As reflected in Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s priority to make ‘Europe fit for the Digital Age’, Europe is on the cusp of digital transformation truly taking off. This is amongst others illustrated by the explosion we will see in the number of connected devices and IP traffic growth. By 2022 more than half of 5.1 billion connected devices in Europe will be from IoT and total IP traffic will be equivalent to every film ever made crossing European networks every six minutes.

Members of European Parliament and the incoming Commission have a unique opportunity and responsibility to enable this digital transformation so that in five years we can say digitisation has delivered for Europe. That Europe’s economy and industry is at the leading edge of innovation and globally competitive. That all European citizens have access to ubiquitous high capacity broadband and have trust in the security and privacy of their online engagements. That our cities are greener, our transport smarter and our healthcare closer even when it is remote.

Cisco believes there are four key areas where further action is needed to get us there and that is why today we’ve also published our digital priorities for Europe which you can read here.

First, a renewed focus on the single market. In order for business to grow and invest, we need rules that are harmonised, follow a ‘comply once’ principle and that distinguishes between the business and consumer markets (B2B and B2C). We will continue to have a scale-up problem as long as start-ups and entrepreneurs have to hire as many lawyers as engineers to navigate 28 versions of EU law and additional national requirements.

Second, we need ubiquitous secure high capacity networks that enable trusted communications. Important progress has been made in the previous term with the adoption of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Network and Information Security Directive (NIS). Further work on all these issues will be needed in the next term, both in terms of implementation and new initiatives to complement these already agreed measures.

Third, we need to drive innovation in the public sector as well as in the private sector and that we have rules in place that enable European companies to compete globally. Public procurement needs to be applied in a manner that focusses on innovation and quality and we need new global rules for digital trade that address new market barriers and distorting trade practices.

Fourth, we need to make sure the digitisationhappens in an ethical, inclusive and sustainable manner. Cisco is already investing heavily in the circular economy, in digital skills through our Networking Academies, in increasing the share of women in the technology sector and in implementing AI in an ethical manner.

Cisco looks forward to working with the next European Parliament and Commission on delivering a digital transformation that creates societal value and economic growth for Europe’s citizens.

You can read Cisco’s digital priorities, here.


Cate Nymann

Public Policy Manager

Government Affairs - Belgium