‘The 4th industrial revolution we are living in is the most intrusive industrial revolution humankind has ever known. It affects every single human being on the planet. There’s no way you can hide from it, you can escape from it’.
It was with these words that Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans inaugurated the opening ceremony of the academic year in Maastricht last September. This statement has inherently two main meanings: first, there is the acknowledgement that this revolution is encompassing but still in its beginning phases. It has the potential to completely reshape the way we live our daily lives and also reinvent our societies. However, as this has to be done yet, we could witness a radical and sudden change in the upcoming years without having complete control over it. Second, and most importantly for the sake of Student Forum 2019, it underlines EU’s commitment in attempting to regulate and maximize the opportunities that this shift of paradigm brings about.
Hence, the Juncker Commission inserted the Digital Single Market in its top 10 Commission priorities and also outlined its importance in the 2025 White Paper on the future of Europe. Although Commission’s composition will change next year, integration is very much likely to grow in this field as the revolution is only at its beginning stages. Much has been done in this field by the Commission in the past; striking examples are the GDPR Regulation, abolition of roaming charges, reduction of obstacles to the e-economy, new copyright rules.
Yet, much can still be done in this field to effectively render the Digital Single Market operative.
euGovernance is indeed one of the key areas where further integration is required as a clear and thorough reconstruction of the way public and private sectors operate together, is fundamental in this context. Measures in this direction concern new opportunities which are indeed a by-product of the 4th industrial revolution, but which have not been completely exploited yet. For instance, e-taxes, e-invoices, co-creation of public policies at the local level, increase in transparency, and the ease of bureaucratic burdens through digitalization schemes are just some individual episodes across our Member States. Therefore, let’s unfold the revolution at the supranational level for the better!