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Berlin Declaration on Digital Society and Value-based Digital Government

The Berlin Declaration on Digital Society and Value-based Digital Government has been signed on 8 December by the responsible ministers of all EU Member States.

The Declaration follows up on the success of the Tallinn Declaration on eGovernment, which endorsed the key principles for digital public services put forward in the eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020. The Berlin Declaration takes the user-centricity principles formulated in the Tallinn Declaration a step further by strengthening the pioneering role of public administrations in driving a value-based digital transformation of our European societies.

The Berlin Declaration re-affirms European leaders’ strong commitment to fundamental rights and European values and emphasises the importance of digital public services.

The Declaration acknowledges the public sector as an essential element for the European Single Market and a driving force for new and innovative technological solutions for public services and societal challenges. It emphasises that public authorities at all levels must lead by example to strengthen the tenets of the European Union.

To do so it sets out 7 key principles with related policy action lines and national and EU level:

  1. Validity and respect of fundamental rights and democratic values in the digital sphere;
  2. Social participation and digital inclusion to shape the digital world;
  3. Empowerment and digital literacy, allowing all citizens to participate in the digital sphere;
  4. Trust and security in digital government interactions, allowing everyone to navigate the digital world safely, authenticate and be digitally recognised within the EU conveniently;
  5. Digital sovereignty and interoperability, as a key in ensuring the ability of citizens and public administrations to make decisions and act self-determined in the digital world;
  6. Human-centred systems and innovative technologies in the public sector, strengthening its pioneering role in the research on secure and trustworthy technology design;
  7. A resilient and sustainable digital society, preserving our natural foundations of life in line with the Green Deal and using digital technologies to enhance the sustainability of our health systems.

Digital public services are a core element of the European Union’s plan for Europe’s Digital Decade and a key component of Europe’s Roadmap to Recovery. 

The European Commission, therefore, welcomes the objectives put forward by Member States in the Berlin Declaration and will support these with policy initiatives at the European level, e.g. with the forthcoming Digital Compass and a renewed EU digital government strategy.  

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