[europe] The most urgent actions are getting the banking system working and getting public finances back into shape. Following on from this immediate work is the long-term need to deliver smart growth. I have a role in that as Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, but more broadly smart growth refers to investing more in young brains and getting rid of the barriers that stop our excellent science from getting to global markets.
To give you one example of the barriers to smart growth: protecting a patent is 13 times more expensive in the EU than in the US. How does that help you as entrepreneurs? It does not!
A second example is that we are failing to use the technologies we now have for low-carbon transport and greener farming. Just think of this: we lost 4% of growth because of the crisis, and we can get 1% of it back just by increasing energy efficiency between now and 2020.
Likewise, the environmental protection industry created around 3 million jobs in the past decade, and the clean technology market is forecast to triple by 2030. I want Limburg and other regions to be a part of this high-tech green future.
The Digital Agenda will consist of 6 key themes, which will have an impact on your daily life – both as businesspeople and as citizens:
* Fast internet: this is the backbone of future business. How fast? At speeds like 100 megabits per second, you are sending and receiving important information quicker than you can blink your eyes.
* Digital Single Market: are you sick of it being hard to buy and sell things across borders when you are online? We aim to end this patchwork of national markets.
* Digital Citizenship: you need skilled workers; you want access to online public services; you deserve protection of your rights online. My co-ordinating role will make this a reality sooner.
* ICT research and innovation need greater priority: we don't get amazing new technology by accident. It takes blood, sweat and tears and it also takes money. We will mobilise and create the incentives for more public and private R&D to support entrepreneurs throughout the life-cycles of their innovations.
* Trust & Security: it sounds obvious, but if you don't trust technology you are not going to use it. We are not forgetting this basic fact in our strategy.
* Interoperability: a digital society can only take off if its different parts and applications are interoperable and based on open platforms and standards.
You can see my focus is concrete action. This is all about matching good infrastructure and frameworks with your energy and ideas.
Neelie Kroes Vice President of the European Commission Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Economic growth in Europe Address at TEFAF ICT Business Summit Maastricht, The Netherlands, 12th March 2010