TALLINN, Sept. 30, 2017 (BSS/Xinhua) - Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said on Friday that Europe must use the opportunities created by huge advances in digital technology.
Tusk made the remarks at the Tallinn Digital Summit which was held on Friday by the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), in cooperation with the President of the European Council and the European Commission.
All 28 EU heads of state or government, except Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, gathered here to discuss the future for Europe, focusing mainly on trust, security, e-government, industry, society and the economy.
Strengthen cooperation On several occasions of the summit, EU leaders expressed the need to step up cooperation in various digital areas to keep Europe ahead of the technological curve.
Tusk said just before the summit that the member states of the European Union (EU) need to stay united.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also stressed the need to cooperate in digital areas upon her arrival for the summit. She told reporters, "This is a very timely summit, because increasingly, we see hostile cyber activities are threatening our democratic institutions, our financial systems and our public sectors."
Thus, the UK and its European partners need to step up the level of cooperation to develop and increase the collective cyber security in Europe, she added.
In a joint press conference held with Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas and Tusk after the summit, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said, "This summit of Tallinn is an important step forward.
We have to decide and to act quickly." Specifically, Ratas said that the EU needs cross border digital public services and needs to safeguard European cyber security as a whole. Embrace digital revolutions The digital revolution is increasingly gaining momentum.
According to official figures, by 2020, there will be nearly 4.1 billion internet users worldwide and 26.3 billion networked devices, while digital technologies are expected to add 1.36 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy by 2020.
Tusk said, "We need to actively shape our future and manage the risks posed by the digital revolution to our societies and democracies." At the same time, two thirds Europeans think new digital technologies have a positive impact on society, economy and people's lives.
Ratas said, "We all agree that the digital revolution is here to stay and that the digital developments are transforming every aspect of our lives and our societies."
To this end, the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy was adopted in May, 2015 and has been identified by the Commission as one of its 10 political priorities.
"We have to ensure that all member states are fully committed to completing DSM by the end of 2018," the Estonian prime minister emphasised.
According to official estimates, implementing this strategy could contribute 415 billion euros (490 billion U.S. dollars) per year to Europe's economy, create jobs and modernise public services.