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27 March 2023
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Enabling digitalisation, innovation and connectivity in Europe

Digitalisation, innovation, connectivity and research contribute to job creation, help increase companies’ competitiveness in global markets, improve quality of life, ensure social inclusion and generate sustainable economic growth. This can be achieved by enhancing investments in infrastructure and skills, as well as by creating conditions that allow Member States, businesses and citizens to innovate and reap the benefits of digitalisation. The EU also has to create the conditions for businesses operating in the EU to grasp the opportunities of digital technologies.

Added to that, the efficient functioning of the European Union and the achievement of its economic, social and security objectives depend on the ability to ensure an appropriate level of interconnection within the Single Market in all its dimensions, including the energy, transport, telecommunications and capital market sectors.

The aim of the Romanian Presidency has been to contribute to a stronger, more competitive and more prosperous European digital economy and society and has successfully worked on EU legislation in this sector, bringing a large contribution to the creation of a true EU Digital Single Market.

The results achieved by the Romanian Presidency on an EU framework regulation regarding platform-to-business, addresses the relations between online platforms and the businesses that conduct their business through them. The new rules offer businesses a more transparent, fair and predictable online platform environment, as well as an efficient system for seeking redress.

Regarding the Digital Europe programme, the Romanian Presidency reached, following a single trilogue, a common understanding that will bring substantial benefits to all EU citizens and companies by boosting investments in crucial areas for competitiveness and innovation, like supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society. Digital Europe will help European businesses, especially smaller ones, benefit from the vast opportunities of digital transformation, scale up and gain a competitive edge. At the same time, it will have a significant impact on bridging the digital divide so that everybody has the skills and knowledge to participate fully in a digitised society.

The Romanian Presidency of the EU Council also managed to contribute to increasing the availability and the reuse of publicly funded data. This will bring a significant contribution to the competitiveness and the development of the European data economy, promoting the use of open data in the EU, and of advanced technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and many others. The reform extends the scope of the rules on the reuse of public sector information beyond public sector bodies to include public undertakings in the transport and utilities sectors. It also introduces the concept of high-value datasets, which would need to be made available for free in the entire EU.

The legal framework for copyright has been updated to unlock the opportunities of the digital environment, both for creators whose rights must be fully respected, as well as for European citizens, who should take advantage of the benefits of the digital single market.

In the field of research, the Romanian Presidency helped shape Horizon Europe – the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation between 2021 to 2027. This programme will provide researchers with clarity on the EU’s priorities in the field and the EU citizens with certainty their concerns are addressed. The programme tackles societal challenges in areas such as health, security, digital and key enabling technologies, climate, energy, mobility, food and natural resources. It also scales up breakthrough and disruptive innovation, supports excellent basic science, strengthens the Union’s scientific leadership and develops high-quality knowledge and skills.

The Romanian Presidency of the EU Council contributed to the creation of the first EU space policy programme for the years 2021-2027, securing EU leadership in space activities, fostering innovative industries, safeguarding autonomous access to space and simplifying governance. The EU space policy programme will ensure high-quality, up-to-date space-related data and services, enhanced security and strategic autonomy of the EU. The use of such data and services will help foster greater socio-economic benefits such as increased growth and job creation in the EU, as well as help meet key societal challenges like climate change, sustainable consumption of natural resources, safety and security.

Guaranteeing the efficient functioning of the European Union and achieving its economic, social and security objectives depend on ensuring an adequate level of single market interconnectivity. The Romanian Presidency also acknowledged the need to support the development of high-performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the field of transport, digital and energy. An incredibly important element in this direction is the Connecting Europe Facility that guarantees key investments that will generate growth in Europe. The Romanian Presidency ensured that the EU will continue to fund key infrastructure projects in the areas of transport, digital and energy beyond 2020, creating coherent, modern and interoperable infrastructures. The programme emphasises synergies between these sectors in order to enhance the effectiveness of EU action and optimise implementation costs. To achieve this, it provides for the adoption of cross-sectoral work programmes that would allow intervention in areas such as connected and automated mobility or alternative fuels.

An important achievement of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council is also the establishment of a European Maritime Single Window environment which aims to simplify reporting formalities and to reduce administrative burdens for shipping by ensuring digitalization and interconnectivity of these systems.

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