Virginijus Sinkevičius: digital economy to become a business card of Lithuania


2019 07 05


An increasing number of businesses is becoming more and more dependent on the cutting-edge technology, therefore, the legal environment that allows experimentation with new ideas, technologies and business models must become a key tool for promoting digital entrepreneurship in Europe, says Minister of the Economy and Innovation Virginijus Sinkevičius  at the EU’s informal Competitiveness Council in Helsinki.

‘Digital economy is to become the business card of Lithuania: if  we consider it a separate sector, this would be the fourth largest, and the fastest growing sector in Lithuania with an annual turnover of almost EUR 2 billion. We have been among the first in Europe to develop the Artificial Intelligence Strategy, also, we have the Lithuanian Industry Digitisation Roadmap. By promoting the Fintech ecosystem, we are now the second largest in the EU in terms of volume of payments and the number of electronic money institutions, and a new GovTech lab initiative will help address the public sector’s problems through innovative solutions. Lithuania aims to be among the world’s first to legalise the virtual office, which has now become a necessity. Thus, we have all the opportunities to become a political leader in the area of digital policy and to compete globally,’ says Minister of the Economy and Innovation Virginijus Sinkevičius.

The promotion of digital businesses in Europe and the principles of data policy are key issues in the EU’s informal Competitiveness Council, which is organised by the incoming Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU during this half of the year.

According to the Minister, the path to the digital future is based primarily on digital skills, the opening of public sector data, access to public electronic services and the development of safe and secure infrastructure. The development of the digital economy therefore depends on improving the management of digital data and on strengthening the free flow of data.

With regard to the data policy, the Minister stated that EU guidance on data policy should ensure a harmonised legal framework for the secure exchange of data. It is particularly important to open anonymised data so that businesses that create new business models and products could benefit from them.

The digital economy is growing at a much faster rate than other economic sectors worldwide. In 2016, only 15.5 % of the global economy was digital, and it is planned that in 2025 it will make 24%.