How can different types of inclusive and accessible digital services help reduce inequalities?
All speakers stressed that the Digital union is not only about jobs, goods and services but also about making the government more effective (e-government), getting services accessible for people with special needs such as elderly and disabled and making the European society more inclusive.
Housing Europe intervened in the seminar and pointed out that digital inclusion is necessary. For us its core value is to ensure that personalized technologies are available, for instance smart technologies, e-health apps, in homes of All and special attention is given to elderly and disabled people.
A real Digital Union should also ensure that Member States can make full use of the different funds for these purposes. The funds may come grants from Structural Funds but also other forms of support from Horizon 2020, from the European Plan for Strategic Investment and the Connected Europe Facility. Technologies will also help people to age in a healthy way and to be able to work longer, even by teleworking.
Several participants from different associations confirmed that the binding legislation at EU level is essential but the most important are the functional outcomes such as the existence of inclusive products on the ground for a wide range of end users.