Highlights and full video from the GIGAEurope EU Presidency Event

Connectivity for a Gigabit Europe

26th May 2021



This event was organised with the support of the Permanent Representation of Portugal to the EU. The programme featured a keynote speech by Hugo Santos Mendes, Deputy Minister for Communications, Portugal.

Panel speakers represented the European Commission and the connectivity industry:

  • Rita Wezenbeek, Director Connectivity, DG CONNECT, European Commission
  • Erzsebet Fitori, Group Head of EU Affairs and Relations, Vodafone Group
  • Robert Kolthek, Vice President Regulation, Liberty Global

The panel, moderated by Samuel Stolton, Freelance EU Correspondent, had a discussion on:

  • How can Europe close the investment gap in connectivity? And how can Europe attract the necessary private investment and create synergies with public funding?
  • Are the Digital Compass 2030 targets ambitious enough for Europe to become a digital leader? Which targets are most difficult to reach?
  • What do stakeholders see as priority targets of the Digital Compass, to reflect actual obstacles to an inclusive and competitive Digital Decade?

Watch the full GIGAEurope
EU Presidency Event

Discover what our speakers had to say

Hugo Santos Mendes

Deputy Minister for Communications Portugal

“In order to become digitally sovereign and to make autonomous technological choices, the EU must strengthen not only its internal connectivity, but also empower its strategic international links. Europe cannot become an island in the digitally connected ocean.”

Rita Wezenbeek

Director Connectivity, DG CONNECT
European Commission

“I would highlight the need for the public and private sector to work together. We are on the threshold of a completely new time – partly under the influence of 5G – where cloud infrastructure and edge computing will be very important. We are of the strong conviction that Europe will not play its role in these new areas if we don’t have a performing and effective telecom network structure.”

Erzsebet Fitori

Group Head of EU Affairs and Relations Vodafone Group

“We support the European Commission’s ambitious digital decade targets, which we believe coupled with the €672.5 billion Recovery and Resilience Faculty presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the digital and green transformations of the EU. But to be successful, we must clearly acknowledge our starting point and urgently address the growing connectivity infrastructure investment gap. With targeted measures and pragmatic policy reforms, which can crowd in public-private investment, this can be achieved.”

Robert Kolthek

Vice President Regulation
Liberty Global

“Gigabit connectivity drives growth in every part of the European economy, directly benefiting European consumers. The recovery from the pandemic gives Europe the opportunity to emerge on the other side of the crisis as a greener, more digital and more competitive society. In order to achieve these goals, it’s more important than ever for Member States to implement the best practices for accelerating deployment of very high capacity networks as outlined in the EU Connectivity Toolbox and to legislate as efficiently as possible.”

Irina Varlan

Managing Director GIGAEurope

“Over the past decade, connectivity providers have continued to invest in network roll-out and innovations to allow for ubiquitous fixed-mobile access, faster speeds and lower latency. To close the investment gap, Europe needs a mix of private investment and public funds in the coming years.”