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Single Market and EMU

Jobs and Growth through the Digital Economic Model

On Monday 14 September, members of the European Movement Political Committee on Jobs, Competitiveness, and Sustainable Growth met at the European Parliament to discuss both future plans for the PC, and to discuss the Digital Single Market Strategy with a member of the cabinet of the European Commission’s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen.

In the first part of the meeting members met Member of the European Parliament, Eva Paunova, and Petros Fassoulas, the European Movement International’s Vice President and Secretary General respectively. The committee discussed future plans, including developing stronger positions on key policy areas the network would like to have impact on, and conducting more regular meetings.

Aura Salla, Member of the Cabinet and Communications Advisor of VP Jyrki Katainen was invited as guest speaker to the second part of the meeting to help launch a more comprehensive discussion among committee members on the implications of the Digital Single Market.

Ms Salla highlighted that similar problems are being faced in many member states whereby well-meaning policies are often not efficiently communicated to citizens, who end up not finding out, for example, about the benefits of engaging with the digital economic model. In this area it is important to learn from the challenges faced by the previous Commission, and in this respect, there are many positive moves. The Juncker Investment plan promises to help unlock funding that could encourage a growth in digital engagement across member states and help to deliver on the Commission’s DSM Strategy. Moreover, the cross-partisan approach of the new Commission, which sees several Commissioners working together to advance common policies, is a positive move.

Eva Paunova pointed out that it is important to consider how to implement this legislation in member states. Networks, such as the European Movement, which is able to engage in a two-way dialogue with citizens through its member organisations, can be highly impactful here, as well as other outreach done at the local level by Commission offices and others. However, more generally, this also requires investment in key services such as ‘e-government’ and e-health’ that make it easy for people to readily consume the benefits of these digital investments.

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Participants agreed that the Commission’s VP responsible for the DSM, Andrus Ansip’s message has not percolated down to the level of the general citizen. However, in response to a question posed by Ms Salla, it was noted that there is always a major discussion to be had between data protection on the one hand, and the potential for business on the other. Yet, Europe-wide, how do we achieve a structured dialogue, when current messages are received so differently across member states? Besides the impact of separate and distinct national cultures, such that a German national may be more concerned with privacy, and a French national more concerned with security, we also need to consider cultural content, which is cross border and not so well regulated.

Eva Paunova supported Ms Salla’s position that social media is an important tool for reaching people. However, for all the political will we can talk about, such policy can only be judged a success if it means that European citizens are able to better plan and gain from digital engagement as a direct result of these policies.

Take a look at photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Find out more about the work of our Political committee on Jobs, Competitiveness and Sustainable Growth here.


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