Information society can be a driver for inclusion or exclusion for a meaningful part of the European population. According to the European Commission more than 16% of Europeans have a disability and by 2025 more than 20% of the population will be 65 or over.
Inclusion in the information society has a social impact but also a remarkable economic impact, ensuring that a significant number of such consumers and workers can also participate in economic life.
On 27 January panelists for this EIF breakfast debate looked into the state of play in the European Union for inclusion in information society as well as the business case for inclusion in information society.
Julie Ward, MEP and EIF Steering Committee Member, proposed, organized and chaired this debate. In her opening remarks she stressed how this topic is relevant to every one of us. She also noted that inclusion was widely discussed at the recent Internet Governance Forum in Brazil.
Ana Neves, Director at the Department of Information Society, Science & Technology Foundation I.P., Ministry of Education and Science, Portugal, presented the European Observatory on Vulnerable People in the Information Society with the aim to facilitate the integration of the most fragile groups of European citizens into the decision-making processes in the Information Society via policies related to the Internet and ICT’s that will stimulate their participation in sustainable human and economic development , stressing the importance of this EU level project.
Yuliya Morenets, Representative of Together against Cybercrime, presented the activities of ToC, stressing the importance of EU level work to safely include vulnerable people in the information society.
Cristina Mussinelli, Secretary General at Libri Italiani Accessibili Foundation (Italian Accessible Books), presented ebooks for visually impaired people. If vulnerable people can access the same content, they have the same opportunity to be included in society.
Alberto Durán López, President of Ilunion, which transfers to business the social initiatives of ONCE and its Foundation through a pioneering and innovative approach that allows it to maintain a balance between profit and social values, spoke about the importance of including vulnerable people in the labor market.