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Europe's Digital Decade: Commission Launches Consultation and Discussion on Digital Principles



The European Commission, as a follow-up to its Digital Decade Communication of 9 March, launched a public consultation on the formulation of a set of principles to promote and uphold EU values in the digital space on 12 May. The consultation, open until 2 September, seeks to open a wide societal debate and gather views from citizens, non-governmental and civil society organisations, businesses, administrations and all interested parties. These principles will guide the EU and Member States in designing digital rules and regulations that deliver the benefits of digitalisation for all citizens.


Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said: “A fair and secure digital environment that offers opportunities for all. That is our commitment. The digital principles will guide this European human-centred approach to digital and should be the reference for future action in all areas. That's why we want to hear from EU citizens.”


Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “This is Europe's Digital Decade and everyone should be empowered to benefit from digital solutions to connect, explore, work and fulfil one's ambitions, online as offline. We want to set together the digital principles on which a resilient digital economy and society will be built.”


On 9 March, the Commission laid out its vision for Europe's digital transformation by 2030 in its Communication “Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade“, and proposed to compile a set of digital principles. This covers areas such as access to internet services, to a secure and trusted online environment, to digital health services and to human-centric digital public services and administration. All interested people and parties can also share their view on digital education and skills necessary for people to take an active part in society and in democratic processes, ethical principles for human centric algorithms, the protection and empowerment of children and young people in the online space or digital systems and devices that respect the environment. They are also invited to propose alternative formulations or elaborate on other possible principles.


These principles will complement existing rights that already protect and empower Europeans online such as the protection of their personal data and privacy, freedom of expression, freedom to set up and conduct a business online or the protection of their intellectual creations.


This approach goes also hand-in-hand with the recent proposal on Artificial Intelligence whereby the Commission aims to ensure the use of this technology in the EU is trustworthy and human-centric.


Next steps


The contributions to the public consultation will feed into a proposal from the Commission for a joint inter-institutional declaration on Digital Principles of the European Parliament, the Council, and the Commission. The proposal is expected by the end of 2021.


The emphasis placed on the "digital realm" and digitalisation by the European Commission demonstrates the importance of this realm, its potentials, and its challenges as well. Encouraging the public to voice their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about this digital transformation is essential to ensure that this change is both legitimate in the eyes of the Europeans and more consultation always allows policymakers to bring more elements into consideration, elements they might have missed. The goal of ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) in this process is to bring its wide network of partners into this public consultation process and make sure that thoughts and concerns of both individuals and corporations are heard and addressed by the Commission.


Source: European Commission Press Corner

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