EU calls for a ‘connected continent’

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes has warned that Europe is falling behind in the ICT sector and has called for the EU to “bring down borders” and an “open environment supporting the open internet.”

Speaking at Hubforum in Paris, Kroes, who is responsible for the European Commission’s digital agenda, said that the fact that none of the biggest tech companies – such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple – were European has “serious implications for our economy.”

“Too often, even innovators who start in Europe don’t stay in Europe. And our global giants are falling fast. Even in areas where we were once strong. This matters to our whole economy, and our digital future. It matters if we cannot capture the opportunities of tomorrow, or don’t have bright ideas born and growing in Europe,” said Kroes.

Speaking ahead of a European Council meeting of EU leaders in two weeks, Kroes called for support for European entrepreneurs and said that Europe could learn from the US and Silicon Valley.

She also backed support for the European digital ecosystem and called for the removal of “all the obstacles that stop online services working across borders.”

“The EU is about bringing down borders. It’s time we did that for the online world, too, an open environment supporting the open internet. So let’s build a vibrant European ecosystem. One where European ideas can grow, flourish, and spread. One where innovators start in Europe, and stay in Europe. Let’s ensure the connectivity to provide innovative services over fast networks. Let’s bring down barriers and invest in the future,” said Kroes.