The European Internet Forum invited MEPs, Members and friends to kick off the new parliamentary season by discussing the "Top 10 Digital Trends that will shape Europe's future and demand Political Leadership" on 24th September in the European Parliament. Over 200 participants joined our MEP Welcome Reception, which was hosted by EIF Chair Pilar del Castillo MEP and featured Roberto Viola, Director General, DG CNECT European Commission and Jim Cloos, Deputy Director-General, General and Institutional Policy, General Secretariat of the Council as guests of honour.
Pilar del Castillo MEP welcomed guests and set the scene: "The Digital Age has now become reality across our societies and economies with consequences that demand governance through the democratic processes of the European Union.” MEP del Castillo added that the European Internet Forum has produced a document summarizing these digitally-driven issues which, in EIF’s view, will shape the European Parliament’s agenda for the coming years.
Roberto Viola started his speech by acknowledging the relevance of EIF’s document: “This is it! Putting these 10 trends in front of us is spot on!” Mr. Viola admitted that the European Union underestimated the impact of social media on democracy and assured that it will be taken very seriously by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. “We should not be afraid of technology but we should make sure that it can deliver for society. The Commission will present rules and regulation regarding AI. It is a challenge but also an immense opportunity.” Mr. Viola stressed that the trends cannot be treated individually, as they are connected: “Data is essential for AI and when we speak about data, we speak about privacy and security. We will continue to defend privacy and look even more on cybersecurity. A society cannot function without a fair taxation system.”
Jim Cloos highlighted that “We have a huge challenge in front of us and the European Council is fully aware of it. There is a sense of urgency”. “Digital plays an important role on the ‘Strategic Agenda 2019-2024’ adopted in June and the themes within the agenda are similar to the trends developed by EIF, so I think we are on the same page” he added. With regard to the Council’s priorities, Mr. Cloos stated that it is important to make sure that there is enough public money to invest. Moreover, the use of privately-owned data should be improved. “Thirdly, we have to look at taxation, we have to adapt our system, as complicated as it may be” Mr. Cloos concluded.