The future of Europe is science!
Tomorrow’s trends are already clear today.
They are digital trends. The world is changing fast. And that will
continue. Twenty years ago, few had heard of the Internet.
Today, it’s used by 3 billion worldwide; it’s a trillion-euro marketplace; it’s the platform
for tremendous innovation. Europe is becoming a connected continent,
where everyone can access the Internet, wherever they are.
All kinds of innovations rely on digital – across the economy and across society. Whether it’s
healthcare, smart cities, eGovernment or ensuring safety and security. Conversely – a competitive
European ICT industry can underpin, transform and modernise everything we do.
Science is no exception. Open, digital science is agile, collaborative,
collective. Using new digital tools and new big data techniques. Changing how research
and innovation is conceived, conducted, disseminated, reviewed and applied.
Ordinary citizens can be more engaged and informed. Setting goals, contributing to analysis;
knowing results are applied to the right challenges, seeing that science is responsible and ethical.
More aware how their public research euro is being spent.
The EU has long supported science, research and innovation. And rightly so: it’s the best
way to generate jobs, energise our economy, and strengthen our society. In a competitive
world, we act better when we act together: pooling our resources to stay world-class.
Horizon 2020 will be an 80 billion euro investment in our future. With ICT at its heart.
And we are giving EU industry the global lead: in areas like 5G connectivity, the next generation
of mobile. Like robotics. Like photonics, for faster communications and smarter, greener
applications from healthcare to home lighting. Like high-performance computing offering unprecedented
processing power to scientists, industry and more.
Like electronics, where we can double production and create a quarter of a million jobs.
Like big data, helping scientists, industry and government make informed decisions every
day. Like ground-breaking flagships for computers
based on the human brain, and the new ‘wonder material’ Graphene.
To compete, Europe needs the right tools and the right rules. With a vibrant Digital Single
Market. Bringing down barriers to support every small, smart digital business. With
an innovation radar, to detect and support every potential innovator in our research
programmes, and get them to market. And by investing in education and skills, through
connected classrooms, interactive curricula, and open education and training.
Because don’t forget ICT in Europe creates one hundred thousand well-paid jobs a year.
And provides the inspiration for millions of innovative apps and startups. Digital skills
are like the new literacy. These trends can help us create a better future.
Where science and technology continue to transform how we connect and communicate, work, live
and learn, interact and transact. One thing is clear: we always underestimate
the impact of new technologies. Once people thought one computer would be enough for a
whole country; now each of you probably has a thousand times more computing power sitting
in your pocket. In future, digital services, applications
and tools will become available and affordable to everybody, everywhere. Connected through
pervasive, ultra-fast broadband. Connecting not just people, but cars and classrooms,
homes and hospitals, offices and household objects. Even entire cities. There are significant social implications:
this is a tool that can educate and empower. But we also need to ensure that all Europeans
benefit from sustainable technological progress. More technology should not mean more exclusion.
And we need to consider all the implications. For example: we need to harness open data
while protecting privacy and safeguarding security. Ladies and gentlemen, the future of Europe
is science and technology. And digital can drive positive change in that field, as in
so many others. Europe’s citizens, our leaders, our researchers
and innovators: we need a few things. The courage to invest. The innovation to work
together. And the willingness to do things differently: to deliver the digital revolution
the young people of Europe rightly demand. So I hope you will all be actively participating
in this Conference’s debates, and working for a Europe that is more open, innovative
and digital. Thank you.