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Macroeconomic dialogue on recovery and digital transformation

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op maandag 8 november 2021.

On Monday, 8 November 2021, Minister of Finance Andrej Šircelj chaired the 43rd macroeconomic dialogue at the political level. The dialogue was attended by the representatives of the upcoming French and Czech presidencies of the Council of the European Union, social partners, such as the European Trade Union Confederation, BusinessEurope, SGI Europe and SMEunited, and representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup.

The participants discussed the macroeconomic situation and forecasts. The central topic of dialogue was the digital transformation.

They noted that vaccination has been progressing well in most EU member states, while the vaccination coverage should be improved in some. In the second and third quarter of this year, the EU recorded rapid economic growth. The unemployment rate is also improving. Available data show that the EU is approaching pre-crisis levels. However, there are disruptions in supply chains and energy price spikes that affect the inflation rate.

All sides agreed that recovery has begun, but that there is a need to closely monitor the volatile environment, the pandemic risks that remain and the inequalities that are occurring in the recovery. National recovery and resilience plans will also play an important role during the recovery. Twenty-two plans have been approved and seventeen EU Member States have already received the advance payment to which they are entitled.

The plans of individual member states include digitalisation-related measures, for which 20% of the funds are allocated. Channelling these resources into digital transformation, better connectivity, digital competences, advanced technologies, research and innovation will greatly contribute to the transformation of economies and society. Therefore, the participants also discussed the consequences of the digital transition and its influence on workers and companies. It was also mentioned that Europe has been falling behind Asia and the US in the field of digitalisation. The recovery and resilience plans will help achieve progress; however, additional investments and reforms will be necessary.

There is a lot room for improvement in the field of digitalisation in Europe, with the potential to strengthen the productivity and ensure future growth. However, we have to ensure that the digital transition is inclusive. Workers have to be able to acquire and improve their skills. Those who require more support must be able to get it. Suitably trained workers are key for a successful digital transition. To ensure this, the cooperation with all interested stakeholders will also play an important role.

mag. Andrej ŠirceljMinister of Finance

mag. Andrej ŠirceljMinister of Finance

The participants emphasised the opportunities created by digitalisation, especially the influence of the digital transformation on improving productivity and competitiveness. However, taking into account the opportunities, the risks that could be caused by the digital transition must also be averted. The digital transformation will affect those lacking digital competences, notably due to the relocation of jobs. Therefore, it will be key to ensure training for the acquisition of new skills and improving competences, whereby cooperation with social partners will be key.


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