European Parliament should create a Committee on Digital Affairs

Dutch Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) today calls for the creation of a European Parliament Committee devoted entirely to Digital Affairs and Technology. Schaake: “New technologies and the internet have an increasing impact on our societies, but the European Parliament has not yet woken up this fact. Digital issues are sometimes dealt with in one committee, sometimes in another. This fragmentation is part of the reason why we are not ahead of the curve.”

Digital Agenda
In order to manage the many dossiers in the European Parliament, they are divided up between 20 committees. Each of these committees is responsible for a specific subject, such as international trade, environment, the internal market or the budget. “The Parliament is still not tech-savvy enough to deal with developments in ICT and online,” says Schaake. “Creating one committee responsible for all digital themes, from net neutrality tot online copyright and from cyber security to internet governance, should allow for a better allocation of knowledge and resources. With more focus comes more impact.”

Innovation, not agriculture
There are currently three different committees responsible for agriculture, fisheries and food, while digital issues are a secondary responsibility of the committee responsible for industry and research.  Other digital themes are addressed in the committees for international trade or for the internal market. Schaake: “The division of powers between committees reflects the past, just like the EU budget with its billions in agricultural subsidies does. Our ambition to make Europe a competitive and innovative continent should be reflected in the European Parliament’s priorities. We have to commit ourselves to become global leaders in ICT and tech.”