EU Needs Digital Investment to Make Up for 8-Year Lag, EIB Says

Europe needs to spend more on digital infrastructure or it will fall further behind its global competitors, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said.

Europe has lost “at least eight years in competitiveness,” and its investment still lags well behind pre-crisis levels, Hoyer said on Wednesday at a Brussels conference. “It’s of course a huge detriment to the quality of the capital stock, and if that persists, the lack of investment persists for so long, it gets dangerous,” he said.

Slow data networks are expected to limit innovation, according to Hoyer. Self-driving cars, for example, may currently be out of reach for Europe since that requires real-time data transmission, he said.

To fill the EU’s investment gap, “you can forget about public budgets because that’s really hopeless -- you have to attract private money,” Hoyer said. He said the EIB can help through its own projects and by providing due diligence for projects that in turn will make those ventures more attractive to outside investors.

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