European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles Signed
8 February 2023
Pingen Kopie Dr. Anna Pingen

On 15 December 2022, the Presidents of the Council of the EU, the European Parliament, and the Commission signed the European declaration on digital rights and principles for the digital decade. The goal is to ensure that the European Union (EU) reaches its objectives for a digital transformation in line with its values and with the Commission’s communication "Digital compass 2030: a European way forward for the digital decade" from 9 March 2021. The latter presented the vision for a digitally transformed Europe by 2030 according to European values (→ eucrim 1/2021, 8-9). The European declaration on digital rights and principles for the digital decade follows up to this communication of 9 March 2021 and was proposed by the Commission on 26 January 2022 (→ eucrim 1/2022, 10-11).

It includes, inter alia, references to digital sovereignty in an open manner, respect for fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, inclusion, accessibility, equality, sustainability, resilience, security, improving the quality of life, the availability of services, and respect for everyone’s rights and aspirations.

The aims of this declaration are:

  • To put people at the centre of digital transformation. Technology should serve and benefit all people living in the EU;
  • To use technology to unite people. Digital transformation should contribute to a fair and inclusive society and economy in the EU. This can be achieved through affordable and high-speed digital connectivity, education, training and lifelong learning of digital skills, fair and just working conditions in the digital environment, and access by everyone to key public services in the EU;
  • To reaffirm the freedom of choice in interactions with algorithms and artificial intelligence systems and in a fair digital environment.
  • To foster participation in the digital public space;
  • To ensure that everyone has access to digital technologies and products;
  • To ensure the right to privacy and to the protection of personal data;
  • To achieve sustainability in order to avoid significant harm to the environment and to promote a circular economy.

Petr Fiala, the Czech Prime Minister, stated at the signing ceremony: “Today, we commit to an inclusive, fair, safe and sustainable digital transformation that puts people in the centre. Preserving the core EU values online is as important as in the real world. The declaration will serve as a reference point for policy makers, businesses and other relevant actors when developing and deploying new technologies.”

The declaration will guide the EU's policy for the digital transformation, including the work on the Digital Decade Policy Programme and the EU's actions at the global level. The Commission will monitor progress on the implementation of the objectives of the declaration and provide recommendations through an annual "State of the Digital Decade" report.