Agoria wants Belgium to roll out the EU recovery programme quickly. "It is a good plan. Let's not get bogged down in discussions about which region or which country will be able to attract the last few million. Let us be the country that implements the plans the quickest. For example, the recovery fund is calling for the rapid construction of 5G networks, but we are nowhere yet. It is also time for Belgium to take up its mandate in the European Investment Bank at long last," says Bart Steukers, Context Director at Agoria.

Agoria is looking at the €750 billion European Recovery Fund with great interest, because new projects must be in line with the European priorities of greening, digitization and making the economy resilient. Moreover, there are many opportunities for our country. For instance, the EU is opting for a building renovation wave, the roll-out of renewable energy projects (in particular wind and solar energy and the launch of a clean hydrogen economy in Europe), and cleaner transport and logistics (including the installation of one million charging points for electric vehicles and a boost for rail traffic). At the same time, the EU wants to bolster the internal market and adapt to the digital age. We need to invest in more and better connectivity, in particular in the rapid deployment of 5G networks. "So we can put an end to the procrastination about 5G once and for all," says Bart Steukers.

Economic recovery is also a matter of sharpening digital skills. Ursula von der Leyen's recovery programme therefore focuses on a skills agenda. "An agenda for skills in Europe and an action plan for digital education will ensure that all EU citizens have digital skills.”

Yesterday Agoria launched a new programme to help companies and people with their digitization. Hilde Crevits, Willy Borsus and Bernard Clerfayt, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels ministers of Economic Affairs or Innovation respectively, are the sponsors of the project, which includes the 'DigiSkills Passport'. This is the first time that these ministers have joined forces for a turbo-charged digital acceleration -- without a single euro in subsidies.

Following Mrs von der Leyen's appeal, Agoria now is giving everyone in our country an opportunity to create a personal 'DigiSkills Passport'. You can gain insight into your digital skills on an online platform to gauge where further training is needed in the short term in order to remain relevant. You can also get an idea of the expectations for your profile by 2030. The passport should become a standard to demonstrate your digital skills to others.

Bart Steukers: "But to gain speed, you need more than skills and a digital network. As a country, we need to work on our human network, in the European Investment Bank, where we urgently need to take up our mandate. After all, that bank now provides extra loans for European countries, but Belgium has been unable to appoint a vice-chairman for more than two years. Nevertheless, our country has a lot of major projects pending with the European Investment Bank (inter alia Oosterweel) and we can also finance new loans within the framework of the recovery fund. This entails billions of euros for our industry, and no  Belgian is assigned to attend to the matter.