1st Digital Agenda Assembly for Europe
The Digital Agenda for Europe is a broader initiative aimed at “boosting social and economic advantages by creating a digital single market based on much faster internet access and greater interoperability.” The relationship between final objectives and policies to be implemented during this process are summarized in what the European Commission calls “the virtuous circle of digital economy”.
Moving from these premises, the two-day event provided in-depth analysis about many issues related to the Digital Agenda implementation, from Open Data and Social Network to IPv6 deployment and Child Safety online. More than 1,000 people attended the 24 workshops and two plenary sessions scheduled at the Brussels Autoworld, with an on-going integration of online and offline participation that included questions both from the live audience (in a traditional “raise your hand” fashion) and via Twitter accounts set up for the various workshops and sessions.
Among many stimulating speeches, Neelie Kroes herself defined high-speed access to the Internet as a “fundamental right” and embraced a vision of digital technologies as being able to “shape in a significantly new way the world we live in”. As for project presentations, it is worth mentioning “Dialogue Cafè”, an effort to share perspectives, ideas and experiences from different countries worldwide through an enjoable videoconferencing system.
However, overall the event seemed strongly geared toward an economic context, an orientation that will hopefully become broader in future meetings. The major concern appears to be the creation of a marketplace for digital technologies, while overshadowing other crucial issues being studied by the EC and more directly affecting EU citizens, such as social innovation and user involvement.
(by Maurizio Teli)