Neelie Kroes’ speech. Investing in digital networks: a bridge to Europe’s future

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now is the right time to take stock and look forward to the future.

When I met with the CEO Roundtable before the summer, Europe’s economy was already under strain. Since then we have faced yet more turbulent times and it is clear that we must fight for the economic and political future of Europe. In the current difficult circumstances, I am conscious of the fact that Member States, investors and consumers are focused on short-term priorities.

But to build a strong economy that creates wealth and jobs, we need clear vision and bold decisions. In the short term, we must tackle the economic crisis. In the long term, we must ensure Europe’s competitiveness and safeguard our prosperity.

Europe needs to focus efforts in sectors that provide direct sources of growth, now and in the future. It is clear, more than ever, that information and communication technology is one of the sectors with the greatest potential to create jobs, increase productivity growth and boost our competitiveness. Studies show that the productivity leaders in Europe are those countries who have invested in, and made best use of, ICT. Already, the sector contributes half of Europe’s productivity growth.

Over just ten years, if we get it right, broadband development could give Europe over one trillion euros in additional economic activity, and create millions of jobs. An increase in broadband penetration of 10 percentage points would increase Europe’s annual GDP growth by between 0.9 and 1.5 %. That’s why investing in ICT is investing in a competitive future: the Europe of tomorrow is digital. Or to put it another way – can we imagine a prosperous, confident Europe in 2020 that is not digital?

Almost 7 months ago, when I asked the industry to join me to ensure that we will do what is necessary to deliver the platform for the digital economy that we need, now more than ever.

On July 13 I heard you loud and clear and I heard the message that the industry wants to be enabled to deliver. Here to read more.

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