Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Neelie Kroes: Investing In Our Digital Future

Neelie Kroes. "Investing In Our Digital Future." (speech, COSAC Conference of National Parliaments, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 24, 2012).

From the speech: "These days, no political discussion can ignore the economy. It's the dominant topic in Brussels and in your national capitals.

I am convinced that the time for endless discussion is over; we need action. We should stop debating the importance of growth: but identify and support the things that can deliver it.

My message is simple: to think about the future economy, you must take account of the digital revolution. 

In short, the Internet is changing our economy, changing our opportunities, and changing our world.

The facts are stark. The European digital Internet economy is already bigger than Belgium’s national economy and growing faster than the Chinese economy. Already worth hundreds of billions of euros, in a few years, it could reach over 5% of EU GDP. In some Member States it's already higher. And by 2016, online spending could account for over one retail euro in ten. 

And no wonder. Just look at what the Internet offers, and how it boosts our economy. Studies show that investment in ICT capital is among the most productive there is. It enables new ways of doing business, new ways to power productivity, new ways to innovate. 

It creates five jobs for every two it displaces. It helps small companies double growth and exports. And, where broadband goes, growth follows: increasing broadband penetration by 10 percentage points translates as 1 to 1.5% on GDP.

Increasingly, people realise that doing things online can save them time, money and hassle. Ever greater numbers are using an ever wider range of services. And they are increasingly willing to pay for them. " Read more