Towards a Digital Union - Our Progressive Vision

The European Union is undergoing a digital revolution that impacts on our daily, political, social, economic and cultural lives. As European Socialists and Democrats we welcome the opportunities this revolution offers for all European citizens and want to tackle head on any potential challenges.   New technological developments must help tackle social inequalities and discrimination, create jobs, and promote openness, fairness, transparency, sustainability and accountability in our society.

 

The internet allows more open communication and better access to information - contributing to a growing global participative community.  It is no longer a mere technical platform: it drives social, cultural and technological innovation. Internet and digital policy must serve to benefit us all, increase societal and civic participation and improve our quality of life.   For this reason, EU digital policies need to be reviewed carefully so that all Europeans can benefit from the growing digital economy. The European Union's ability to recover from the economic  crisis and its future competitiveness will  depend largely on its capacity to promote and implement an ambitious Digital Strategy and lead in the development of digital content.

 

For most European citizens, using this form of communication and accessing new sources of information from across Europe and beyond is already an integral part of everyday life. It changes the way we live, learn, work and communicate.  It is important to acknowledge positively the speed of digital and technological change, develop a better understanding about the potential risks associated with digitization, and ensure that this revolution truly serves our citizens and our economy so that everyone can benefit from it.

 

The S&D Group wants to ensure that digitization is a tool that complies with and respects our fundamental values and in particular the protection of freedom, justice, pluralism, accessibility, and solidarity. It must develop in ways that will help communities prosper, and promote human dignity, self-determination, the rule of law, privacy, ethnic and cultural diversity, free speech and democracy.

 

We believe that Europe needs a balanced digital policy to ensure that basic values are respected. Because of the modernising and potentially disruptive nature of digitization, digital policies need to be shaped in order to achieve Europe's true potential and ensure that the digital opportunity is accessible to all and not only reserved for the powerful and wealthy. The benefits of the digital economy must benefit all our communities collectively both in Europe and globally. We need to support weaker and non-digitally literate disadvantaged citizens in our society and increase access to digital public services in remote locations and ensure that citizens (including people with disabilities), who cannot access the internet are not left behind.

 

Digitization is also a tool to help implement sustainability and sustainable growth. Smart Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions will connect countries, regions, cities, rural communities, businesses and citizens across Europe to improve the quality of lives of our citizens in resource efficient ways. As digital policies are cross-cutting and touch many policy fields, including single market and industrial policies, our Group calls on all policy makers, trade unions, social   and cultural partners, civil society and entrepreneurs to work together to address the different aspects of the digital economy in line with our social democratic values and our vision. Europe's policies must reflect the latest innovations and ensure that they create the foundations to build a properly functioning, inclusive, digital society both in Europe and across the world.

1
1 TOWARDS A DIGITAL UNION: MORE THAN JUST A MARKET OR AN AGENDA

Digitization will bring new opportunities for European citizens in the form of new skills, jobs and economic growth. It could help Europe's long awaited sustainable economic recovery and enhance the EU's internal and external competitiveness. At the same time, digitization is disrupting traditional policy processes and business models.  As policymakers, our Group recognises this and will fight to ensure that digitization is a tool that reinforces our values and policy priorities in order to build a fairer, more inclusive and dynamic society, where individual rights are protected.

 

We want to see the growth of the European digital society lead to more European research and innovation, greater investment in job creation, and more creativity and businesses across the EU.  Europe must use this opportunity to develop state of the art educational systems, better labour protection standards, better resource and energy efficiency, to support the Energy Union, and to promote gender equality and equal access for the marginalised and for people living with disabilities. We want to see proper support for technology developments which enable citizens to cooperate and share resources intelligently in order to build ICT tools for a better and more sustainable society.

 

In contrast to its earlier "Digital Agenda", the Commission should not only aim at setting ambitious goals. Our Group favours a digital strategy which proposes clear legislative and financial ways and means to reach those goals to achieve a Digital Union.

