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Study on the Implications of the Digital Transformation on Different Social Groups

The debate surrounding the digital divide originated in the late 1990s, aiming to address the disparities in infrastructural access to the Internet and the associated opportunities between developed and developing nations. Initially, the main...

Concerns over declining EU competitiveness in the digital world in comparison to that of our global rivals have been widespread for many years. The EU has substantial research capabilities and skills, and has produced some technology leaders; however, we trail in important respects, and we have conspicuously failed to incubate global champions comparable to a Google (Alphabet), an Apple, an Amazon, a Facebook (Meta), a Microsoft, an Alibaba, or a TikTok (Bytedance).

This report digs deep into well-known EU shortfalls such as weak capital markets, lack of access to skills, incomplete integration of the EU Single Market, regulatory burdens, and inadequate female labour force participation (FLFP). The authors review mitigation measures that have been attempted to date, reflect on why they have not yet achieved the desired results, and offer possible proposed solutions that have not been adequately reflected in EU and Member State policy to date.

It is opportune to undertake this research at this time. In June 2024, the EU will complete one five-year mandate for the European Parliament and the Commission and will embark on the next. Two prominent Europeans, Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi, are producing blue ribbon reports to take stock and to consider forward-looking approaches to strengthen the EU’S competitiveness in the digital world, and we draw on the Letta Report in this study.

This report provides salient recommendations for EU policymakers, continues with a discussion of production versus use of digital technology, and closes by explaining the challenges that motivate the recommendations: poor access to finance, insufficient access to skills, a still fragmented EU Single Market, onerous and inconsistent insolvency rules, the need for improvements in technological infrastructure, and burdensome EU laws and regulations.


Read the Executive Summary

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