Skip navigation

Börje Ekholm shows the best of Ericsson to six European prime ministers

Six European prime ministers – the five Nordic prime ministers and German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz – have heard direct warnings from Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, about the serious competitive consequences of failure to act urgently to support European digitalization.

May 13, 2024
Six European prime ministers visit Ericsson headquarters in Sweden.
L-R (facing): Swedish PM, Ulf Kristersson; Norwegian PM, Jonas Gahr Støre; Finnish PM, Petteri Orpo; Danish PM, Mette Frederiksen and German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, discuss digital competitiveness with Börje Ekholm and Jenny Lindqvist.

Ekholm hosted the high-powered delegation during a guided tour of the Ericsson HQ Imagine Studio in Stockholm today, May 13, as part of the latest summit of the Nordic Council of Ministers, which included an invitation to the German Federal Chancellor.

Ekholm, and Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Ericsson Market Area Europe and Latin America, showed Mr Scholz and the other prime ministers - Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Sweden; Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway; Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark;  Petteri Orpo, Prime Minister of Finland: Bjarni Benediktsson, Prime Minister of Iceland – a selection Ericsson’s latest mobile technology demonstrations and products, while discussing the digitalization crisis facing Europe.

The guided tour was followed by a closed prime ministerial meeting at the Ericsson Imagine Studio.

Prior to visiting Ericsson, the Nordic Council prime ministers issued a joint statement on competitiveness and security, in which the role of critical and emerging technologies featured prominently.

The joint statement says: “Like-minded nations need to step up and accelerate the adoption of these critical and emerging technologies.”

It continues: “In particular, we need to work actively between governments and in close cooperation with industry and the scientific community to set standards that ensure open competition, trustworthiness and security.”

Börje Ekholm says: “It was a great honor to host all six prime ministers at Ericsson and for them to see first-hand how a European company can lead the world in digitalization.”

“Ericsson also welcomes the recognition in the Nordic countries’ joint statement of the need for action on digitalization. We look forward to subsequent actions being implemented with priority, not just in the Nordic countries, but across Europe.”

During the guided tour Ekholm voiced Ericsson and industry concerns that Europe is approaching the point of no return regarding mid-to-longer-term global digital competitiveness unless urgent action is taken.

“We stressed that the reason why the U.S., India and China dominate early mid-band 5G deployment and innovation is because for decades they have recognized digitalization as an economic paradigm changer,” he says. “These regions fully embraced digitalization through regulatory support for digital infrastructure and an economic environment that encouraged innovators, entrepreneurial risk-takers and investors.”

Ekholm told the prime ministers that from an industry perspective the result of Europe’s failure to do the same - instead prioritizing regulation over innovation - can be seen by the relatively small number of European companies capitalizing on the digitalization of the consumer enabled by 4G.

Recent research shows that by the end of 2023, of 69 digital businesses valued at more than USD 10 billion or more, just five are European, despite Europe accounting for 21 percent of global GDP. In turn, these five companies account for less than one percent of the overall value of the 69 businesses.

Ekholm says. “Europe has two of the top three telecoms providers in the world and yet other regions are way ahead in terms of digital infrastructure. Urgent actions are needed, otherwise Europe will become a very small player at a very big table.”