Euranet Plus, the leading radio network for EU news, hosted a Citizens’ Corner debate on the digital rights of EU citizens at the European Parliament in Brussels on January 20. The debate was jointly produced by Euranet Plus and Latvijas Radio, a member of the Euranet Plus network.

The bilingual debate was moderated by journalist Artjoms Konohovs of Latvijas Radio (in Latvian) and Brian Maguire of the Euranet Plus News Agency in Brussels (in English). The  debate also featured students of the Euranet Plus campus radio network from Poland (Radio Kampus, Warsaw) and Finland (Radio Moreeni, Tampere).

The debate was broadcast live at the top of this web page and can be viewed on-demand in two parts on YouTube, one for each language on our YouTube channel.


Part 1 | Latvian | 12:30 – 13:15 CET | moderator Artjoms Konohovs  | guests:

Part 2 | English | 13:15 – 14:00 CET | moderator Brian Maguire | guests:

  • Catherine Stihler, MEP, United Kingdom, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, www@C_Stihler_MEP
  • Victor Negrescu, MEP, Romania, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, @negrescuvictor
  • Sabine Verheyen, MEP, Germany, Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) in the European Parliament, www@sabineverheyen
  • Mina Andreeva, Deputy Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission, in charge of Digital Single Market, @Mina_Andreeva
  • Joe McNamee, Executive Director EDRi (European Digital Rights), @edri_org
  • High-resolution press photos of this part of the debate on Flickr (with Creative Commons licence)
  • Complete video recording of this part of the debate on YouTube

Ahead of the debate, we posted regular audios and features on our social media channels to bring the topic closer to our guests, fans and listeners. During the debate our fans were invited to post their questions for our guests and moderators.


Interviews after debate on EU citizens’ digital rights live in Brussels
Only strengthened consumer rights will lead to thriving digital single market

Mina Andreeva, Deputy Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission in charge of Digital Single Market, gave a short interview to Hanna Hantula, from Radio Moreeni, Tampere, Finland, part of the Euranet Plus University Circle.

“Only if you strengthen consumer rights and only if you enable companies to do business in Europe, everywhere, in all member states, under basis of one law, than you will have a thriving digital single market that works for everyone. (…) The cost of not having one regulation but to have 28 national rules is estimated at 2.3 billion per year for companies.”

How will TTIP agreement affect digital privacy in Europe?

Joe McNamee, Executive Director EDRi (European Digital Rights) talked to Hanna Hantula (from Radio Moreeni, Tampere, Finland, part of the Euranet Plus University Circle) about how the TTIP agreement will affect digital privacy in Europe.

“TTIP both covers and doesn’t cover privacy questions. So, on direct data protection questions, the Commission have been quite clear, that it will be not be covered by the agreement. However, they are addressing things like encryption, how your e-mails are protected, how your online communications are protected. So, if there is a measure on encryption, they it will have significant impact for privacy.”

Implementing fundamental rights into the digital world

On the margins of the Citizens’ Corner debate on the digital rights of EU citizens, Sabine Verheyen, MEP (Germany, European People’s Party, EPP) gave a short, exclusive interview to Radio Romania International and Euranet Plus.

“Talking just about the digital rights is not the right way. It is the question of implementing fundamental rights to the digital world. And having access is one part of the freedom of information. And I think it is important that we take a look of which rights do we have in the analogue world and how to translate and to implement them into the digital area.”

Latvia’s priorities for EU presidency: Competitive Europe, Digital Europe, Engaged Europe

Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary Secretary at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke exclusively to Zaneta Czyżniewska (Kampus Radio Warsaw, part of the Euranet Plus University Circle) about the priorities of the Latvian Presidency of the EU.

“Latvia has three priorities for this Presidency. So, it is Competitive Europe, issues connected with the economics, growth in economy and more jobs. The second priority is the Digital Europe and everything connected with, like the digital market, data protection and the communication market (…). The third priority is the Engaged Europe, with questions concerning foreign policy, security policy, trade issues, for example, like the TTIP, the transatlantic partnership with the United States and also, of course, issues in our attention like Ukraine and other crisis in the world.”

‘Without digital single market, Europe will be not competitive in the future’

Krišjānis Kariņš, MEP (Latvia, European People’s Party, EPP) talked to Radio Romania Internationals’ Florin Orban for Euranet Plus.

“In Europe we have a very fragmented market, and that is hurting our competitiveness worldwide. In the digital world, we are up against giants like the US. Face to the other large markets, we have a fragmented 28 member states market. We have difficulties with a number of regulations which are unclear. We need to put ourselves together because this is the future, and if we do not create that single market for the digital world, we will simply not be competitive in the future.”