 

As the digital world evolves and as policy needs updating, the S&D Group will keep its priorities and strategy under review.  For now, we highlight four areas:

  • Adapting Digital Europe's changing industrial and innovative base
  • Digital jobs for all
  • Investing in a Digital Union: infrastructure, e-government, and e-skills
  • Making EU law digital, trusted, fair and responsible
2
1.1 Adapting Digital Europe's changing industrial and innovative base

1.1       innovative base

 

Europe must improve the framework conditions for innovative industries and businesses, by supporting entrepreneurship in Europe, developing the digital economy and increasing investments in enabling fixed and mobile broadband infrastructures.

The changes that the digital era brings are disrupting some traditional industries, and at the same time developing new ones.  Because of this, new laws will need to be developed primarily at EU level, in order to deal with the cross border nature of the digital ecosystem and economy.  The European Union need to develop industrial policy measures which support new and established European digital innovation and manufacturing. Being able to produce individualised high quality and sustainable products could be one of the keys to unlocking re-industrialisation, and in turn create jobs in Europe.

 

Digitization  is  shaking  up  traditional  value  chains  and  changing  interactions  between  production  and services. In order for our European players to lead in this transformation, the S&D Group would like to see additional support provided to help the digitization of traditional industries, preparing them for the tasks and demands of the future (so-called "Industry 4.0"). This support should also be focused on micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), as many of those companies are still in the adaptation phase and may need additional support.

 

More  digital  start-ups  should  be  created  and  retained  in  Europe,  which  implies  creating  favourable framework conditions, with new sources of financing, business support, fairer taxation, pan-European interoperability standards, strong digital competences and a wider-reaching entrepreneurial culture. Our Group will work for a closer cooperation between already established companies and new start-ups that could promote an integrated and competitive new model of "digital manufacturing". To support new start- ups, the Commission and Member States should support the development of innovative hubs, geographical locations with a rich presence of skills and businesses to create new jobs and opportunities. We must also ensure that we create the best business environment to allow start-ups and micro enterprises to scale up their businesses. Developing start-up accelerator programmes to allow start-ups the time and space to grow their business models is vital to ensuring this.

 

 

We need to turn the EU's high-level industrial and end-user protection into a real comparative advantage. Europe needs to overcome the innovation gap and promote new European industrial digital champions. Europe's businesses need to develop their knowledge base in cutting edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud computing and 3D printing and in game changing digital opportunities such as the digitization of our cultural heritage, media and education; e-health, and games technologies.   Europe must also play a role in determining its own approach, by combining excellence in manufacturing with digital solutions that take into account data security and protection of personal data, and more generally the potential impact (positive and negative) on society of these digital innovations and industrial applications. In the ICT manufacturing sector, Europe should support innovative digital manufacturing sectors, such as the production of cable (be they copper or fibre, including the huge submarine cables), network equipment and 'chip and pin' cards, microchips which are major components of future digital machinery.

 

 

 

Digitization  is  also  helping  to  reduce  the  environmental  footprint  of  what  we  do.  It  is  facilitating  the networks,  partnerships  and  actions  we  need  to  work  things  out  in  a  complex  and  connected  world. Industries are developing business models that are no longer only based on physical products but also towards business models based on services. Smart solutions must be found to address the challenge of climate change, environment, and transport and energy policies to improve environmental performance, enhance energy efficiency, eradicate energy poverty and improve sustainable resource management.  ICT- enabled applications for sustainable management of natural resources and materials in production, use and end-of-life phases should be actively encouraged.  This principle should also apply to the footprint of ICT related materials and hardware such as data centres and smartphones.

 

The Commission should also continue to work on creating a functioning and trusted environment for cross- border research and development (R&D) co-operation between businesses, research institutions and public bodies.   European measures such as the state aid regime and the research programme "Horizon 2020" should be used carefully. Funding should be targeted to support innovative ICT solutions, especially for SMEs. Regions have to focus on their productive strengths and strengthen developments by smart specialisation, smart chains and cluster. European cooperation has to be enhanced in order to stabilize the EU-wide value chain.

