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S&Ds lead the way on principles guiding us through the digital transformation

Date

24 Nov 2022

Sections

Innovation & Enterprise

The European Parliament adopted today the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles following the green light to the declaration already given by the Council. This is a result of negotiations the European Parliament had under the leadership of S&D negotiator, Bernd Lange, with the European Commission and the Council of the EU.

For the S&D Group it was very important to spell out the ethical principles and rights guiding the EU's approach to many emerging societal and ethical questions that arise with the digital transformation. 

Alex Agius Saliba, S&D Group Vice-President for a strong digital Europe for all, said:

"With this declaration we want to define and promote a common European vision of digital rights and principles as a standard for the world. We want people to know their rights, and more importantly, we want to protect them and safeguard that technologies work for the wellbeing of the people. We want everyone in Europe to feel safe and have seamless access to top-class connectivity, public services, and a safe and fair digital space.

“We want the declaration to establish that what is illegal offline is illegal online, strengthen the protection of users' rights and clearly define the use of digital tools at work, such as respect for workers' physical and mental health and the right to disconnect. Digital technology should serve and benefit all people in Europe and empower them to pursue their aspirations."

Bernd Lange, the European Parliament negotiator on the digital rights declaration with the European Commission and the Council, said:

“Many European citizens are not aware that the rights they enjoy offline, also apply online. This declaration can be a game-changer in that respect: it clearly spells out what rights citizens enjoy in the EU and which principles will guide us throughout this digital transformation. Given that there are a lot of concerns on workers’ rights in the digital environment, I am especially pleased that the European Parliament managed to strengthen the part on fair and just working conditions. There can be no doubt: workers' fundamental rights in the digital environment need to be respected. In addition, the three institutions commit to high-quality digital education and training, high-quality connectivity with available Internet access, a digital environment where people are protected against harmful content, as well as fostering sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains of digital products and services.

“I hope that the declaration will create more awareness about the rules in the digital world and will empower citizens to take full advantage of the opportunities the digital transition brings. It has a lot of potential to guide future legislation and should become a reference document for the future work of the EU on any digital topic.”

Note to editors:

According to latest data, almost 40% of EU citizens are unaware that their rights regarding privacy, freedom of expression, or non-discrimination apply not just offline, but online, too. At the same time, over 80% of EU citizens consider it useful for the European Union to define and promote a common European vision of digital rights and principles.

The S&D Group not only endorses the Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles but also leads the way to ensure full compliance with fundamental rights such as data protection, the right to privacy, non-discrimination, and gender equality, and with principles such as consumer protection, technological and net neutrality, trustworthiness, and inclusiveness. For the S&D Group, it was vital to strengthen workers' fundamental rights and to ensure that what is illegal offline, is illegal online.

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