Parliamentary Watch: towards an inclusive Digital Single Market

On 6th May 2015, the Commission adopted a communication called “A Digital Strategy for Europe” which includes 16 initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2016. It aims at creating better opportunities for EU entrepreneurs and businesses to prosper and for the EU employment market to wholly recover from the aftermath of the economic crisis through enhanced use of digital technologies.

The Digital Single Market Strategy is structured in three parts: (1) Access: better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) Environment: creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) Economy & Society: maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.

The European Parliament recently adopted a report responding to the Commission’s 16 proposals, elaborating further on actions to be taken to complete the digital single market and the consequences the implementation of the digital single market will have on society and the economy as a whole.

What is there for older persons?

The Parliament report comprises a section entitled “An inclusive e-society”. It stresses the importance to ensure accessibility and participation for all citizens, including people with special needs, older people, minorities and other citizens belonging to vulnerable groups, in the frame of the Digital Single Market. It notably recognises that 35% of the EU population is at risk of exclusion from the Digital Single Market, in particular those aged over 50 and people with disabilities.

It calls on all e-government and e-administration services to be fully accessible and recalls the urgency to swiftly adopt the proposal for a directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites.

Moreover, the section deals with the need to use life-long learning opportunities to address the mismatch between supply and demand in the field of the digital economy. It notably calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote media literacy and internet literacy for all EU citizens, in particular vulnerable people, through initiatives and coordinated action and investment.

Read the full report here.

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