 

 

In addition, since industry and research is globally connected, it will require the development of new value chains between companies. Cross border industrial and intellectual property protection will need to be clarified. European companies will also need to be protected against digital industrial espionage, theft, and sabotage  more  than  ever.  Standardization  of  components,  including  strict  standardisation  of  the  data streams and processing technologies, will be also key.

 

 

The S&D Group calls on Commission and Member States to:

  • seek closer cooperation between already established companies and new start-ups in Europe that could promote an integrated, sustainable and competitive new industrial model of "digital manufacturing"
  • promote start-up accelerator programmes to help start-ups to grow and develop
  • support the development of innovative cross-border European hubs, geographical locations with a rich presence of skills and businesses to create new jobs and opportunities.
  • create  technology  centres  in less  industrialised European regions  in order  to reduce regional disparities, to support the wide diffusion of innovation, and to guarantee access to information for start-ups and SMEs from regions all over Europe.
  • support open standards, in order to help collective work on innovation. Open source and open access accelerate innovation processes and improve research and development. Interoperability, openness, independence, technology neutrality and portability should be promoted in the development of new ideas, products or services, as a sponsor and an innovation driver.
  • prioritize the development of European interoperability solutions and frameworks and ensure that pan-European interoperability standards are agreed.
  • speed up efforts in Europe to digitize its immense capital in terms of cultural heritage and make it available to all.  It is essential for the cultural sector to make use of every opportunity offered by new technologies, especially in the development of cultural products, and by using funding provided by the Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020).
  • ensure that ICTs promote sustainable growth, enhance quality of life, tackle climate change and energy efficiency, promote coherent environment-friendly and sustainable R&D, design, production, use and disposal of ICTs, and extend their working life wherever environmentally efficient.
3
1.2 Digital jobs for all

In the workplace, digitization is an opportunity for many new jobs and growth through innovation. Europe must become a world leader in the development of new smart and attractive workplaces where people collaborate seamlessly with ICT technologies.

 

But  not  every  employee  will  be  able  to  adapt  quickly  enough.  The  EU  is  facing  continuous  shifts  in technology that are bringing major changes to the labour market. There is a great need for a proactive industrial policy to meet the necessary adjustments and challenges facing our labour market, in line with increasing complexity, continuing automation and robotization. Ongoing automation and robotization is impacting on our workforces directly. We must invest more in the knowledge of how automation and robotics can be used to improve quality of life and quality of employment. We should also consider how these other ICT technologies can be used to do the job better and more safely, increase productivity, and provide opportunities to replace repetitive tasks with better quality and more challenging ones both in large companies and SMEs.

The increase in new forms of employment such as information and technology (ICT) based mobile work and crowdsourcing provide an opportunity for workers since it can lead to a higher level of autonomy and flexibility to coordinate private life and work.

 

 

At the same time, the digital economy is seen by some as posing a threat to traditional jobs in the industrial and services sectors. It also makes it easier to transform secure employment into more precarious forms of employment and poses serious challenges for the occupational health and safety of workers. This also presents an additional new challenge for older women and men re-entering the work force in later life. We must ensure that any future policy framework takes this into account and seeks to mitigate, or at least manage, this challenge.

 

 

 

Because our Group wants to ensure that these technologies can help develop sustainable, quality jobs, we call on the Commission to assess the qualitative and quantitative effects of the digital economy on employment, and to take steps to shape it in a way that is beneficial for workers. In particular we call for more research on new forms of employment arrangements and how to safeguard job quality in such processes of change.  We also propose a debate between Member States concerning necessary adjustments in social security systems as well as the extension of labour law to new and growing forms of employment in order to ensure high levels of protection for employees in new forms of employment. This must also involve discussions between social partners on how to modernise social dialogue and collective bargaining and adapt it to new employment arrangements.

In  the  long  term,  unless  Europe's  leads  the  way  in  the  development  of  innovative  employment arrangements, all these developments may put welfare systems and the quality of employment in Europe under strain by undermining existing collective bargaining practices, eroding revenues in tax and social security systems, and hollowing out worker's rights and mechanisms of worker participation.

