ePractice News: Parliament votes for closing digital divide
On 6 October 2008, the Hungarian Parliament unanimously voted two resolutions aimed at solving the eInclusion issue in the country. Deputies called for the establishment of an ‘e-Inclusion Temporary Parliamentary Committee’ and formulated recommendations for closing the digital divide.
The Hungarian Parliament has been the first Parliament of an EU Member State to adopt an eInclusion declaration to reduce the digital divide, spreading digital literacy and promoting equal opportunities for all in the Information Society.
The key elements of the two Parliamentary declarations are summed up as follows:
- The year 2008 must be dedicated to eInclusion in Hungary;
- By 1 November 2008, the establishment of an ‘e-Inclusion Temporary Parliamentary Committee’ is needed to support and coordinate the actions of the eInclusion movement. This Committee should deliver the i2010 comprehensive strategy for deploying all EU policy instruments to encourage the development of the digital economy;
- Rising the living standards through equal digital opportunities is a priority of common interest;
- Halving the digital gap is not only the EU’s undertaking. It has to be a national aim as the digital gap in Hungary is higher than the EU average;
- It is necessary to integrate the eInclusion issue within the New Hungary Development Plan;
- A distinction must be drawn between the tasks to be implemented by the Government on the one hand, and those to be carried out by NGOs and enterprises on the other hand. In this light, it is necessary to define the scope of the governmental support to the activities of NGOs.
The new ‘e-Inclusion Temporary Parliamentary Committee’ has now been established. It will hold its first meeting by mid-October 2008 and its mandate will expire in May 2010.
This political move originally stems from the eInclusion initiative launched in November 2007 by Inforum, the Forum of Hungarian IT Organisations. Inforum had drawn the Parliament’s Informatics Subcommittee’s attention to the Riga Ministerial Declaration of 2006 that urges to have the digital divide in the EU countries halved by 2010.
In Inforum’s view, more had to be done by the Hungarian Government for closing the digital divide. All Parliamentary parties agreed with Inforum’s initiative. In January 2008, a Parliamentary committee made of five parties held a meeting on the occasion of which they acknowledged that rising living standards through equal digital opportunities is of common interest.