Labour MEPs: Europe’s Digital Single Market must be more inclusive and not leave people behind

Labour MEPs today warned Europe’s digital economy needs to be more inclusive, and ensure people aren’t left behind and don’t feel disconnected.

The European Parliament voted today for a report on the Digital Single Market (DSM), a response to the European Commission’s Communication on the DSM, which focused on business to customer online purchasing, transactions, and cross border parcel delivery.

The report calls on the Commission to press on with the completion of a Europe-wide Digital Single Market, with emphasis on the need for everyone to have the right to access the internet and use online services, and ensuring superfast broadband is accessible to everyone.

Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament internal market and consumer protection committee, said:

“The EU is trying to ensure superfast broadband is accessible to everyone, whilst the Tory government’s much trumpeted broadband rollout has redefined “superfast” broadband to mean something much slower than in the rest of the world.

“Labour MEPs tabled a number of amendments to address the gaps on social and employment issues, digital skills, public investment and universal access and coverage, and are pleased with the report, but more work needs to be done.

“The Digital Single Market is a great example of how British consumers benefit from membership of the EU – indeed only last month, the Commission unveiled proposals that will allow travellers to watch iPlayer, Netflix and other digital content while abroad.”

Clare Moody MEP, substitute member of the European Parliament industry, research and energy committee, added:

“Labour MEPs are working to protect the rights of workers in the new online economy, and calling for everyone to have the right to access the internet and use online services, be they young, old, disabled or isolated.

“We need to ensure the digital economy does not leave behind people in certain workplaces, and in rural or remote communities. All EU countries, including the UK, must invest more in superfast broadband, and roll it out quicker and wider.

“We must do this not just because it’s the right thing to do to, but because our future lies in being a knowledge economy. I’m pleased we’re taking steps at an EU level to deliver this, I hope the British government is taking note.”