Policies to protect rights in the digital age
As part of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights an annual report is published each year focusing on a specific theme. In 2021 this theme looked at the challenges in protecting rights in the digital age outlining five key policy areas needing attention:
- Tackling the challenges of online moderation
- Safeguarding fundamental rights where artificial intelligence is used
- Addressing the digital divide
- Protecting people working through platforms
- Supervising digital surveillance
The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Pillar of Social Rights inform all of ETF’s policy advice and activities in our partner countries helping bridge the digital divide and protecting platform workers in particular.
Overcoming the digital divide
In Europe, more than 90% of professional roles require a basic level of digital knowledge, just as they require basic literacy and numeracy skills. The use of digital is spreading across all sectors from business to transport and even to farming. Yet, around 42% of Europeans lack basic digital skills, including 37% of those in the workforce. In ETF partner countries these figures vary to different degrees (also based on the data available) but all are compelled to adapt to the digital transition and, especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, given many services have moved online, assist people without the necessary skills or access.
There are different ways to approach this issue as exemplified in a recent ETF report but all share the guiding principle of enhancing solidarity amongst citizens and recognition of the need to improve digital skills for economic competitiveness and social inclusion.
Protecting platform workers
Although platform work has generated new economic opportunities for people, businesses and consumers, it has also created challenges for protecting the rights and obligations of individuals related to labour law and social protection, which was the focus of discussion at a recent ETF event. In December 2021, the European Commission adopted legislation protecting platform workers and at the same time supporting digital platform growth.
Policy monitoring and advice
The ETF monitoring of policy developments and reforms is an essential component in the formulation of policy advice to stakeholders within partner countries and for informing the programming of activities with countries and regions within the EU’s external relations.
We are working with policymakers and shapers in the EU's neighbouring regions supporting policy coherence to ensure that the digital world leaves no one excluded. We undertake policy monitoring such as the Torino Process and the recently launched Osnabruck Declaration monitoring, as well as targeted studies and surveys to support policy progress and reform in education, training and employment.