The European Committee of the Regions and European Commission held the 4th meeting of the Broadband Platform on 6 May, focusing on ways to improve the digital infrastructure in the European Union by adding the concept of digital cohesion to the ones of social, economic and territorial cohesion recognised by the Treaties.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the worsening geopolitical context caused by the
Russian invasion of Ukraine have shown how important technology and digital
tools are to help citizens to adapt to challenging circumstances and to
provide them with the latest information and key support. The
European Committee of the Regions
(CoR) and European Commission highlighted in their 4th Broadband
Platform meeting that digitalisation is key to close digital gaps in access
and use of digital services, thus promoting cohesion in Europe.
(IE/EPP), Mayor of Clonmel Borough District, Chair of the CoR's Commission
for Economic Policy (ECON) and of the Broadband Platform, said: "
Today nearly all aspects of work and private life are concerned by
digital transformation, and those who have no access to digital will be
missing opportunities and lose out in the long run. In addition to
that, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that our societies need
to be digitally resilient. Only a society without gaps in the access to
and use of latest technology can provide its citizens with the latest
information as well as key support tools for those in need, such as
those provided through digital platforms. We need to make sure that
citizens have equal access to digital technologies and the digital way
The digital divide may jeopardise the achievement of the digital decade
goals set for 2030, and hamper the cohesion in the EU. During the meeting,
(IT/EPP), Vice-President of the Region of Sicily and CoR's rapporteur of
on digital cohesion, examined the causes and challenges of the digital
divide for cities and regions. The CoR is seeking to add the digital
dimension to the definition of economic, social and territorial cohesion
recognised by the EU Treaties. In the era of connectivity, urban and rural
areas are still lacking high technological networks and citizens often have
insufficient digital skills. For this reason, it is crucial to develop a
clear understanding of the digital concept for regions that are less
developed in order for them to catch up with the rapid digital
The rapporteur Armao, stated: "
The acceleration of digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic did not
guarantee improved access and use of e-services. In terms of
connectivity and digital infrastructure, rural areas are still lagging.
The gap between individuals living in cities and urban areas increased,
especially in the provision of digital public services.
His opinion is scheduled to be discussed and voted by the ECON Commission
on 8 July, and then by the CoR Plenary in October.
Members of the Broadband Platform also discussed that public authorities in
particular should be increasingly involved in the European Commission's 5G
Smart Community approach. The strategy aims to provide unprecedented
opportunities for local communities to accelerate the deployment of 5G
connectivity and enable their citizens and businesses to reap its benefits
for services of general interest. In addition, digital global gateways and
backbone connectivity, which play an essential role in ensuring very high
capacity and performance of digital connectivity across the Union, are
necessary for the EU to ensure the competitive availability, reliability
and resilience of these vital infrastructures.
the Committee of the Regions and the European Commission jointly
launched the Broadband Platform
with the aim to help high-speed broadband reach all European regions,
including rural and sparsely populated areas where there is not enough
market-driven development. Since then, the Platform has been a key
instrument in making the voice of local and regional authorities heard
through the important added value of the CoR and its members, feeding into
the European Commission's policymaking process. The full list of CoR
members can be found
The European Committee of the Regions is part of the
Join Boost Sustain initiative. Interested cities can find more information here.
On 12 May, members of the ECON Commission will discuss and vote
the draft opinion
on the EU Data Act prepared by the Chair of the Kerava City Council
(FI/PES), and have a first exchange of views on the draft opinion "European
Chips Act to strengthen the European semiconductor ecosystem", of which is
(DE/EPP), Minister for Regional Development of the Free State of Saxony.
More information on the meeting can be found
Tel. +32 2282 2457