Towards a Digital Economy of the Union

Digital Economy Forum

Digital Economy Forum https://www.pmi.it/eventi/forum-delleconomia-digitale.html leading annual event for Digital Economy, hosted by SEPE. Tired of the lack of visibility and influence in the market and eager to spread the word and make a difference, the organizers and participants of the Digital Economy Forum are determined to set the record straight. Organised by the ERBI Group, the forum runs parallel to the Global Commerce Association (GCA), an organization that represents the interests of companies and individuals that operate within the digital economy. The forum also works closely with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Electronic Software Watch initiative.

Tired of being ignored, the prime minister of Greece visited the ERBI Group in March of this year. Giorgio Agamben, the president of ERBI Group visited Athens from June to July. In his visit, he took the opportunity to deliver a message on behalf of the ERBI Group to the residents of Athens and beyond, imploring them to contribute their share to the digital economy by becoming digital citizens. His message ended with the Prime Minister of Greece inviting other premiers of Greece to take part in the summit of digital economy Forum.

In the process of implementing the minister’s message, the Greek government made efforts to increase its contribution to the Global Trade Organisation (GTA). At the first step, the government appointed former shipping minister, Costas Mitakis, as its first assistant secretary general for strategic communication and digital economy. Under the charge of Mr. Mitakis, the newly-formed Research, Institute of Public Policy Research (RIPP) was established in January, focusing on the development of a pan Aegean digital platform, allowing users of the e-payment service – the e Wallet – to interact directly with their banks in order to obtain credit or debit cards, e-rates and other relevant financial services. As part of this effort, the country’s first financial planning agency for the region was established at the Graduate Institute of Journalism and Central European University in Bratislava. The first policy study report of this research agency has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Public Administration and Social Sciences.

The European Commission also came up with a promising initiative. On 4 November, the European Union’s chief delegate, Gunilla Rogovato, presented a draft agreement on a Digital Single Market without a financial transparency element to the high-level policy debate on the future of the Union. This plan was later adopted by the heads of the European countries, and on 5 December the European Council approved the text. The association of finance associations, which represents the major international players in the financial sector, immediately condemned the agreement as dangerous for the future of the financial system, predicting that it will weaken the Union’s fiscal discipline, creating yet another challenge for the member states in fulfilling their debt and deficit obligations. On the contrary, the EU’s chief delegate, Mr. Portugal’s Lisbon premier, defended the plan saying that it was not an act against the principle of investor protection, contradicting the criticism of his colleagues.

In another example of a Digital Economy Forum policy that did not achieve its desired results, a group of leading scholars from the European Union’s research institutes sent a letter to the European commission, complaining that they have not been given enough time to thoroughly explore the available topics on digital transformation. According to their request, the commission should give them enough time to submit written comments on the planned digital policy before it is implemented. The request was accepted, however, the commission has still to make public the draft report and it will now be discussed at a summit meeting. Another important topic on the agenda of the digital transformation forum is the question of whether the digital transformation agenda will contribute to achieving the Union’s goal of doubling the economy within the period of five years. The answer is a big no.

The digital economy forum can be a useful platform for researchers, policy makers, managers and entrepreneurs to exchange views on the state of the Union’s attempts to transform itself in the next few years. However, it is important for researchers and policy makers to remember that the digital transformation agenda will not be successful if member states do not work together. If countries feel that they have diverged too much from the Union’s goals, the Union may never meet its goals, even if the digital economy increases. Digitalization requires cooperation. That means, if you are part of the digital transformation, you must contribute by participating in the development of the digital economy. You must be ready to work with your fellow state citizens and with your international partners in order to achieve the Union’s targets for the future.

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