By 2020, it is estimated that 90% of jobs will require digital skills in the EU.  We call on the Commission to support and prepare our workforce, through financing training and retraining actions, to take on this new opportunity. The Commission and Member States must work to raise skill levels and increase the interest of our young people to use their new knowledge to adapt in the new workplace. Training must also include entrepreneurial skills in order encourage creative and innovative application of these skills.  The revenue or 'digital dividend' created by the gains in digital productivity  should be fairly shared along the value chain and reinvested and used to provide public and private investment to create employment, especially in social, health and other public services where more capacity is needed.

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

 

  • provide ongoing assessments of the qualitative and quantitative effects of the digital economy on employment - the digital dividend from  gains in digital productivity should benefit all, not just the employers.
  • support and prepare our workforce, through financing training, retraining and life-long learning , to take on this new opportunity.
  • undertake more research on new forms of employment arrangements and how to safeguard job quality in such processes of change.
  • encourage social partners to become a bridge in this digital transformation of the economy and the workplaces, in particular by providing basic assistance and support to workers and people in need
  • ensure that a transition towards a digital working environment does not undermine European working and employment standards
  • discuss,  along  with  social  partners,  appropriate  ways  to  address  new  and  growing  forms  of employment, possible adjustments to modernise social security systems, labour law, social dialogue and collective bargaining, whilst continuing to ensure high levels of protection for employees.
  • promote  a stronger  and  more resilient EURES: Encourage and assist  intra-EU  fair  mobility  of workers and its benefits.
4
1.3 Investing in a Digital Union: infrastructure, e-government, e-skills

Europe needs to invest if it is to compete at the same level as other global players in the digital economy. The Commission should connect digital policies to other strategies such as the Energy Union and European Strategic Investment Fund (EFSI).   It should also require policies to support the modernisation of the infrastructure to guarantee connectivity, the modernisation of public administration and provision of digital skills.

 

 

1.1.1           Broadband Infrastructure deployment and investment

 

 

Our Group continues to support the goal of achieving fast broadband connections for all citizens and ultra- fast connections for at least the half of all European citizens by 2020.  In particular, by 2020, 30 Mbps should be available to all Europeans regardless of where they live, and particularly in our rural and peripheral communities. More than half of European households should have access  to at least 100 Mbps. Europe also needs to establish EU standards for state of the art 4G+ and 5G, and make sure that the EU leads the way.

 

The S&D Group urgently calls on the Commission to review state aid rules to allow further funds to be invested into fixed and mobile broadband and 4G deployments. We also call for more investments at EU and national level in research and development in the area of IT security, as well as modern encoding technologies. The EU must help to develop public and private investment strategies to bring coherence between national investment plans, ICT research excellence and generate a new wave of growth and jobs connected to the new digital investments.

 

The European Strategic Investment Fund plan is an opportunity for coordinated investments across Europe, developing a new role for Europe in digital innovation and in the market for products, operating systems (OS) and services.

 

Investment in connectivity is potentially an instrument for convergence. It needs to be inclusive and fair and also include full coverage of rural, remote, outermost and disadvantaged areas, to ensure that high speed connectivity can be enjoyed by all EU citizens, businesses, public administrations, schools and other organisations. Where there is market failure, public support and funding should be made available via all EU instruments such as the European Strategic Investment Fund (EFSI) and the Cohesion and Investments Funds (Cohesion Fund, ERDF, EARDF, ESF).

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

 

 

  • Prioritise the use of public and private financing for inclusive digital infrastructure allowing high speed connectivity for all, covering all parts of the European Union including rural and remote areas.

 

1.1.2           Digitally inclusive modern public administrations

 

 

Our Group will push for the modernisation of national and European public administrations, starting with e- government and e-democracy, but also focusing on areas such as digital public procurement, digital healthcare, digital civil registry, public transport, electronic invoicing and digital justice at EU and Member State level. The public sector needs to develop fully open e-public administrations that should also be made available to citizens living in remote areas, and those living with disabilities. Digitization should help make government procedures and legislation more efficient, and contribute to further reducing administrative costs without losses for the quality of services for citizens and business. Governments and the Commission should also consider if legislation is 'digitally modern' and assess the impact if it is not.   

