Andrijanič discusses digital voucher and chips act in Brussels

Brussels – As part of a working visit to Brussels, Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič presented to the European Commission Slovenia’s digitalisation plans, particularly the digital voucher project, and proposals regarding the new EU chips act. Slovenia also calls for regional centres of excellence in semiconductor research.

Andrijanič met Executive Vice President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton, who, he said, lauded Slovenia’s decision to set up the Office for Digital Transformation.

The importance of digital skills and generational inclusion was highlighted during the meeting, with Vestager and Breton lauding Slovenia’s digital voucher project, which is aimed at boosting access to relevant courses and equipment for the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

Slovenia ranks 16th in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) ranking, therefore below EU average, and aims to reach the top five by 2030, the minister told Slovenian correspondents in Brussels on Wednesday as he wrapped up the visit.

There is a number of reasons for this below-average ranking, he said, including a lacking interest in digitalisation, but more attention will now be paid to such efforts.

One of the key EU digital projects is the new chips act, announced by the EU Commission in September and aimed at strengthening semiconductor production in the EU and hence the bloc’s digital sovereignty.

Slovenia can contribute to these efforts enormously as it has extensive know-how, Andrijanič said, noting that the government had proposed setting up regional centres of excellence across Europe to focus on semiconductors, including one such centre in Slovenia.

Vestager and Breton also had words of praise for the progress regarding chief digital dossiers on digital markets and services during the Slovenian EU presidency so far. The minister believes that a consensus could be reached on these issues at a meeting of EU ministers in charge of competitiveness on 25 November.

The EU’s aim is to become a leader in this field, providing an example for the US, China and others, and to make its internet more competitive, open and safe, he said.

Slovenia plans to host the first ministerial conference on digital transformation under the Three Seas Initiative in late November to establish itself as the digitalisation leader in the region.