Insights European Commission proposes Declaration on digital rights and principles for EU Institutions

The Commission has proposed that the European Parliament and Council sign up to a Declaration of rights and principles that will guide digital transformation in the EU.

The Commission says that the draft Declaration aims to give everyone a clear reference point about the kind of digital transformation Europe promotes and defends. It will also provide a guide for policy makers and companies when dealing with new technologies. The rights and freedoms enshrined in the EU’s legal framework, and the European values expressed by the principles, should be respected online as they are offline, the Commission says. Once jointly endorsed, the Declaration will also define the approach to digital transformation, which the EU will promote throughout the world.

The draft Declaration covers key rights and principles for the digital transformation, such as placing people and their rights at its centre, supporting solidarity and inclusion, ensuring freedom of choice online, fostering participation in the digital public space, increasing safety, security and empowerment of individuals, and promoting the sustainability of the EU’s digital future.

The Declaration is rooted in EU law, including the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental rights as well as the case law of the Court of Justice, and builds on the experience of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Promoting and implementing the principles set out in the Declaration will be a shared political commitment at both Union and Member State level. To ensure the Declaration has effect on the ground, the Commission proposed in September 2021 to monitor progress, evaluate gaps and provide recommendations for actions through an annual report on the “State of the Digital Decade”.

The European Parliament and the Council are invited to discuss the draft Declaration, and to endorse it by summer 2022. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for links to the Communication and the draft Declaration, click here.