 

 

 

 Our Group will continue to push to make e-public administration services available for citizens travelling or residing in another EU country than their own by ensuring the cross-border interoperability of electronic identification.

 

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

 

 

  • promote and encourage the re-use of public sector information
  • allow all European citizens to have easy and broader access to online administrative procedures and to ensure cross border interoperability of electronic identification schemes.
  • use  the  opportunities  of  big  data  technology  to  improve  public  data  sources,  and  allow  the possibility for citizens to connect with public administrations and develop smart and sustainable solutions in areas such as public transport, smart cities, agriculture and maritime policy.
  • encourage the use of digitization in EU and national public administrations to render them most cost-effective and digitally modern.

 

1.1.3           From school to skills - ICT life skills are for all

Our Group favours measures to combat the steadily widening digital divide in  access to the internet, e-skills, and literacy, in order to include all citizens and give them the right to information, regardless of income, social situation, disability, geographical location, health, age, gender or sexual orientation. In the digital era, European citizens need to adopt 'digital worklife balance' strategies where they are able to work and live with digital technologies in a balanced and a beneficial way.

 

The Commission and Member States should in particular set out measures and share best practice to support digital skills training for micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and citizens (particularly for children, people with disabilities, and the elderly) and to improve e-learning models and educational platforms (with special emphasis on tools that will engage girls at an early age) .

 

At school, digital skills and coding must be taught to all children and should be introduced into national education curricula.  These skills will allow our children to be creative and be ready to operate in our digital society. And crucially, these skills will help children to protect themselves.

 

 

To support access to digital skills, we want all people to have open access to digital educational media without barriers. Open educational resources and the further development of digital learning and teaching materials  under  free  licences,  could  contribute  decisively  towards  achieving  equal  opportunities  in education. This is also strongly supported by the European Programme for Education, training, youth and sport - Erasmus+ Programme.

 

In addition, all generations should be enabled to use the possibilities of the digital world independently, critically and responsibly and be able to protect themselves from abuses or associated risks. EU citizens have to be made aware of their digital rights. Advanced training and continuing education have become crucial because of digitization's quicker innovation cycles. Cyberbullying, fraud, online grooming, hate speech and hate crimes, and harassment present growing threats to vulnerable citizens in the online community, and in particular have made the internet an increasingly unsafe space.

 

Online communication platforms and the wider internet should be encouraged in any future policy framework  to  address  these  issues  and  respond  to  legitimate  complaints  of  online  behaviour  which threatens, bullies, or harasses.

 

Finally, globally, digitization is a tool that could help developing countries out of poverty. The S&D group like to see a digital literacy development target.

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

  • support micro, small and medium enterprises and citizens, the elderly and people with disabilities to have access to digital services across borders
  • develop digital educational IT courses adapted to girls and boys
  • include digital skills in the school curriculum from primary level upwards
  • promote STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics) subjects in higher education
  • guarantee open access to digital education and ICT tools
  • work with digital companies to prevent cyberbullying and promote 'online best behaviour'
  • promote digital literacy development targets at global level
  • guarantee online protection of the vulnerable - children in particular must be a priority, especially when it comes to abuse online. An open and free Internet for all does not mean an Internet without rules. We also call for more funding to go into this aspect of digital work and more analysis of the cultural and societal impact of a digitised society on our citizens.
5
1.4 Making EU law digital, trusted, fair and responsible

Europe can add value by ensuring that digitization and the internet are allowed to develop in a space where the internet is open and safe for citizens and where companies and SMEs can use the internet to create, innovate, communicate and trade and can operate as or more effectively in the digital economy as they do in the physical world.

