The Federation of German Industries (BDI) calls for an end to national solo runs in digitalisation. “From now on, legal regulation in this field should only be made on a pan-European level. The current patchwork of regulations in the 28 EU member states must swiftly be transformed into a real and functioning digital internal market,” said BDI President Dieter Kempf on Thursday in Berlin ahead of the Digital Summit of the EU heads of state or government in Estonia. EU legislation on data protection, for example, is in danger of falling apart due to the different implementation into national law by the member states.
“The rapid expansion of a pan-European high-performance digital infrastructure should be firmly on the European Commission’s list of priorities,” said the BDI president. Industry 4.0, smart health and smart mobility depend on networks with gigabit data speeds, low delay times and low fluctuations.
“The new federal government must drive the expansion of the digital networks in Germany more forcefully,” said Kempf. “It is unacceptable that Germany only ranks 15th out of 31 countries in terms of internet speed in Europe.” Germany, one of the world’s leading industrialised nations, only has an average connection speed of around 15 megabits per second, while frontrunners like South Korea can boast speeds of up to 26 megabits per second.
In the context of the current coalition negotiations in Germany, the BDI recommends establishing a coordinating government unit for digitalisation policy in the Federal Chancellery. As well as demanding that Germany’s public administration should serve as a role model for e-government, the BDI also advocates introducing a tax incentive for research, as is already common practice in 80 percent of industrialised countries.
With a market of more than 500 million people, the EU digital single market is bigger than that of the US with around 325 million people. The European Commission estimates that a digital single market in the EU could raise GDP by 415 billion euros per year – or three percent – and create hundreds and thousands of new jobs. A BDI study shows that Europe could achieve an increase of 1.25 trillion euros in industrial gross value added by 2025. But this will only be possible if the business sector and policymakers manage to get the digital transformation of industry on track.