Commission sets out path to digitise European industry


The measures to Digitise European Industry will help companies large and small, researchers and public authorities to make the most of new technologies. They will link up national & regional initiatives and boost investment through strategic partnerships and networks.


Industry is one of the pillars of the European economy – the manufacturing sector in the European Union accounts for 2 million enterprises, 33 million jobs and 60% of productivity growth. Recent studies estimate that digitisation of products and services can add more than €110 billion of annual revenue in Europe in the next five years.

The European Commission launched on 19 April 2016 the first industry-related initiative of the Digital Single Market package. The goal is to ensure that Europe is ready for the emerging challenges of digital products and services. This will require sustained and coordinated investment from the private and public sectors.

Why do we need a strategy?

  • For a smooth transition to a smart economy
  • To prepare the next generation of products and services
  • To boost innovation capacity across industry
  • To increase the European GDP by up to €110bn/year

Priority standards to boost digital innovation

The Commission proposes concrete measures to speed up the standard setting process by:

Digital public services

An eGovernment action plan will modernise digital public services and make the EU a better place to live, work and invest. The Commission put forward 20 measures to be launched by the end of 2017.

The European Cloud Initiative

The Commission is setting up a European cloud initaitive to strengthen Europe’s position in data-driven innovation and improve competitiveness.

The Internet of Things

Today, less than 1% of objects are connected to the Internet, but there are likely to be almost 6 billion IoT connections within the EU in 2020. The Commission initiativeintends to build a single market for a trusted IoT, and invest in innovation.

Free flow of data

Unnecessary restrictions should be removed and national systems better aligned to allow a better flow of data within the EU and to stimulate the development of new technologies such as cloud computing. The Commission will assess the different legal and technical obstacles and will then define measures to address them.

Skills and jobs

Together with all stakeholders, the Commission will:

  • reinforce the role of industry and research organisations in the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and stimulate further commitment from industry to take action.
  • improve the understanding of skills requirements for new technologies in all sectors of the economy.

Read more about what the Commission will do to tackle skills and jobs issues in ICT.

Coordination among Member States

Building on and complementing the many national initiatives for digitising industry, such as Industrie 4.0 in Germany, Smart Industry in the Netherlands and in Slovakia, Fabbrica Intelligente in Italy or Industrie du Futur in France, the Commission plans to use its policy instruments, financial support, coordination and legislative powers to trigger further investments in all industrial sectors.

This includes working with Member States to focus investment in public-private partnerships; pooling resources for ground-breaking developments in digital technologies and platforms, including high-performance cloud infrastructure for science and innovation as well as large-scale test-beds to accelerate standards setting.

Read more on the fourth industrial revolution.

Leaflet | European Commission, DG CONNECT, Unit A3, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Download the map (pdf version), showing the various national & regional initaitives.


Overall, today’s plans should mobilise up to €50 billion of public and private investments in support of the digitisation of industry.

  • €37 billion investment to boost digital innovation.
  • €5.5 billion national and regional investments in digital innovation hubs.
  • €6.3 billion for the first production lines of next-generation electronic components.
  • €6.7 billion for the European Cloud Initiative.

Useful links


Communication and staff working documents

Visual materials