“The digital transition is not only a catalyst for recovery, but it is also a cornerstone of the European Pillar of Social Rights”, the Portuguese Minister for Modernisation of the State and Public Administration said at the opening of the “Accessible Europe: ICTs 4 All” conference.
Alexandra Leitão argued that “the digital transformation must be fair and inclusive and used in the service of the citizens”, adding that the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union wants “to foster cooperation in order to make public administration more transparent, open, participatory, innovative and responsive”.
The conference, which will continue until 25 March under the scope of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU and is co-organised by the Portuguese Republic, the European Commission and the International Telecommunication Union (specialised United Nations agency), focuses on the importance of joining forces to remove obstacles and permit human development and social inclusion for people with disabilities and other groups with special needs.
In the same vein, the Portuguese Minister of Labour, who sent a video message to the conference, underlined that access to and use of technology must be “on equal terms for all”. Ana Mendes Godinho maintained that “the information society must contribute to improving the quality of life and the well-being of citizens” and it is necessary “to ensure the sharing of experiences, information and knowledge, so that we can make the European Union a truly inclusive society”.
Also present at the session, via a recorded message, the Portuguese Minister for Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic “has proven that digital inclusion is no longer a long-term vision, but rather a pressing issue”, which obliges governments and institutions to act in order to “ensure that we leave no one behind”.