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.