Access to Internet a human right

Robert Zile, MEP (Latvia, European Conservatives and Reformists Group)  talked to Radio Romania Internationals’ Florin Orban about human rights in the digital world.

“In my country as in the other European Union countries citizens know their digital rights, but they would like to get them really, as human rights. And that because if you don’t have access to the Internet you are somehow a handicapped person in modern world and that means you cannot compete with others who have access in quality of life, in job opportunities, learning opportunities… Whatever you do in your life, Internet is obviously a human right to get to be successful”.


Latvian part press photos: Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights

Latvian part press photos: Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights (with Creative Commons licence)

English part press photos: Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights

English part press photos: Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights (with Creative Commons licence)

Citizens’ Corner debate on digital rights: EU citizens as online consumers

One of the targets of the European Commission is to increase consumer awareness on digital rights. That’s why, in December 2012, the EU launched its Code of EU Online Rights. The code is part of the digital agenda for Europe and describes the basic consumer rights in EU legislation related to the digital environment.

The main idea is that the EU citizens, viewed as consumers, have different rights when they use online services or buy goods online. They have also rights in case of conflict with their providers.

According to the European Commission and the 2010 EU Citizenship Report, “digital rights” mean the human rights that allow individuals to access, use, create and publish digital media or to access and use computers, other electronic devices, or communications networks.

Digital rights are related to the protection and practise of existing rights ( i.e. the right to privacy, freedom of expression and information, protection of personal data and privacy, requirements for transparency and universal telephone and functional Internet plus a minimum quality of service), in the context of new digital technologies. Internet access is even recognised by law as a right in more than several countries.

On the other hand, data protection tops the agenda of the new Juncker Commission. A legislative package to improve the protection of private data for EU citizens has been anticipated since 2011. The EU hopes that the legislative package, which has the support of the European Parliament, will be adopted this year. The package would be composed of a general regulation on data protection and a directive that will be written into law in all the member states.

Recently, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, defined the EU’s 10 priorities for 2015. Among them was a connected digital single market.

In the light of citizens’ concerns, the Citizens’ Corner debate will try to find answers to questions such as:

  • Has the Code of EU Online Rights succeeded in raising awareness and understanding about key digital rights of the EU citizens?
    • The code doesn’t create new rights, but the rights and principles are enforceable under national legislation in the individual EU member states. Have the 28 EU states done all that is necessary in this respect? As the code does not create new rights, what are its strong points for EU citizens?
    • Are EU citizens are informed enough about the code and Europe’s digital agenda?
  • What are the short-term chances of a legislative package being adopted to improve the protection of EU citizens’ private data?
  • Cyber criminals, personal data protection, e-payments fraud, biometric security, transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations, selection, use and storage of large quantities of data, building digital trust – how can we go from concepts and scary terms to real implementation?
  • In “A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change. Political Guidelines for the next European Commission,” Juncker wrote that “by fostering a digital single market, we can create up to 250 billion euros in additional growth, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and a vibrant knowledge-based society.” Among his objectives are the rapid conclusion to negotiations on common EU data protection rules, the modification of copyright rules to reflect new technologies and the simplification of consumer rules for online purchases. How feasible are these ideas and objectives?
Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights

Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights on January 20, 2015

Citizens’ Corner debates: Understanding Europe better

With the aim of getting as close as possible to the concerns of EU citizens and inspired by the “The 2010 EU Citizenship Report,” the “25 Key Actions to Improve Citizens’ Lives,” “The EU Citizenship Report 2013” and the 12 new actions in six key areas put forward by the European Commission to further remove obstacles standing in the way of citizens’ enjoyment of their EU rights, Euranet Plus organizes monthly debates under the heading of Citizens’ Corner. The aim is to provide information on the rights enjoyed by EU citizens, and also to reveal gaps which may remain between the applicable rules and regulations and the reality of citizens’ daily lives, particularly in cross-border situations. The debates provide the opportunity for open dialogue, contributing to new insights between all those involved.

The leading radio network for EU news: Euranet Plus network

The most powerful radio network in Europe, Euranet Plus is a pan-European network of 15 leading radio stations – public and private – across the European Union. Euranet Plus reaches over 20 million listeners daily with its EU related content.

From Brussels to Europe: Euranet Plus News Agency

The Euranet Plus network operates its own news agency in Brussels, providing network members with high-quality, up-to-date information from the heart of the European Union. Pooling EU related information and media content, the Euranet Plus News Agency (EPNA) offers insightful content from Brussels and Strasbourg as well as from its radio members all over Europe. The network enriches the editorial coverage of EU affairs with truly transnational viewpoints, going well beyond national borders. Euranet Plus operates with full editorial independence.

Citizens’ Corner debate on EU citizens and their digital rights on January 20, 2015

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