a regulatory and methodological tool to monitor Europe’s digital transformation, in accordance with the Digital Decade targets published in May.
“This initiative seeks to set up a robust governance framework providing structured cooperation between the Commission and the member states to achieve the EU’s digital targets, foster European digital capacities and monitor progress on digital principles.
“It would translate the EU’s digital ambition in concrete actions identifying adjustment measures when needed,” the proposal contains.
Within this framework, the Commission will track EU countries’ digital performance using the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), an existing indicator that tracks member states’ digital achievements.
The Commission will present an annual report on digital progress to the EU Council, which includes representatives from all 27 member countries, as well as the European Parliament. The report will also include suggested actions and measures for EU member states, which will take the form of “joint commitments.”
The proposal also states that “possible concrete actions that may be suggested as a result of the monitoring will only be an outcome of an iterative and cooperative process between the Commission and the member states to take place subsequently, in the form of recommended actions.”
The proposal is also meant to fill in a “gap in the EU toolbox to combine funding from member states, the EU budget and private investment for the purposes of deploying and operating infrastructures and services of common interest, outside the research area.”
In this regard, the decision establishes the European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC), a streamlined legal procedure for establishing multi-country projects relevant to the digital transition that cannot be implemented through other mechanisms.
In the context of the EDIC procedure, at least three member countries would be required to present to the European Commission a multi-country project for the deployment of large-scale digital infrastructure and/or services in accordance with the EU digital agenda.
If the application is approved, the project will be quickly established as a legal entity with standard arrangements for common issues such as project governance, liability, ownership, and data management.
It will also combine multiple funding sources from national governments, the Commission, the European Investment Bank, and other public or private investors. The text envisions data infrastructure and services, 5G corridors, super- and quantum computers, and blockchain services as areas of activity.