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Single digital market could add 4% to Europe's GDP

Ian Grant

A single market for online transactions could add 4% to Europe's GDP, according to Euro politicians.

Calling for an end to the market's fragmentation at the launch of the DigitalEurope initiative today, president Erkki Ormala said, "At least 4% additional GDP can be gained by stimulating further adoption of information technology and communications [ICT] and digital services through the creation of a digital single market."

Bridget Cosgrave, director-general of the initiative, said 40% of productivity growth in Europe was due to the interaction between ICT capabilities with industry, services and public sector activities. "This figure can grow exponentially as we move out of the recession if ICT is adopted more broadly," she added.

DigitalEurope members include 60 leading corporations and 40 national trade associations from all the EU member states. Together, they represent 10,000 companies with two million employees and €1,000 billion in revenues.

"The digital industry is taking a proactive approach to identify quick wins, which demonstrates our ability to enable competitiveness and sustainability in other sectors across Europe," Cosgrave said at the launch of a new report.

Europe had invested in infrastructure that enabled next-generation networks and services to flourish, she said. "Internet everywhere is essential."

Cosgrave said Europe should be boosting R&D expenditure to a minimum of 3% of EU GDP by 2015 to stay ahead of the game, a reference to the declining access to high-speed broadband relative to competitor countries such as Japan, South Korea and the US.

Europe's ICT sector represented more than six million employees, she pointed out. "These figures are likely to jump in the coming three to five years as an expected 90% of all jobs by 2015 require ICT skills."

Cosgrave predicted that the ICT sector would create more than 300,000 jobs in the next five years.


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