Today the fast pace of technological advancement has brought a lot of changes into nearly every sphere of human existence – it has transformed the whole structure of economy, employment, health, education and society. The European Union attempts to be on the vanguards of this process. The latest step of this direction was priority number 2 – to complete the European Digital Single Market. According to some estimations, the full implementation of the EU Digital Single Market will add EUR 415 billion to the European GDP, create opportunities for new star-ups and will give the possibility for businesses to grow due to the access to a market of more than 500 million citizens.
Due to its promising opportunities, the EU Digital Single Market (DSM) and the digital economy in particular were one of the focal points for discussions at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, which was held during 21-22 May in 2015. Both the EU and Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) have recognized the importance of cooperation within this area, fully understanding a huge potential for economic growth and building tighter ties between themselves. Two years thereafter, in 2017 happened the second Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy, where the Ministers signed with the representative from 6 Eastern Partnership countries a declaration on digital economy, which aimed to deepen the cooperation in electronic communications and infrastructure, trust and security, eTrade, digital skills, ICT innovation, start-up ecosystems and eHealth. These events are a signifier that both sides – the EU and EaP countries – are willing to cooperate within the broad area of Digital Single Market, given the benefits such cooperation may result in.
The researchers of the Institute of Innovative Governance have met together to launch the next research project which aims to create a Digital Single Market Integration Index and measure to what extent the countries of Eastern Partnership are ready to integrate into the EU Digital Single Market.