Presidency Conclusions published at e-Inclusion Ministerial Conference

The e-Inclusion Ministerial Conference, held in Vienna from 30th November to 2nd December, marked the end of the Commission’s ‘e-Inclusion: be part if it’ campaign and saw the publication of the conclusions of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as the announcement of winners of the e-Inclusion awards. The event gathered more than a thousand experts from 30 European countries and hosted an exhibition with 90 stands showcasing the activities of stakeholders including BCS, OCG, CCS, and ECDL Foundation.

The Presidency Conclusions recalled the importance of ICT for both competiveness and societal cohesion and highlighted progress already made while underlining the increasing necessity for continued action for Europe’s social and economic development. As a means of investing in the future, the Conclusions stress that digital inclusion, in particular e-accessibility and digital literacy, should be at the heart of public policies at all levels and be supported by a strong political commitment.

Echoing the recommendations of the Digital Literacy High-Level Experts Group, set up to provide expertise and guidance on digital literacy policies and of which ECDL Foundation is a member, the Presidency Conclusions emphasise the need to support vulnerable groups, in particular older people, disabled people and those with low levels of education, in gaining the access and skills needed to participate in the information society.

Digital literacy was also highlighted as an essential element for education and lifelong learning and both public and private employers were called upon to step up employee ICT training with tax incentives suggested as a means of encouragement. Progress on website accessibility was acknowledged as insufficient leading to a call for authorities to ensure the application of European and international specifications and implement the recent European Commission Communication, 'Towards an Accessible Information Society'.

With almost half of the European population without regular Internet access or the skills to use it, the Presidency Conclusions underscored the need for further action and called for continued joint actions that will lead to the creation of new jobs and an increased quality of life for all. Linking the success of Europe to better digital inclusion, the Presidency concluded that ICT is an essential tool for the development of Europe’s human capital and for supporting vulnerable groups, in particular during these difficult economic times.

Click here for the Presidency Conclusions

Click here for the Recommendations from the Digital Literacy High-Level Expert Group

Click here for more information about the winners of the e-Inclusion Awards