For a United Digital Europe

Resolution submitted by JEF Political Commission 2: Internal European Policy.
Adopted by the Federal Committee in London on 23 March 2019. Re-adopted by the Federal Committee in Luxembourg on 10 April 2022.

In recent years the development of digital and internet-based technologies has changed many aspects of our citizen’s lives. Data processing and digital tools have significantly changed human habits. With this resolution, JEF Europe aims at creating a federalist vision for a Digital Europe that fosters the opportunities offered by digitisation, while addressing some of the most pressing issues linked to our technological progress, like unequal access to digital resources and the transformation of the labor market.

JEF Europe,

  • Embracing technological progress and the digital transformation to serve our society, thus stressing the great potential of a truly European Digital Single Market;
  • Reaffirming digital rights and the need to strengthen their protection;
  • Welcoming the adoption of the Geoblocking Regulation (2018/302) which addresses unjustified online sales discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market;
  • Alarmed by the unsustainable disparities regarding broadband internet connections, especially in rural areas;
  • Recognising the equally untenable rate of digital illiteracy in Europe;
  • Observing changing work patterns induced by telemediated services that allow for increased relocation of work, crowd-working (sharing economy, human cloud, workforce on demand, digital labor, etc.) and self-employment which also necessitate workers’ rights to be updated so as to face the new challenges posed by the digital age;
  • Believing that public services should be broadly accessible and meet today’s needs by aiming at being digital, open and cross-border by design;
  • Acknowledging the different levels of national capability and the levels of private sector involvement and preparedness between Member States;
  • Being guided by the Federalist principle according to which a United Digital Europe can only be created when its diversity and subsidiarity are adequately safeguarded;
  • Acknowledging the achievements in the digital single market, such as strengthening citizens’ rights concerning private data in the digital age through the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the abolition of barriers in digital trade through the Directive on e-commerce and the European Union’s combined efforts in ending roaming charges;
  • Welcoming the European Chips Act, which aims to make Europe a major player in the semiconductor industry by 2030;
  • Recognizing the social and psychological impacts of digitalization, especially on young people;
  • Acknowledging the steady, influential growth of blockchain-based technologies, and their potential impacts on digital markets;
  • Concerned by the growing power of tech giants to influence standards and even legislation, without being subjected to democratic oversight;
  • Welcoming the proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) as first steps to rein in the excessive power of tech giants and ensure fair competition and real consumer choice;
  • Affirming that the inherently and increasingly homogeneous structures of our digital lives must not threaten the diversity from which Europe draws its whole strength.

JEF Europe, therefore,

On the completion of a digital single market:

  1. Encourages the EU and its Member States to increase funding as well as to create incentives for private investments for improved broadband infrastructure, helping all citizens, no matter their place of residence, to have access to high-speed broadband internet access at home, school and work;
  2. Calls upon the European Council and the European Parliament to push for ending unjustified territory-based discrimination, e.g. by enlarging the scope of the Geoblocking Regulation, to ensure that easy and legal access to digital content under fair conditions for consumers and creators alike all over Europe becomes one of the main pillars of a United Digital Europe;
  3. Requests further European harmonization of digital consumer protection that guarantees the free and equal choice of goods, services and digital content, platforms and traders, payment methods, delivery operators and internet access providers;
  4. Encourages the EU to explore the creation and implementation of a ‘Digital Euro’, which will give Europeans the option to purchase, transact, and acquire digital goods using the Euro;
  5. Encourages the EU to work towards a more sovereign digital Europe;
  6. Calls for updated competition guidelines and rules to increase European competitiveness and to allow new emerging companies to compete against established platforms;
  7. Calls upon companies using Internet platforms to maximize the geographical availability of their services throughout the territory of the Digital Single Market.

On e-governance:

  1. Asks the institutions of the EU and its Member States to seize the opportunities provided by e-governance to consistently increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their public administrations in order to create more open, secure and collaborative public services for all citizens;
  2. Urges public institutions to continue and generalize the digitization of all administrative and legal procedures, without depriving citizens of other means of access to this information and to these administrative and legal procedures;
  3. Calls for EU and Member State institutions to use modern e-governance tools to facilitate participation and involvement of citizens in decision-making processes even though these tools should not replace traditional participation methods;
  4. Welcomes efforts to enable e-voting for citizens prohibited from voting physically, on the condition that reliability of e-elections can be guaranteed by the highest possible standards;
  5. Calls for a profound reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative, so that this instrument of direct democracy is more accessible to European citizens and more binding for European institutions, in particular by simplifying the system for collecting signatures online;
  6. Calls for the protection and extension of citizen’s rights and safeguards in the digital sphere;
  7. Calls for Member States to actively share best practices on digitalization and, where possible, share digital systems with other member states in order to make the public sector more efficient, taking in particular into consideration that many new member states have a valuable input to contribute to older member states concerning the best practices for digitalization;
  8. Underlines the need to ensure that social media platforms take seriously their task of overseeing the content that is published by their users and ensuring their data is protected.

On digitizing the labour market:

  1. Urges digital literacy skills as well as privacy awareness to be included in both formal and non-formal education;
  2. Supports initiatives creating a sustainable framework for lifelong learning and continuous reskilling/upskilling of workforce as one of the answers to the challenges brought on by the digitization of the labour market;
  3. Advocates for actively supporting initiatives explicitly addressing the gender imbalances resulting from the impact of digitalization in the labour market transformation;
  4. Recommends the recognition of non-formal learning experience and soft skills essential for adaptation to the changing labour market;
  5. Encourages the EU as well as its Member States to support lifelong learning education and training on digital technologies at all career stages to adapt people’s skills for the digital transformation, extending financial support (e.g. EASI) through, for instance, subsidized/tax-incentivised on-the-job training;
  6. Calls upon EU Member States and EU institutions to carry European labour rights to the digital age whilst strengthening the right to privacy, by adapting welfare systems as well as health and safety regulations to different types of digital workers’ needs including on ergonomics as well as physical and psycho-social risks;
  7. Encourages the exploration of blockchain-facilitated digital data sovereignty solutions, as a potential means of empowering labourers and citizens with the ability to possess individual, sovereign control over their personal and private data;
  8. Advocates for a right to a flexible working environment and to telework where possible, be it online or offline, thereby empowering employees, such as those with disabilities or those temporarily focusing on their families;
  9. Encourages the European Commission to present legislation that implements the “right to disconnect” in companies, which protects a worker’s right not to have to engage in work-related electronic communications outside of working hours.