The EU is a huge market with tons of talented developers and business people, and yet the union lags behind the US and other parts of the world when it comes to the consumer technology market. Google’s Eric Schmidt thinks the EU could become a force to be reckoned with in this segment of the market, but only if it overcomes some big hurdles first.
Google’s ex-CEO addresses these issues and shares his thoughts on a digital Europe in a new article from “Digital Minds for a New Europe”.
Schmidt explains that Europe has what it takes to be a leader in this field. The EU has shown before that it knows how to use technology to benefit its people and the Union as a whole, back in the days when the continent was leading the world in radio, television and GSM adoption. However, he warns, this bright past won’t ensure prosperity for the future.
More recently Europe has fallen behind when it comes to internet access, 4G deployment, internet services, digital rights management and technology start-ups. A recent study showed that EU companies lag behind their US counterparts when it comes to new technology adoption and investments.
But all is not lost. Schmidt also sees a huge opportunity for the EU to change and adapt itself to new times, by creating a truly cohesive digital market across the continent. Such a market, he explains, could potentially boost the EU’s GDP by 4% by 2020 and generate “up to 250 billion euros of additional growth”.
Of course for such a plan to take root, reforms need to be enacted. Incentives for technology start-ups need to be properly supported, the EU must come and work together as a whole, and failure has to be understood as part of the process. Not to mention, reactionary moves and outdated protectionist measures, such as the ones against Uber, must be stamped out if a single free digital market is to flourish.