The Socialists & Democrats Group today strongly backed a report on the challenges and opportunities for Europe from the digital revolution. The transition to a digital union is a priority for the group and is the topic for a Relaunching Europe event held this Friday in Koblenz, Germany.
Josef Weidenholzer, S&D vice-president responsible for digital affairs said:
"The digital revolution is changing every aspect of our lives, from our jobs and healthcare to how we conduct politics and engage with our governments. It presents huge opportunities that can help people to live happier more fulfilling lives but, as with any significant innovation, it will also disrupt a lot of industries and livelihoods. Our priority as a group is to ensure we have the framework necessary to make the most of the opportunities it presents, while also ensuring that nobody is left behind in the digital revolution. This means we need serious investment in skills and training and in infrastructure so all Europeans can access affordable high-speed internet."
Evelyne Gebhardt, co-author of the report and S&D spokesperson for the internal market, added:
"The digital revolution is radically changing Europe. Generally this is positive, creating the potential for millions of new skilled jobs across Europe and new opportunities for consumers. However, we must also not be blind to the negative impacts of these changes, in particular the increasing casualisation of work in the sharing economy and parcel delivery sectory. This report calls on the Commission to look seriously at working conditions in these areas - as we cannot accept a grey area to develop with poor levels of protection for workers. We must also ensure that the high level of consumer protection that consumers have is also true for the digital sphere, in terms of rights for redress and in using purchases in other countries by finding an effective solution to the problem of geo-blocking."
Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, S&D spokesperson for industry, research and energy, said:
"More than anything else, European citizens need quality jobs. During recent years the digital economy has grown faster than all other sectors. The EU's digital single market strategy is an opportunity, an opportunity to create jobs and growth, while tackling the digital divide in infrastructure and skills. Digitisation must not become a new form of social exclusion. All citizens and industries must have equal access to the digital opportunities. Standardization of 5G and the competitive telecoms sector can pave the way for Europe to become a global leader in 5G networks. Together with digital innovations, they are a prerequisite for the new jobs in the Internet of things and the digital transformation of European industries, which will help keep industrial jobs in Europe."
Note to Editors
An S&D Group Relaunching Europe event on Europe's digital future will take place this Thursday, 21 January in Koblenz, Germany