On Monday this week Merkel, Hollande and Junker met the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) in Berlin. Among the participants there were a selected group of European CEOs, among them César Alierta (Telefónica), Ignacio Sánchez Galán (Iberdrola) and ten more chairmen: those of Vodafone, Moller-Maersk, Nestlé, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Siemens, Lafarge, SAP, Rio Tinto, BP, Orange, Investor AB and Air Liquide.
Benoit Potier, CEO of Air Liquide, and the current Chairman of ERT pointed out that these companies have identified a number of “key enablers” that will contribute to create the right technological and regulatory environment and to build this digital society. These “key enablers” include the following:
– New digital applications and technologies to support economic and societal development in Europe.
– Cloud computing to ease the deployment and use of IT.
– Management of larger data streams, allowing new services and business models to flourish through the “Internet of Things”.
– Business networks and secure trading platforms to facilitate global business transactions.
– And the next generation of high-speed fixed and mobile communication networks.
However, the Chairman of ERT recalled that Europe could grasp the opportunities of digitization if the Union moves forward in the Digital Single Market, modernizes and harmonizes its policies and regulations, and fosters digital skills among its citizens.
In this context, ERT sees a strong need to foster dynamic “entrepreneur ecosystems” – industry , research, universities and entrepreneurs – to boost start-ups -in particular the digital ones – and foster their growth. The members of ERT, indeed, have invested more than € 1 billion of private funds in start-ups. Moreover, it was announced that these European companies will make investments of several billionEuros over the next 5 years.
This meeting is part of a necessary process of finding agreements and action plans among all stakeholders to guarantee a leading role for Europe in tomorrow’s digital economy. Much is at stake!
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Note to readers:
The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) is a forum of 53 leaders of major companies of European parentage and was created in 1983. These companies are drawn from a wide range of industry sectors and 18 European countries, and have a combined turnover exceeding €1,300 billion, sustaining around 6.8 million jobs in the region. They invest more than €51 billion annually in R&D, largely in Europe; which is equivalent to 18% of total EU R&D expenditure.