On 27th June, the demosEUROPA (PL) think tank together with the Central European Policy Institute (based in SK) organized in Warsaw a policy discussion Digital Single Market Strategy and the Visegrád Group: priorities and merits of regional cooperation. The discussion was kicked off by Marcin Krasuski, Head of Unit, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry for Administration and Digitization and Andrej Chovan, Acting Head of Central Europe Programme at Central European Policy Institute (CEPI). While Mr Krasuski introduced Polish position towards the Digital Single Market Strategy and provided insight into some of the measures the Ministry is undertaking in order to make Poland more digital, Mr Chovan added a regional context, emphasizing that if the V4 wants to have a strong voice in the implementation of the DSM Strategy, the priorities of each country have to be jointly coordinated.

He also introduced a policy brief “Four priorities for the Visegrad Four’s digital agenda” written by a CEPI led consortium of four V4 NGOs that identified four priorities for the V4: e-commerce, cybersecurity, digital skills and support for startups. Participants welcomed the initiative and provided some of their own comments as well, ranging from focus on infrastructure and connectivity in V4 to support of e-health and e-government.

Agata Wacławik-Wejman, Head of Public Policy in CEE, Google supported the regional thinking and praised the V4 group for making a huge progress. At the same time, she underlined that in order to keep up the pace and achieve a more competitive region, we first need to educate ourselves. Support for SMEs is another crucial aspect of creating a stronger region with better productivity. Digital economy empowers entrepreneurship and SMEs can be more competitive when digitally transformed.

One of the most debated issues was investing in infrastructure. Participants argued over the issue, whether the constant lowering of prices of communication services are good for economy, as the traditional providers are losing incentives to invest into infrastructure. The same goes for regulation, where the clear argument was that deregulation, not regulation is the way for more investments.