Digitalisation and the future of Europe – DIGITAL project in the spotlight

lip 22, 2021

Digital & innovation

Not only migration. The whole General Assembly week was marked by several discussions concerning the issue of digitalisation, digital transformation, and the impact of new technologies in the lives of citizens and in democratic processes.

Such topics were mainly discussed through the project DIGITAL – Supporting democratic union and active citizenship in digital era during the two events which took place on Tuesday 22 and Thursday 23 June.

Both happening online, the Opening session and the first webinar of the 4th international event titled “The Future is Digital”, were deeply linked to the Conference on the Future of Europe with insights aimed at analysing how the digital revolution we are living will, eventually, affect democracy.

After an introduction by Lisy Piter, ALDA and DIGITAL project manager, panelists – Virgilio Dastoli, President of the European Movement Italy, Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General and Gilles Pelayo, Head of Units, Europe for citizens programme – EACEA – focused on the challenges addressed by digitalisation to the European Union and its functioning, on one side and the strengths such a transformation is bringing in terms of services’ improvement in the everyday life of European citizens, on the other.

The speakers from the second webinar – Rait Pihelgas, Member of the European Committee of the Regions; Ruth-Marie Henckes, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator – European Partnership for Democracy; David Frautschy Heredia, Director for European Government and Regulatory Affairs – Internet Society; Sofia Caiolo, Project Management Coordinator of ALDA-focused on the future and the impact of the current digital revolution on the citizens, civil societies organization and the European Union (see the Agenda)

The whole General Assembly week was marked by several discussions concerning the issue of digitalisation, digital transformation, and the impact of new technologies in the lives of citizens and in democratic processes

On  Thursday 23 June, the participants were invited to an overview on 3 topics linked to the digital revolution: Youth, Local authorities and Food.

The second day was divided into three webinars. The first one, “A youth digital future” – with  Francesca Passudetti, Head of the Italian Y20 delegation and delegate of Young Ambassadors Society; Thomas Trevisan, Membership Officer – Young Professionals in Foreign Policy Brussels; and Janis Fifka, International board member of European Youth Parliament – opened dialogue among civil society organisations working with young people, to understand their vision on a digital future where youth would represent the prevalent stakeholder.

Consequently during the second webinar of the day, the talk shifted to a more practical and broader level, addressing citizens as a whole, to investigate how local authorities are exploiting new technologies to improve the lives of citizens in terms of services’ accessibility. Jonathan Wofsy, Maire de Chevry-cossigny (France) and Pascal Goergen, Alderman for Citizen Participation, Civil Status, Population, Digital Transition, Digitalisation, International Relations and Partnerships of the municipality of Grez- Doiceau (Belgium) were presented in the discussion to share with us their experiences (see the Agenda)

Digital food: a more sustainable food on our plates? Was the topic of the last part, to investigate how new technologies can support the establishment of a more sustainable pattern, limiting or cancelling the negative footprint our production and consumption models have on the environment. Helping us in understanding the issue there were Isabelle Albert, Autor of  “Tech it green. Transformation numérique et transition écologique : construire la double révolution du 21e siècle”, COO of Satgana,  Doris Marquardt, Programme officer from the European Commission in Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development – Unit B2 – Research and Innovation, Isabelle Piot-Lepetit, Economist at INRAE (l’Institut national de la recherche agronomique) and Deputy Director of the InstitutConvergences Agriculture Numérique, and Sébastien Weykmans, Managing Director of WalDigiFarm.