Digital generation on modern economy

We need to include the generation of change in the discussion on modern economy. It is essential for breaking the reform deadlock that European politics has found itself in. This document is an appeal of […]

We need to include the generation of change in the discussion on modern economy. It is essential for breaking the reform deadlock that European politics has found itself in. This document is an appeal of young opinion leaders from the Visegrad region for a new Common Innovation Policy.

Flexibility is a crucial skill in today’s world, along with the ability to adapt, communicate and move quickly. A deep and genuine change will become possible only with an active engagement of the digitally competent. Civic activation of the young generation of the most talented NGO and academia leaders, who fall beyond the official politics today, is crucial for the success of this process.

It is not true that exclusion is a generation gap problem, which only affects the elderly not good at employing new technologies. Exclusion is a much broader phenomenon that universally means the inability to adjust to the evolving world. In our case it’s the world of a digital revolution where cultural competences acquired at early age determine future success. It’s the world of flexible working hours, self-employment, new family models, a variety of life styles and property systems. The development of such society relies on the community awareness of the “connected”. Their efforts need to be leveraged by progressive regulations and far-sighted public policy strategies.

Europe is facing tremendous modernization challenges. October meeting of the European Council on digitalization is yet another chance to discuss the structural reforms that interconnect with each other like with the Creative Europe program to support cultural and creative sectors of the EU. Three areas are pivotal in this regard: education, entrepreneurship and public management.

EDUCATION – the need to restore the competitiveness and prepare the future generations for the realities of the 21st century.

  • Digital skills – the economy of today and tomorrow demands efficient knowledge of the information and communication technologies and the use of universal access to information. Developing these skills in the educational institutions of the EU will help to promote important social values like the need of self-realization, creativity and initiative
  • Qualified since kindergartenlifelong learning: Popularization of the new technologies in education, introduction of programming elements, an obligatory course on the web tools and their further use in the educational process could be first steps in raising competence throughout our lives. Digital exclusion prevents social integration. The key to social harmony in a modern economy lies in the variety of informal educational possibilities, professional flexibility at different stages of one’s career and special attention to the elderly and those, physically challenged. This process should be supported by promoting knowledge in maintaining one’s digital privacy and security.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP – we cannot combat unemployment and restore the economic growth without wise career planning for the EU citizens.

  • Against the unemployment: Digital economy grows much faster than the traditional one, both in developed and developing countries. Increasing the flexibility of the labour market will attract the new, digitally skilled generation, which will become social and economic innovators.
  • A business-friendly European Union: it is essential to continue working on the Common Internal Market, which will bring the idea of integration and accumulation of economic potential into reality. Additionally, immigration barriers need to be abolished to promote competition and attract the most gifted students from outside of the EU, who aspire to grow professionally or start a business in the EU.

PUBLIC MANAGEMENT or how to reflect the digital revolution onto the public sector and open it up for the citizens.

  • Modern open government: the distance between the state and the citizen needs to be shortened. The modernization of the management system could be reached by opening up of the data of public sector and their efficient use with the help of the new technologies. It encourages participation and effectiveness of the authorities towards the needs of the society. Digitalization of the procedures and services like voting, public consultations, e-health, and e-invoices should become a standard for the EU.
  • Common Innovation Policy: It is time for the new large-scale public policy of the EU. The European structural funds need to be assigned for its realization. The stimulation of the development of technology through decentralization and small and medium businesses is crucial. The areas of science, which will lead to the new digital jump, for example, the data science, need financial support. The resources need to be directed to support digital transformation of businesses and human capital instead of one-time infrastructural investments. The transversal technological solutions need to be awarded along with reducing the expenditures on traditional infrastructure. The introduction of new technologies in traditional businesses should be stimulated. This new EU Policy need to be interlinked with creativity and cultural policies keeping in mind that one of the effect would be stimulation of culture-and-business joint ventures.

We intend this document to contribute to the debate of the future of Europe and the perspectives of the digital generation. We have discussed it during the European Forum for New Ideas in Sopot, Poland on September 25-27th, 2013, with top business and political leaders.

Drafted and signed together by:

Maciej Kuziemski, Lech Wałęsa Institute (Poland)

Błażej Lenkowski, (Poland) 

Wojciech Przybylski, Visegrad Insight (Poland)

Ales Rod, Liberální Institut (Czech Republic)

Csaba Toth, Republikon Institute (Hungary)

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