Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel and his French counterpart Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector Emmanuel Macron are today holding a joint conference in Paris entitled "accelerating the digital transformation in the economy". More than 400 high-ranking representatives of startups, international companies and public institutions are participating in the conference at the invitation of the French president, François Hollande, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.

Minister Gabriel said: "Today's conference is creating a new, digital foundation for the proven German-French partnership and driving forward the digital transformation of our economies. This will also help us to design a European digital single market. Three topics are particularly important to us: Firstly, the digital transformation of industry. Secondly, digital innovation, for example how we cooperate on cloud computing and big data. This includes the question of how we can support and connect startups in our countries better - both among themselves and with the established industry. Thirdly, the digital sovereignty that should strengthen our businesses and citizens and contribute to the rapid realisation of a European digital single market."

The ministers adopted a joint statement on "accelerating the digital transformation in the economy" setting out the priorities of the cooperation in the digitisation of the economy. The statement encourages the creation of specific projects to take important steps in the digital transformation and in innovation, for example in cloud computing and big data.

During the conference the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy's Young Digital Economy Advisory Board and the French Digital Council will be presenting an action plan entitled "Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation in Europe" to Ministers Gabriel and Macron. It contains 15 proposals for the joint development of the digital single market in Europe and the strengthening of an internationally competitive European digital economy.

Six specialist workshops are being held prior to the conference on the topics of the data economy, "Industrie 4.0", growth for startups in Europe, electronic invoicing, digital innovation hubs, and the cluster cooperation "Smart Factory & Big Data". These are intended to form a broad basis for German-French cooperation in the digital economy. In addition, German and French startups will have the opportunity to present their business models to investors from both countries and seek funding.

The French-German conference on the digital economy stems from an agreement made by Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande during the Franco-German Ministerial Council of March 2015.

Information about the Young Digital Economy Advisory Board and the action plan drawn up with the French Digital Council, "Digital Innovation and Digital Transformation in Europe", can be found here.