The contribution of young people is fundamental to consolidate European democracy and to meet the ecological, digital and social transitions while recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. This is why COMECE is proposing a “Catholic Youth Convention on the Future of Europe: Our Dream of Europe” to involve young people in the discussions and to design a future for the EU that matches their dreams, while answering to Pope Francis’ message for Europe.
During three online webinars on Thursday 3, 10 and 17 June 2021, the Catholic Youth Convention will bring together over 100 young people (18-35 year old). Together, they will reflect on some of the main challenges they experience today and formulate concrete proposals for the future of Europe.
Event reporti) General considerations Many participants brought up the need to regulate and promote production across Europe in a way that avoids overproduction and supports research into green technologies. Indeed, some of them considered that digital policies should be launched as a tool to reinforce European democratic processes and make governance participative and transparent. Furthermore, young people agreed that the EU must provide European citizens with a better understanding of digital dangers and emphasize on the responsibility of parents to prevent children to access harmful digital content. On top of that, some of them suggested the creation of a compulsory national day in each EU Member State during which young citizens could learn key digital literacy principles and be awarded with digital-literacy certificate. They believe that this measure could intensify awareness-raising, and help addressing digital online abuses. ii) Recommendations a) Encourage local consumption and production, by fostering awareness-raising campaigns on sustainable consumption practices, so that a change of economic systems towards sustainability is culturally accepted. b) Create an EU certificate issued by an independent body that proves the credibility of an e-commerce company selling online. This certificate should be attributed by an independent agency. c) Promote a unified digital tax-based system for gatekeepers worldwide and prevent companies to misuse people’ data to make more money. Clearer privacy settings should be applied and strictly monitored in the EU. The EU could support a European server architecture that embodies common digital values and compete with gatekeepers, allowing smaller actors to enter the market more easily. d) Provide a basic, affordable and quality internet access kit to make digital resources available to all, including to all, including the elderly who may experience digital anxiety, people living below the poverty threshold or suffering from in-work poverty, those without formal identity, persons with disabilities. e) Launch an “Annual EU Digital Framework Conference” bringing together public and private stakeholders to showcase in very concrete terms how complex legal and desirable ethical concepts can be practically taken into account in the creation and implementation of digital services.
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