Roundtable: How to digitise EU's industry

6 May 2019

14:00-15:00 | Europe Room -


Antti Peltomäki

European Commission

Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)

Eva Maydell

European Parliament


Bruno Basalisco

Copenhagen Economics

Head of Digital Economy service

Katarzyna Jakimowicz

Lisbon Council

Associate Director for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal asbl

Julia Fioretti


Correspondent for Reuters News Agency


Overall, European business leader see potential in digital transformation, and around 60% of large industries and 90% of the SMEs feel like they are lagging in use of digital innovations. It is estimated that in Europe, only 12% of this potential has been realised so far, varying between 10% in Italy to 17% in the UK, reaching 18% in the US.1 2

On European level, clear discrepancies on integration of digital technologies between member states still exist. While Nordic countries have nearly half of their enterprises highly digitised, France and Germany have less than 15% of their businesses highly digitised.3 Despite this gap, Germany is the European leader on use of industrial robotics with 309 robots per 10,000 employees, only behind South Korea and Singapore.4

Adoption of robotics may have raised employment concerns, yet the European evidence suggests the contrary. Germany and Sweden are the forerunners of use of robotics in Europe, while maintaining one of the lowest unemployment figures in the Union. In fact, robotics have attracted production back to Europe, reducing total employment costs while creating new jobs.4

In April 2016 the European Commission launched its Digitising European Industry initiative (DEI) with the intent of reinforcing EU’s competitiveness by embracing the digital innovation across all European industry. The Commission has estimated that digital innovation will increase the annual European industrial output by €110 bn. The Commission and Member States are investing 50 billion Euro by 2020 on digitisation strategies.