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Digital International Forum: the Digital Future of Europe

Revoluția digitală reprezintă cea mai mare provocare a generației noastre și împreună trebuie să reușim să găsim un răspuns vizionar privind viitorul economiei europene. Revoluția digitală transformă toate aspectele economiilor noastre, inclusiv normele sociale. Ne bucurăm de beneficii, dar în același timp trebuie să fim pregătiți să gestionăm costurile pe care această transformare le aduce, și aici este nevoie de solidaritate și coeziune.

Am fost onorat să prezint mesajul Președintelui României în deschiderea evenimentului “Digital International Forum IV – the Digital Future of Europe”, 7-8 mai 2019, organizat în marja Summitului de la Sibiu al Consiliului European:

“I am glad to congratulate you on the fourth edition of the Digital International Forum. It is only fitting to have a debate on the digital society, right before the “Future of Europe” Summit in Sibiu. This event is dedicated to the future of our prosperity and security, which is why it is important to be clear on both our challenges and opportunities.

The data driven revolution is the major challenge of our generation and, together, we must be able to provide a visionary answer regarding the future of the European economy.

As I like to say – together, we are stronger than the sum of our parts. Which is why the Single Market represents the most important accomplishment of the European Union. It is our belief that it needs further consolidation and deepening. That has been one clear aim of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council.

Completing the Digital Single Market will significantely contribute to Europe’s unity, security and prosperity. Crucially, there is a need to strengthen our mutual efforts on cybersecurity and digital infrastructure, in close cooperation with our like-minded partners around the world.

The digital revolution transforms all aspects of our economies, even the social norms. While we welcome the benefits, we must also be prepared to address the costs brought by this transformation, which takes solidarity and cohesion.

A single market brings huge benefits in terms of increasing the digital convergence of different regions and sectors across EU, and spreading not only technology, but also social development.

Dear friends,

Let us face it. Despite its various advantages, Europe risks being left behind in the global digital race, when it comes to fostering world-class players in the new digital economy. Which is why it is crucial to develop a deep and diversified Single Market.

It is only right to have ambitious goals for our shared future. We also need to create the appropriate business environment to foster long-term investments in creativity, innovation and technology.

Last month, I hosted, at the Cotroceni Palace, the European Entrepreneurship Forum, an event dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation in the European Union. It is my belief this direction is an essential part of the solution to the digital economy.

Entrepreneurs play a crucial role in enhancing the economic competitiveness of tomorrow. Our Union needs to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and we need to foster a more risk-taking approach when it comes to innovation.

We need a new vision and bold action to support the competitiveness of European SMEs. I would welcome this as a top item for the strategic agenda of the next European Commission. It is imperative to establish a clear vision, doubled by specific action plans and financial resources dedicated to innovate, invest and trade more.

In Romania, with 6% of GDP, the digital sector is an important driver of growth and innovation, including the cybersecurity area. Our companies and specialists are internationally recognized and, I dare to say, Romania has the potential to become a regional innovation hub.

The local digital ecosystem is young and dynamic. IT companies skyrocketed in the last 5-6 years, start-ups doubled in number, while the market boasts 15% annual growth figures. The output is heavily export-oriented, with three quarters of production made for partners in the Single Market and the United States.

Dear guests,

Start-ups need a friendly business environment to develop and prosper. Moreover, it is crucial to address the education development agenda and the need to build-up the skills of the young generation.

Our future prosperity stands to gain by the integration of the online and offline worlds. From the provision of educational services, managing urban challenges, to energy and transport systems or delivering medical diagnostics, it is clear that digitalization generates benefits to the entire society.

The development of the industry 4.0 brings huge potential, especially in automotive industry and other smart manufacturing sectors. Romania has an important stake in the future of these industries.

In this regard, governments have to provide responsible policies, to build up long-term resilience of the economy, rather than short-term populist measures, that impose costs for the next generations.

Actually, the digitalization of the public administration should be a top priority for all governments. Technology offers a clear and easy way of delivering public services and reducing bureaucracy and corruption, both for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by inviting you to make the best of this occasion and have a vibrant debate on our digital future!

Thank you very much!”

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