DIGITALEUROPE discusses the future of Europe after the EU Elections 2019 at the Digital Open House
On 7 May, the DIGITALEUROPE family gathered at the Representation of Lower Saxony to the EU for yet another edition of DIGITALEUROPE Open House. This time, the theme was the upcoming European elections, and over some finger food and cocktails, we discussed the future of Europe after 26 May.
DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General, Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, opened the event and welcomed the speakers and the guests. In her speech, she emphasised the importance of to cast a vote in the European elections as it is a real opportunity for everyone to be shaping the future European landscape.
Cecilia also reiterated what is stated in DIGITALEUROPE’s Call for A Stronger Digital Europe by 2025: we are fully committed to positively contributing to the policy agenda in ways that will push for the future of Europe being truly digital. We will do this predominantly by attending and organising a number of events and high-level meetings. One of the most important ones will be Masters of Digital 2020 on 6 February next year (save the date!), where we will review the progress made up to date and define the next steps to achieve our goal.
The first guest speaker at the Digital Open House was Nicole Dewandre, advisor for interdisciplinary support to policy-making in the Joint Research Centre and a member of Belgian Greens (Ecolo). Nicole focused on the responsibility that businesses have in society. She called for organisations to not behave like optimisers, but to have a more human-based approach instead. Moreover, she expressed her wish for Europe to start focusing more on the ecology-related issues:
“After years working towards achieving peace and years working towards globalisation, it’s time for Europe to have an appointment with the environment”, she stated.
Our final speaker of the evening was Mr Enrico Forti, Director for Interinstitutional Relations at the European Commission’ Secretariat General. Mr Forti took the guests on a tour of the political scene set before the European elections and explained how certain disruptive elements would influence both the elections and the new European governance. He brought up two main points.
First, he mentioned the impact of Brexit. Funnily enough, the UK will be the first country to vote in the upcoming elections, and all elected MEPs will have a say in the final shape of the European Commission. The political reality will change, however, after the 31 October and that will undoubtedly cause some instability. The second issue influencing the upcoming elections will be the ever-increasing amount of mis- and disinformation that can change the campaign work and the outcome of the votes. It is – as he emphasised – a positive signal that many online platforms signed the Code of Practice against Disinformation and that recommendations on how to deal with elections-related cyber attacks and GDPR breaches have been passed on to the Member States.
When talking about the European elections, Enrico focused on one more critical issue: the voters’ turnout. He recognised that it’s difficult not only to increase it but also to maintain it. Therefore, he expressed the need for citizens to vote and called on gathered guests to actively and consciously choose their European future by casting their vote.
Once the more formal part of the event had ended, the guests had the time to mingle, network, and exchange views on the points made by the speakers.
We would like to thank everyone who joined us – it was a delightful evening, and we are looking forward to hosting you again soon!