09 Oct, 2020

ALDE Party President speaks at Digital Czech Congress

On 9 October, ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen gave an online keynote speech at the 5th edition of the Digital Czech Conference, organised by think tank Institute for Politics and Society and in cooperation with ALDE Party Foundation European Liberal Forum.

President van Baalen opened the second day of the Digital Conference with EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová and European Parliament and ALDE Party Vice-President Dita Charanzová MEP, both from ALDE member party ANO 2011.

President van Baalen opened his speech by underlining the importance of the digital transformation we are witnessing all around us. Digital acceleration and applications make it possible to connect with each other, which is crucial during the ongoing pandemic. “But we need to stay vigilant” he said. “We cannot rely on foreign suppliers for the European digital market. We need European solutions for the rollout of 5G networks, artificial intelligence and other digital applications.” This digital revolution will provide goods and services that will affect all of our lives. van Baalen sees this as an opportunity to become less dependent on other digital world players, like China and Russia. It is now that we must step up our game and use our internal market wisely to be the leader that we want to be in the 21st century

Before President van Baalen’s keynote, Vice-President Jourová took the floor, praising successful Czech businesses on the digital market. She stands for an ambitious European digital plan and mentioned the 20% allocation of the EU Recovery Budget to digitisation of European industries. Next to this, the European Union should continue to co-fund breakthrough projects to facilitate and enhance digital applications. In this way, we must combat disinformation with respect for freedom of speech and empower our democracies and safeguard elections on every level.

Following President van Baalen and Vice-President Jourová, Vice-President of the European Parliament and ALDE Party Dita Charanzová MEP took the floor. She sees the Internet as ‘safe space’ and as member of the parliamentary committee on internal market and consumer protection, she is convinced of the historical change in Parliamentary legislation currently taking place in this area. She called for a European digital autonomy without being cut off from the rest of the world, saying “The EU is highly interconnected with foreign (digital) markets and we should take into account how and whether we want to regulate digital companies”. She concluded that this crisis has created an important momentum and opportunity to improve our digital European sphere.

You can re-watch the Conference here in English.

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