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ECWT at Digital Venice
The first official initiative of the Italian Presidency of the EU

ECWT at Digital Venice

Last week a magnificent Venetian scenario has hosted an event that will mark the future developments of European Policies on Digital Issues. Digital Venice, the first official initiative of the Italian Presidency of the EU, opened by Commissioner and Vice President Neelie Kroes and the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been a great success.

Digital Venice included a one-week-long agenda of collateral international events surrounding the main initiative of 8th July, when the Italian Presidency presented a first version of the so-called “Venice Declaration”: already endorsed by EU stakeholders such as Digital Europe and many others, further political discussions will follow to lead it towards an enhanced version which shall be presented next October to the European Council and in the framework of a Summit on the Digital Economy already announced by the Italian Prime Minister. The final version will incorporate further inputs from the EC, from the biggest operators of the web and telco and recommendations of young start-upper and digital entrepreneurs gathered on 7th July in the framework of a Startup Europe initiative.

The Venice Declaration sets three main goals to be achieved through an agenda of 10 “turning points”: digitalization as a driving force for restarting economic growth and boosting new employment, digital security and privacy and internet as a right for all, and finally smart cities, to make cities laboratories for a more active and digital Europe. The 10 turning points to be enhanced are new industrial policies where the digital economy shall play a stronger role, cross-sectoral and transnational digital industrial clusters fed by public and private resources, the creation of the European Digital Single Market, ensuring high-speed connectivity to all EU citizens by 2020, reliability and security as necessary conditions for developing the digital economy; cloud revolution and exploitation of big data economic potentials; Smart Cities as opportunities for energy efficiency and sustainability, and finally e-skills as leverage for competitiveness and social cohesion, implementing recommendations of the European Start-Up Manifesto, and finally a digitalized Public administration through a citizen-centered approach.

The European Centre for Women and Technology welcomes and endorses the Venice Declaration and its basic aims. Taking an active part in the Digital Week’s initiatives in particular on July 8th, having given a well-received speech during the e-skills for Growth event on July 9th, ECWT has witnessed how there is a growing awareness about the gender dimension of European digital growth shared by several actors and stakeholders across Europe: issues of gender gaps in the digital economy, both in the start-up’s environment and with regard to employment and education/literacy have been discussed within several of the workshops and ECWT itself has called for action in terms of explicitly integrating a gender dimension into policy programs and agendas for the future, for really enabling Europe to incorporate women’s talents and potentials in ICT into the digital economy.

It will be essential that the final version of the Venice Declaration is approved in October and thereby continue to shape the future EU Policies after the Digital Agenda. Concrete issues that need to be explicitly addressed are for example e-skills and start-ups policies and smart cities development.

Last but not least, the ECWT’s community wishes to congratulate Mrs. Alessandra Poggiani, who, apart from being the main organizer of the DigitalVenice/Digital Week events was appointed by the Government as the new Executive Director of the Digital Italian Agency (AgID). A young but experienced and talented woman, well aware of gender issues in the ICT world. We sincerely hope that Mrs. Alessandra Poggiani will contribute to implementing great changes in the Italian digital policies scenario.