Cross border barriers in the digital area cost at least 45 billion EUR in the Baltic Sea Region alone, according to estimates in a new report presented at the 14th BDF Summit in Copenhagen. Will the countries in the region be able to develop joint initiatives to release this huge growth potential? Concrete proposals that may show the way are put forward in the report, published by BDF and BCCA (Baltic Chambers of Commerce Association) at the BDF Summit / EU Annual Forum 2012.
The Digital Agenda is a flagship initiative of the EU 2020 strategy to create growth and jobs in Europe. The aim is a digital single market where barriers between Member States in the digital area are reduced or removed.
The countries in the Baltic Sea Region are front-runners in many areas of the digital economy. What is the potential to be released if we can reduce the barriers to a Digital Single Market in the region? BDF and Baltic Chambers of Commerce Association (BCCA) have launched an initiative leading towards a Digital Action Plan for the Baltic Sea Region. Inspired by an idea of Estonia’s Prime Minister Andrus Ansip concrete policy recommendations are developed, based on analysis by Copenhagen Economics, and guided by a Policy Advisory Group of prominent public and private ICT actors in the Baltic Sea Region, chaired by Kaj Juul-Pedersen, CEO of Sitella aps. The analysis is financed by a grant from the Swedish Agency of Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket).
The recommendations are related to four issues identified as key growth drivers
• Public Sector Information (PSI) and Open Data
• Online Intermediaries
“The Baltic Sea Region is one of the most advanced ICT regions in Europe, with strong clusters and e-government solutions”, says Hans Skov Christensen, Chairman of BDF. “We should inspire the rest of EU with concrete examples of how barriers can be removed and economic potential released”.
“The estimated economic impact is enormous”, says Stephan Müchler, President of Baltic Sea Chambers of Commerce Association. “Unreleased potential sums up to at least 45 billion EUR as regards only e-procurement and re-use of PSI. Reducing obstacles and developing new solutions will dramatically affect economic growth and competitiveness in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe”.
Estonia’s Prime Minister: The Digital Single Market is cool!
The recommendations were discussed by the Policy Advisory Group at its meeting on 18 June with Estonian Prime Minister Ansip as special guest. He was very satisfied with the outcome: “This is a really good report with policy advices”, Mr. Ansip stressed at the meeting of the Policy Advisory Group. “A very good basis to move on. Now we must think of how to make it a reality!”
Mr. Ansip suggested that proposals for concrete steps should be developed on the basis of the recommendations. Such proposals he would support and put forward at forthcoming European Summits. This is a real growth issue as the economic potential is so evident: “The Digital Single Market is cool!”
BDF and BCCA will now bring the recommendations forward together with public and private sponsors in order to continue the work towards a Digital Single Market in the Baltic Sea Region.
The Baltic Sea Region can lead the way into the Digital Single Market
The report was subsequently commented and discussed at the Summit session: “The Baltic Sea Region – a Shortcut to the Digital Single Market” with prominent speakers:
– Linnar Viik, Member of the Governing Board, European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Estonia
– Kaj Juul-Pedersen, CEO, Sitella Aps, Denmark
– David Mothander, Nordic Policy Counsel, Google, Sweden
– Jørgen Abild Andersen, Director General Telecom, Danish Business Authority
– Robert Czarnecki, Vice President, Ericsson, Poland.
The session was moderated by Per Tryding, Secretary General, Baltic Chamber of Commerce Association.
Among the points made during the discussion at the session were:
– This report is a distilled set of ideas that can take us a step forward.
– Private companies play a crucial role in developing e-government services. Those that can implement cross-border solutions are able to learn and scale that practice to EU.
– We need to identify best practice and promote the good examples.
– Trust is crucial! – We are so pragmatic in the Baltic Sea Region. First we simplify, then we digitalize.
– In particular cross-border e-procurement has a Baltic Sea region interest. There is a huge economic potential, especially for SME’s.
– We need to unleash data driven innovation by providing a framework to stimulate innovation.
– We need to modernize copyright systems and safeguard privacy. There is a lack of sense of urgency regarding copyright systems in Europe.
– The cost of rolling out the infrastructure is very high. This is a major barrier.
– Rolling out broadband has huge potential to attract private investors and global operators. Mobility is a growth driver.
– The Digital Single Market is an equalizer. Makes us move together. A game with no loosers.
– Infrastructure is important but we need more focus on content.
– Supply of broadband should be market driven with focus on demand, e-skills, e-security and valuable content.
– We need to set public data free, to release an economic potential of 140 billion EUR in EU.
– We should listen to and learn from the next generation regarding what is needed.
The Baltic Sea Region
– has a unique opportunity to set an example for the rest of Europe
– can show the way to the Digital Single Market
– can become the leading voice in Europe establishing a framework for digital innovation