The draft joint declaration aims to lay down a guideline for a
people-centric, safe, inclusive, and open digital environment, where no one is
left behind. This is to ensure that the values of the European Union and the
personal rights and freedoms of individuals, as recognised in Union law, are
respected and enforced not only offline but also online.
Central rights and principles for the digital transformation
The draft declaration addresses the key
rights and principles for the digital transformation in six chapters:
at the centre of digital transformation
According to this, digitisation should
serve all Europeans and safeguard the values of the European Union as well as
the personal rights of individuals. It also aims to actively realize this
vision of digital transformation in international relations.
Everyone should have access to technology.
The digital transformation should help to unite the people of Europe rather
than divide them.
This includes dealing with artificial
intelligence algorithms and systems. The rule is that individuals' decisions
must not be predetermined by digital technology. Transparency and information
obligations are specified for this purpose.
in the public digital sphere
Accordingly, digital technology should
promote democratic participation. Basic human rights and, in particular,
freedom of speech and information must also be upheld in the online
security and empowerment
The right to the protection of personal
data in the online environment applies to each person. In particular, the
protection of children and young people in the online world must be ensured. It
also aims to empower them to make safe and informed decisions in the online
The negative environmental and social
impacts of digital products and services should be minimised.
The central rights and principles are to become the global standard
The European Commission's Notice 'A European Declaration on Digital
Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade' explains the purpose and
mission of the draft declaration. Thus, the promotion and implementation of the
principles outlined are to be understood as a joint political commitment and
responsibility of the European Union and its Member States within their
respective competences. The express aim is to create a global standard for
rights and principles in digitisation with a joint declaration.
Given the political nature of the
declaration, not all of its principles correspond to directly enforceable
rights. Some have already been anchored in legislation, while others may
require further action at the appropriate level. It is emphasised that the
draft is to be basically understood in the context of the legal acts and
instruments of the EU and leaves them untouched.
Annual monitoring to ensure implementation of core rights and principles
To ensure that the declaration has a
concrete impact on the ground, the European Commission proposes to monitor
progress, assess gaps, and make recommendations for action as part of an annual
report on the state of the Digital Decade.
The European Commission's proposal for a
European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade is
being discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The European
Commission is aiming for approval by the summer of 2022.