More than 60 EU, national, regional and city leaders have signed a political declaration, pledging to contribute to a voluntary joint investment plan to boost sustainable digital transformation in the EU.
With their signatures, the leaders agree to upscale existing digital solutions on a larger, European scale to turn more cities and communities into smart and sustainable places where people enjoy living and working.
The ‘Join, Boost, Sustain,’ initiative, which has the support of several city networks, is seen as a first step towards shaping a European approach for digital transformation, which differs from that of other global competitors.
Martin Brynskov, Chair, Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) and Project Coordinator, NGIoT, says: “This declaration is different because it can be implemented. We are actually ready to scale, on a common technical ground, on the terms of cities and communities.”
Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence and Vice President of Eurocities, commented: “It’s time to scale up, because Europe’s digital revolution is already happening in its cities. The ‘Join, Boost, Sustain’ initiative is the essential cog in encouraging greater collaboration at all levels of governance. This is how we can jumpstart the uptake of smart urban mobility services, energy efficiency solutions and sustainable housing to a much greater extent. As vice president of the network of big cities in Europe, I’m proud that we are a core part of making this happen and look forward to continued work with all other partners to bring the benefits of digital to more people.”
Meeting at the Cities Forum in Porto, on 31 January, signatories and partners discussed concrete measures that should be implemented by 2025, which includes financial, technical and capacity building aspects. From the local perspective, two main focal points include ensuring the interoperability of digital platforms that are upscaled, and that EU Member States maintain the proposed level of funding and allocated budget for digital and innovation programmes, especially for the newly proposed Digital Europe Programme.
Eddy Hartog from the European Commission also welcomed the initiative taken by cities. It fits well with the views of the European Commission on technology and data sovereignty. The Commission intends to work closely with the signatories of the declaration to put the words into actions.
The declaration, an initiative between EUROCITIES, ENOLL, OASC, the European Commission, the Finnish EU presidency and the Committee of the Regions can be found here: www.living-in.eu