Building a digital Europe

Michael Duncan, CEO Telefónica Digital Europe , joined Commissioner Neelie Kroes and speakers from Intel , Centre for European Policy Studies , Microsoft , and Tata yesterday for a panel...

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Steve Bartholomew

Director of Public Affairs, Telefónica Digital.

Michael Duncan, CEO Telefónica Digital Europe, joined Commissioner Neelie Kroes and speakers from Intel, Centre for European Policy Studies, Microsoft, and Tata yesterday for a panel discussion on the digitalisation of our economies, at the European Business Summit in Brussels.

The Commissioner and Michael both spoke about the potential benefits of a single market in digital services. Michael was then asked what the Commission needs to do accelerate the growth of the digital economy in Europe.

Here’s what he said:

“Firstly, I want to talk about what our customers across Europe want. They don’t want to be trapped by closed ecosystems. When they decide to switch to a phone or tablet on a different operating system they want to be free to take their apps, photos, music and other content with them. Portability – or lack of portability – is already a strong differentiator.”

“Secondly, Neelie, you committed at the European Council recently to build a single market for digital services. This is crucial and will have a number of benefits for consumers including access to new digital services, and a better online experience which is open, free and fair, and safe and secure. A single digital market will create the basis for pan-European services with mass market adoption, which can become the next generation of global standards. Like GSM in the 1990s this will help Europe re-gain global leadership.”

“Thirdly, we are very excited about the opportunities with e-health. But we’re also frustrated by the speed of the market and decision-making by health bodies across Europe. Health systems across Europe are not set up to embrace new innovations in healthcare technology. We need your help and help from politicians across Europe in changing the model and the mindset. This is a market that will happen – but decision making needs to speed up, we can’t afford to wait forever. We need to move faster and show a bolder approach. The 3 Million Lives programme in the UK is a good example of a national government taking the lead. Other countries need to launch and finance similar campaigns.”

Commissioner Kroes responded by saying that while she is the same age as Sir Alex Ferguson, she will not be retiring until she has put the framework in place for a single digital market.


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