The Internet brings the world into people's living rooms, offices and schools. The global world comes to us through websites offering big lists of movies, as well as online office and teaching tools that allow people from around the world to work on the same project.
When everything functions well, we may not realise the amount of work that goes on behind our smartphones or computer screens. However, whenever we cannot access content online or, by contrast, our children are able to access content that is not appropriate for their age, we may notice that hidden below the surface there is a whole machine working to make the Internet safe for people and businesses. And, that this machine is working not only in Europe, but also around the world.
Europe has a lot to offer in building better societies and economies around the globe. The European Union already works with international partners in areas including trade, security and the rule of law, and digital should be no different. The Internet should be free and secure, there should be no trade barriers online, and terrorist content should have no place on it.
The EU's aim for the Digital Decade is to make the digital world work to the benefit of all. The EU's work on digital policies focuses on several geographical areas, such as the EU neighbourhood, developing countries in Africa and the Mediterranean and developed countries such as the US and Japan. It is leading the way in policy areas including digital trade, data sharing, and pushing global companies to behave responsibly online.
Some examples of the EU’s digital work around the world include:
- supporting an internet governance forum to keep the internet free, open and secure
- partnering with the Western Balkans for lower roaming charges
- improving connectivity with other continents, for example through a new digital data highway linking Europe and Latin America, as well as a new Connectivity Partnership with India
- co-chairing the Trade and Technology Council with the US
- introducing the EU4Digital programme
- countering the use of the Internet for terrorist content, repression or social control
- creating a global network of digital experts in EU delegations to other countries
- hosting annual ICT and digital dialogues with global partners