17 Jun, 2020

Digital and green transitions key for Europe’s recovery

On 10 June, European Commissioners Didier Reynders (Justice) and Thierry Breton (Internal Market) took part in an online dialogue to discuss the impact and lessons learnt of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, the Next Generation EU recovery plan and Europe’s global role together with representatives from the business sector. The event was hosted by the European Business Summit.

Commissioner Reynders underlined that democracies and fundamental rights across the world have been challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic but added that the European Commission’s justice portfolio has played a crucial role during the lockdown and will also play a key part in the recovery plan. In this context, he stated that a conditionality mechanism aiming at protecting the EU’s budget and resolving the deficiencies concerning the respect of rule of law in Member States is part of the recovery plan.

Moreover, Reynders highlighted that the priorities established by the European Commission at the beginning of the mandate have been integrated into the recovery plan and will play a crucial role in exiting the economic crisis originated by the pandemic.

The green and digital transitions needed to be in the agenda before the pandemic and now they still need to be there”, Reynders added. 

In his introductory remarks, Commissioner Breton stressed the importance of the internal market in Europe and regretted the decision of some countries to close their borders when the coronavirus crisis hit Europe. Furthermore, Breton stressed that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the need for Europe’s digital and green transitions and reminded the audience that the Next Generation EU recovery plan is based on solidarity and aims to accelerate the European Green Deal, ensure the digital transition, and make Europe more resilient for future crises.

We want to be CO2 neutral by 2050, that's our ambition. Now let's talk about digital - digital is already there, it changed our way of working and we have to take it into account. The next big industry will be data industry”, Breton said.

Ending the debate, both Commissioners stressed that the EU is adapting to the new scenario caused by the pandemic and underlined the need for solidarity across Europe but also towards other continents.

You can rewatch the debate here

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