Today, together with 40 civil society organizations, we released a Statement on Democratic Digital Infrastructure. In the statement, we call on the EU and Member States to support alternatives to commercial digital infrastructure and promote interoperable, transparent digital spaces that respect privacy, democratic governance, and net neutrality through a creation a European Public Digital Infrastructure Fund.
Today’s statement comes in response to the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade, adopted by the EU and its Member States at the end of 2022. This declaration recognizes the importance of broad “participation in the digital public space” and calls for “promoting interoperability, transparency, open technologies, and standards to further strengthen trust in technology and consumers’ ability to make autonomous and informed choices.”
The statement’s signatories call on the EU and Member States to deliver on this ambition by creating a European Public Digital Infrastructure Fund and, more generally, for a more ambitious agenda for investment in public digital infrastructure that can serve as an alternative to the centralized commercial platforms and services that dominate the landscape today. The statement sends a strong signal that after a period in which EU lawmakers have focused on regulation to minimize the excessive concentration of power in the digital economy, it is now time to invest in alternatives to emerge.
We are pleased to see that these goals — central to our ongoing work in support of a Digital Public Space — are supported by a broad spectrum of civil society. The list of signatories includes organizations with a strong focus on digital policy issues, such as EDRi, COMMUNIA, Creative Commons, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and Wikimedia Europe but also representatives of trade unions, such as the European Public Service Union and organizations working on the social and ecological transition, such as Commons Network.
As Europe gears up for next year’s European elections, we urge policymakers across the spectrum to include investment in public digital infrastructure and the digital commons in their election platforms. Investment in public digital infrastructure must become vital to the next European Commission’s strategy to ensure Europe’s digital sovereignty and a just digital transition.