 

1.1.1           Establishing a trusted Digital Union

 

 

It is essential to establish trust in digital solutions for citizens, consumers and companies.  Europe's digital strategy must balance ICT innovation with the need to protect citizens' personal data, and privacy.  We want to work with Member States to conclude negotiations on the Data Protection Package so that a final agreement with high protection standards is reached soon.  All new digital technologies that collect, store and use big data (including algorithm development) must respect personal privacy.

 

The security of electronic communications and networks is fundamental if they are to ensure that this technology  is  fully  trusted  by  citizens  and  companies,  especially  SMEs.  More  EU  coordination  and operational cooperation (and swift adoption of the "cybersecurity" Directive) and European industrial leadership  is  also  needed  to  prevent  and  counter  growing  cyber-attacks  and  to  ensure  high  and homogeneous levels of security across the whole European territory.

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

  • agree the Data Protection Package which must include a high level of protection for citizens.
  • ensure that the use of digital technologies that enable to collect, store and use big data (including algorithm development) respects personal privacy.
  • build trust by guaranteeing the security of electronic communications and networks technologies, especially SMEs and micro businesses.
  • agree  the  Network  Information  Security  (cybersecurity)  directive,  in  order  to  ensure  better cooperation to prevent and deal with unwanted cyber-attacks.

 

1.1.2           Accessing an affordable open internet:

 

Our Group wants an electronic communication network to provide services to businesses and customers that are fair, accessible (including across borders), affordable, connected and coordinated. The regulatory framework for electronic communications needs to be updated take into account digital innovation, evolving customer digital  needs,  updated consumer protection,  cross  border competition,  and support  Europe's digital needs.

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

  • put an end to retail roaming charges inside the EU including data
  • guarantee legal certainty for genuine net neutrality. All internet traffic should be treated equally, without  discrimination,  restriction  or  interference,  irrespective  of  its  sender,  receiver,  type, content, device, service or application. Traffic management should be allowed in exceptional circumstances only, and within clear limits provided by law.
  • improve consumer protection (including universal service provision) which must be included in electronic telecommunications framework rules.
  • ensure a more coordinated spectrum policy in Europe.

 

1.1.3           A fairer Digital Single Market for consumers and citizens:

 

Consumer rules and fundamental rights for online digital provision of goods and services must be promoted, respected and defended. There should be a fair and transparent digital environment. It is crucial to combat geographical discrimination against consumers, different conditions of access based on the nationality or the place of residence of goods and service recipients within the Digital Single Market.

The S&D Group calls for Commission to:

  • consider reviewing the e-commerce directive and its impact on consumer protection and ensure a fairer and innovation friendly online environment.
  • consider introducing an e-commerce trustmark, update the enforcement directive and monitor closely the functioning of the recently implemented Consumer Rights Directive in the digital economy.
  • strengthen the rules on "cookies"  to give consumers actual information of the possible risks so that they can provide informed consent
  • establish a European-wide labelling scheme to inform consumers about receiver-performance in mobile phones.
  • ensure that the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive is implemented correctly by the Member States, taking into account language diversity, and set up the Online Dispute Resolution Platform as soon as possible.
  • propose an e-delivery services driven towards innovative and interoperable solutions for a truly European delivery market and ensure that a more transparent calculation of delivery costs while online purchasing is undertaken.
  • enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of dominant position, to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services, and if necessary consider establishing a legislative framework for unbundling search engines from other commercial services.

 

1.1.4           The online world must respect 'offline' rules:

 

The  EU  needs  a  regulatory  framework  which  promotes  a  fair,  open  and  transparent  competitive environment for all economic actors in Europe.

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission and Member States to:

  • review business practices of platforms   in the so-called "sharing economy," and consider the possibility of a framework for the operation of platforms in the digital economy.
  • insist on the application and enforcement of existing regulation in the areas of labour law, health and safety regulations, data protection and consumer protection standards.
  • consider that so called 'Over The Top (OTT)' providers should be subject to the same regulation when it comes to content, access or privacy and data protection, and when they provide comparable telecoms services to those currently covered by the electronic telecommunications frameworks.
  • ensure a coordinated, fair and sustainable taxation policy in the digital economy
  • align tax rates for digital content and similar physical goods such as e-books.

