France’s EU presidency is about to be mandated to start inter-institutional negotiations on the project “Towards the digital decade”a decision to establish a governance framework to monitor Member States’ progress towards the 2030 digital targets.
Since the start of its presidency of the EU Council in January, France has made several changes to the original proposal, leading to three different compromises. The overall effect is to weaken the Commission’s supervisory powers, leaving more room for national governments.
The French Presidency has proposed a mandate to start inter-institutional negotiations with the European Parliament. The mandate, consulted by EURACTIV, is expected to be given the green light by EU ambassadors in the Permanent Representatives Committee on Friday (May 6).
The European Commission presented its objectives for the “digital decade” last year, but it could revise them by June 2026 if it sees fit based on technical, economic and societal developments, especially in the areas of data economy, sustainability and cybersecurity.
Each year, the European executive will submit a report to Parliament and the Council on: “the state of the digital decade”† In doing so, it will have to take into account the national specificities of each country and propose proportionate measures, while leaving the possibility to set more ambitious national targets.
If the Commission considers that the progress made by a particular country is insufficient to meet one or more numerical targets, a biennial cycle of cooperation will begin. The Member State will have to explain how it intends to adapt its strategic roadmap within six months of the report’s publication.
During this cooperation phase, a peer review process can be initiated, activating a mechanism for the exchange of good practices on specific digital policies between Member States. In the Council version, only national governments can take the initiative and the result of this peer review is included in the annual report if the country concerned agrees.
Member States will have to commit to respecting the strategic roadmaps of the digital decade, which do not exclude national or regional industrial or digital initiatives. The Commission will provide non-binding guidance on the basic elements that these roadmaps should contain.
The Commission will define key performance indicators to achieve each digital target through implementing acts and secondary legislation, based on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and after consulting Member States.
The deadline for Member States to submit their roadmap has been extended from six to twelve months. Roadmaps should contain relevant policies and expected impacts, implementation timeline and planned trajectories.
If a Member State does not adapt its roadmap based on the Commission’s recommendations without due reason, the EU administration can adopt a recommendation, but only after consultation with the country concerned. The country in question will then have to adjust its roadmap or motivate the refusal within five months.
The Commission’s competence is further limited, as the possibility for the EU executive to propose appropriate measures in case national measures are deemed insufficient has been removed. The Commission can only propose, rather than start, a targeted dialogue with an EU country that is constantly deviating from its national trajectory.
The latest compromise aligned the text with the proposal for a digital wallet known as the eIDAS Regulation, in particular by referring to the fact that 80% of EU citizens would use an electronic identity card by 2030.
In addition, the reference to fundamental rights and to the European Declaration of Digital Rights and Principles has been moved from an article to the preamble of the text to make it legally non-binding.
“All market players benefiting from the digital transition assume their social responsibility and contribute fairly and proportionately to the costs of public goods, services and infrastructure, for the benefit of all Europeans”we can read in the text of the mandate.
This reference is in line with the Commission’s draft statement on digital values and principles and is inspired by a request from European telecommunications providers that online platforms should contribute to infrastructure costs. The Commission is currently reviewing this claim, EU Digital Officer Margrethe Vestager told reporters on Monday.
EU countries have lobbied to remove any reference to radio spectrum from their reporting obligations. While radio spectrum is a fundamental aspect of connectivity network deployment, it is considered a national resource because it can be licensed at a very high cost.
At least three EU countries will be able to form a European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC), an accelerated legal process for multinational projects related to the digital transition.
The Commission should provide non-binding guidelines for these projects unless aid is not requested. The Commission would be empowered to adopt key performance indicators for the DTIS, except when they relate to national security, public security and defence.
The Council text adds that the need to minimize the adverse environmental and social impacts of digital technologies, and that stakeholder consultations aimed at collecting feedback that serve as a basis for policy recommendations also include societal should include midfield.