Europe needs massive computing power to facilitate AI
One key message was repeated many times last week during the Digitising European Industry Stakeholder Forum, hosted by the European Commission in Paris. Europe is lagging behind in computing power and this is limiting the application of Artificial Intelligence, which is a game changer for the construction industry as well as all others. China is way ahead in the development of AI and all the major data platforms are American. An “AI enabled” workforce does not imply major job losses, but will depend on quantum computing and significant re-skilling. Only one operating system can currently cope with the amount of data required and this took a decade to develop. Data will need to be shared and regulation and standardisation will be necessary to both protect data and enable the open ecosystem, to which companies, including SMEs will need to connect. The European Commission expects to publish its Artificial Intelligence strategy in the coming weeks. FIEC is working on this subject in its expert group on Construction 4.0.
Juncker Plan reaches €274 billion in mobilised investment
As of March 2018, the European Investment Plan is expected to trigger €274 billion in investment in the EU and benefit 600,000 SMEs. This means that about 87% of the original €315 billion target will be met by summer 2018. Thanks to the EU guarantee, the EIB group already approved €55 billion financing for projects and SMEs in the 28 EU Member States. In concrete terms, 374 infrastructure and innovation projects have been approved – with total financing of €41.3 billion and 389 SME financing agreements have been approved, with total financing of €13.7 billion. Currently, the first beneficiaries of the EFSI (related to their GDP) are: Greece, Estonia, Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain.
Eurofound recently published an interesting study undertaken by the Bulgarian EU Presidency. It presents the mechanisms used to determine statutory minimum wages, including the use of variable pay schemes in companies in the EU. The study can be downloaded by clicking on the button below.
Additional information including the most recent data on salary-setting mechanisms can be found in Eurofound’s database of wages, working time and collective disputes. The database includes information on features of collective wage bargaining systems, setting of minimum wages, public sector pay setting, collective wage outcomes and collective bargaining coverage.