Following the unveiling of the European Commission's strategy for the completion of the Digital Single Market today, S&D Euro MPs expressed disappointment with the current proposal and called for a more ambitious vision for a Digital Union that benefits all Europeans.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the strategy, S&D vice-president and chair of the working group on the Digital Agenda Jörg Leichtfried stated:
"The benefits of the digital revolution must be felt throughout Europe, not just by those at the top of society. To do this we need to ensure that those without digital skills or access to technology are not left behind. We need to guarantee affordable internet access for all Europeans and need to invest heavily in digital education and training to ensure the benefits can be felt by all."
S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt said:
"It is clear that in Europe we are falling behind our main competitors when it comes to digital transformation. If we want to compete with the US and Asia, we need a strong and successful Digital Single Market. This strategy from the Commission provides an outline of this but is lacking in both grand vision and on practical implementation. We want to see more details on how Europe can build a functioning digital society that provides opportunities and protections for all Europeans."
S&D Group spokesperson for the Internal Market, Evelyne Gebhardt added:
"The Digital Single Market offers huge potential for growth and the creation of new skilled jobs. However digital transformation is, and has already been, a disruptive process. In order to create a fair and equitable society we need to maintain strong social and employment rules that are adaptable to the new digital world. We also need to adopt rules which protect citizens and consumers and allow businesses to operate fairly across borders."
In order to develop an inclusive Digital Union the S&D Group calls on the Commission and member states to adopt proposals that:
1. Support the adaptation of the EU's industrial and innovative base and investment in digital infrastructure, e-government and e-skills
2. Commit to creating jobs for all - building on the existing social and employment rules to adapt to new ways of working and provide increased funding for training and retraining
3. Make EU digital law that is responsible and trusted by agreeing on data protection regulation
4. Build trust by ensuring that citizens are protected online by increasing security of electronic communications and network technology, especially with SMEs and micro businesses
5. Reform European copyright laws at EU level to strengthen creators' rights, and promote investment in the cultural sectors, including a fair EU level solution to geo-blocking
6. Propose a competitive and consumer friendly framework for all businesses who operate in the European digital market
7. Guarantee affordable and accessible connectivity for everyone in the European Union
8. Ensure a coordinated, fair and sustainable taxation policy in the digital economy