 

1.1.5           Adapting legal rules to the digital world:

 

Europe's creative and cultural industries play an essential role in promoting cultural diversity, and are a major factor of growth and job creation: they are an important player in the EU's economic recovery. The S&D Group will push for the right balance to be found between authors, artists, producers, distributors (online and offline), and users with regard to the tension between access/circulation and protection of creative content online.

 

Whilst EU copyright rules are central to the promotion of creativity and innovation, they also regulate access to knowledge and information to protected content. Digitization has opened up access to protected content without proper remuneration, and our Group believes that any new proposal must properly recognise the critical importance of creators' rights in guaranteeing cultural diversity and fair remuneration and in encouraging investment in the creative industries.

 

In addition, geo-blocking in itself hampers the digital economy, but even more importantly it incites EU consumers to use circumvention tools which may push them into criminality. At the same time, exclusivity and territoriality are a fundamental part of each Member State's cultural policy, allowing equitable remuneration of right holders.

 

The S&D Group calls for Commission to:

  • review European copyright laws at EU level to ensure that they will support public access to cultural goods while finding balanced solutions to guarantee  creators' rights and user access, fair remuneration and promote investment in the cultural sectors.
  • ensure  that  creative  workers  and  artists  keep  hold  on  their  intellectual  property  with  the advancing commodification of art and culture.
  • review market practices that abuse dominant positions to distributing content without proper remuneration to the creators.
  • Solve the problem of geo-blocking fairly, a business practice which prevents access to paid content or information in another EU country.   Geo-blocking in itself hampers the digital economy, but even more importantly it incites EU consumers to use circumvention tools which may push them into criminality.

 

1.1.6           Promoting a sustainable, inclusive global digital policies

 

The Internet is by definition global and can benefit all its citizens. Digitization is a tool that could help developing countries out of poverty. The European Union must ensure that its internal policies also reflect on global actors and partners.   The issue of standards is also a key issue in global competition.

 

The Commission and Member States should:

 

  • promote at all levels and strengthen a more inclusive, open, transparent model of global internet governance which is multi-stakeholder and accountable.   The ICANN system must be more accountable and transparent and ensure that it operates in the overall public interest and is not influenced by private or national interests.
  • develop a coordinated strategy to promote European standards in international standardization committees
  • ensure that affordable access to broadband infrastructure,  access to the open internet and the provision of digital skills should be part of the UN Millennium Sustainable Development goals.
6
CONCLUSIONS

Digitization will bring new opportunities and challenges for European citizens in the form of new skills, jobs and economic growth, and could help Europe's long awaited economic recovery, enhance EU internal and external competitiveness, and ensure that the digital revolution promotes social cohesion and inclusion. As policymakers, our Group recognises this and will fight to ensure that digitization is a tool that can reinforce our values and policy priorities.

The S&D Group calls on the Commission and Member States to include the following points in upcoming legislative and funding proposals to ensure the completion of a Digital Union:

  • Support to adapt the EU's changing industrial and innovative base.
  • Invest in digital infrastructure, e-government, and e-skills.
  • Commit to creating jobs for all - building on the existing social and employment rules to adapt to the new ways of working and promote funding for training and retraining.
  • Make EU law digital, trusted, fair and responsible by agreeing the data protection regulation.
  • Build trust by ensuring that citizens are protected online and there is security of electronic communications and networks technology, especially SMEs and micro businesses.
  • Review European copyright laws at EU level to ensure that they will support public access to cultural goods while finding balanced solutions to guarantee creators' rights and user access, fair remuneration and promote investment in the cultural sectors.
  • Find a fair EU level solution to geoblocking.
  • Propose a fair competitive and consumer friendly framework for all businesses who operate in the
  • European digital market.
  • Affordable and accessible connectivity for all across the whole of the European Union
  • Ensure a coordinated, fair and sustainable taxation policy in the digital economy