Council of the EU takes further steps to ensure fundamental rights in the digital era

EU Council’s recent approval of digital empowerment conclusions marks a significant step toward ensuring that individuals have the skills and support needed to assert their rights and participate fully in the evolving digital landscape

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The Council of the EU concluded the discussion on digital empowerment in the digital age, which dealt with problems of safeguarding fundamental human rights in the digital arena.

Attention was drawn to the problem of digital literacy in the Union, as 46% of citizens lack sufficient knowledge of this kind and the various forms of hate crimes, hate speech, and cyber violence. The Council asked the Member states to combat disinformation to ensure that European citizens still have confidence in European institutions and media outlets by: promoting media and digital literacy, ensuring equal access to online public services, creating awareness about privacy protection, and allocating funding for tailored media and digital education and skills development for various groups of people.

To gear towards a safer digital environment in the future, the Council calls upon enforcing rules of the recent Digital Services Act and the application of the 2022 Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation and the Code of Conduct on countering hate speech online.

Why does it matter?

The European Union had actively developed policies to facilitate digital transformation since 2021, when the European Pillar for Social Rights Action Plan established an 80% digital skills target. In 2022, the Council approved a Path to Digital Decade initiative to enhance the EU’s digital leadership capacities, guaranteeing an inclusive and sustainable strategy-making approach. There are 10 Digital Decade target objectives in place that are to be reached by 2023, and the first report on the gaps in digitalisation plans was published on 29 September.