The European Commission has prepared draft directives on digital markets (DMA) and digital services (DSA). The European Parliament is seeking to refine the proposed rules. The Council of Ministers will clarify the need for regulation from the member states’ perspective in the coming months.
While the idea of a necessary regulation is hardly controversial, its aims remain open to discussion: will it form a tight corset in which companies can only move in the specified way – or will it merely be a safeguard that only slightly corrects the existing development. Will Google have the freedom to tailor advertising to the user who visits its search engine; will Facebook be able to merge its data with that of WhatsApp; will Amazon be able to take over the products with the best results on its third-party marketplace; will Apple be able to continue to ban third-party app shops on its mobile phones.
Another question to be answered is whether the regulation should only affect the very large US platforms or also many other European portals. European governments may prefer to protect European companies by limiting regulation to a limited set of platforms.
Both the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have noted that artificial intelligence (AI) is crucial to the future of humanity and have expressed concern about the poorly understood impact of the increasing use of AI on humans and the functioning of our societies.
The generalisation of AI-based technologies requires us to question the positive and/or negative impact of the way algorithms are constructed and the impact of AI use on the functioning of institutions, on democratic processes and on people’s social and political behaviour.
The use of AI by some governments or large private internet actors can weaken the rule of law and democracy by calling into question the existence of checks and balances and the independence of the judiciary. AI can increase the spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories and racist, anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic hate speech and discrimination, especially through social networks.
In this context, non-governmental organisations that are members of the Council of Europe’s Conference of INGOs and represent organised civil society are participating in the reflection that is taking place both in the European Union and in the Council of Europe. EUNET, which actively participates in the Committee on Human Rights and Artificial Intelligence, will host a webinar on the state of the art in artificial intelligence and human rights protection on 21 September 2021.
In 2020-2021, the federal activities of the European Network for Education and Training have been severely affected by the consequences of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. EUNET lived under lock and key from 17 March to 11 May and from 30 October to 15 December 2020, in accordance with government instructions.
EUNET switched to full teleworking mode for all federal civil servants from 17 March to 15 December 2020. Missions by affiliates’ staff to federal activities were cancelled during the lockdown periods. Volunteer assignments continued to be completed via telework. During the periods of strict no-implementation, relations with affiliates and partners were maintained by members of the board.
The spring border closures, extreme restrictions on movement, freedom of assembly, etc. forced EUNET to cancel all personal activities for the benefit of its members as well as all formal statutory meetings, in accordance with the legal exemptions in force in Germany (where the network is based).
The network’s member organisations were also deterred by the barrier measures and the second wave of contagion. However, EUNET’s activity is primarily a group dynamic that is incompatible with physical distancing and pandemic barrier measures.
Together with the Centre européen Robert Schuman, EUNET co-organised the meeting of the Europe Houses at European level in Metz and was present at the only two events for the general public that were not cancelled: the European Children’s and Young People’s Book Fair in Saarbrücken (Germany) and the International Fair in Metz (France).
In 2021, the network’s activities are still very much affected by the health crisis. Since the beginning of 2021, travelling between the different member countries of the European Union is difficult or even impossible. For this reason, all face-to-face activities are still suspended.
Nevertheless, our General Assembly is scheduled for December 12th 2021, in the firm hope that the pandemic will be under control by then.
I look forward to seeing you again on December 12th at the latest.
Yours sincerely, Richard Stock, president of EUNET
To give civil society the same possibilities of action within the European Union as those enjoyed by companies.
Since 2004, private companies have been able to adopt the European Company Statute, which was born out of EU law. A European Company (SE) is a company that is authorised to operate in each country of the European Union in a legal form that is accepted by all states.
The establishment of a European civil public space urgently requires the possibility of setting up European Non-Governmental Organisations (ENGOs). Too many legal obstacles still prevent the constitution of a European organised civil society. European associative networks operating in several Member States or throughout the European Union need a European statute that allows them to carry out their activities in a legal form accepted by all States.
Education for Democracy in Schools: Applying the Reference Framework ofCompetences for Democratic Culture:
Online Conference of Senior Officials and Experts organised in the framework of the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers 15-16 April 2021
Opening conference Democracy in schools: from theory to practice
Richard Stock, Chairman of EUNET – European Network for Education and Training Rolf Gollob, Professor at the Zürich University of Teacher Education & Council of Europe EPAN expert for Switzerland Moderator: Martyn Barrett, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Surrey, U.K. & EPAN Lead Expert
Abstract: What school can do for democracy:values, knowledge and best practices
Implementation of the “competences for a culture of democracy” framework
Cycle of in-service training courses for teachers in the Greater Region of the Robert Schuman European Centre (CERS) and EUNET – European Network for Education and Training in Metz – Scy-Chazelles (France). A cross – border program the Greater Region (Saar-Lor-Lux – Wallonia – Rhineland-Palatinate): 2 languages (German & French), 4 countries (Germany, Belgium, France & Luxembourg) and 6 education systems.
Overcome the reluctance on questions of democracy
The relationship between democracy and duties of the citizen is crucial
Why implementing the FRAMEWORK competences for a culture of democracy?
That’s why they have to be able to…
The general objectives of the implementation of the framework competences for a culture of democracy’
The specific objectives of teachers’ training
1.- Pro & Contra
2.- Contradictions & Dilemmas
3.- Diversity & Pluralism
4.- Minorities & majorities
5.- The school: A place of education for a democratic culture
Simulations & role plays: Nature & Power
Don’t forget to develop intercultural skills for an inclusive society
European Network for Education and Training – EUNET e.V.
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