The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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MEP Josianne Cutajar welcomes the overwhelming support for the Digital Decade programme

Thursday, 24 November 2022, 18:12 Last update: about 5 days ago

The European Parliament approved the provisional agreement on Establishing the 2030 Policy Programme "Path to the Digital Decade", that MEP Cutajar worked directly on as a negotiator on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats. In her address just before the awaited plenary vote, MEP Josianne Cutajar stated that the European Union is finally committing to digitalisation through tangible targets, a first important step which needs to be followed by other concrete actions.

In her plenary speech, Cutajar stated that the Digital Decade gives Member States enough flexibility to pursue digitalisation while taking into account their different starting points. "Yet, digitalisation is not the end in itself but a means to broader societal outcomes" emphasised MEP Cutajar.

Amongst the positive points of this programme, Cutajar highlighted the committment to achieving reliable, fast and secure connectivity throughout the EU, including in rural and remote areas, such as islands. She also referred to important 2030 targets that need to be achieved by the EU and its Member States. Indeed, amongst such targets, it is expected that by 2030 at least 80 % of those aged 16-74 will have basic digital skills, 75 % of Union enterprises shall have taken up cloud computing services, big data and artificial intelligence; and more than 90 % of Union SMEs will reach at least a basic level of digital intensity.

Another important social aspect which Josianne Cutajar pushed for during the negotiations, is the importance of keeping in mind the disadvantaged, including the elderly and those who cannot access the internet, whilst striving to achieve these targets. For this reason, apart from adequate skilling, offline accessibility of public services until the transition is complete should be guaranteed.

Whilst remarking that the new measures will encourage social inclusion, the democratisation of digital skills for our citizens and bridging the digital and gender gap, MEP Cutajar emphasised that the fight for a fair and inclusive digital transition should not stop until stronger digital rights are achieved, including the right to the internet as a fundamental right.

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