Time For Political Action

MEPs Confirm Support For Citizen’s Right To Choose

Press Release:

‘Paper or digital? It is every citizen’s right to choose’! This was the title of a breakfast event in the European Parliament, hosted yesterday by European People’s Party MEP Heinz Becker.  Since its inception the Keep Me Posted EU campaign has received a great deal of attention from MEPs and supporters from various interest groups.

Citizens are increasingly being pressured by governments and private companies, in particular service providers such as utility companies, banks and insurance companies, to communicate by electronic means often regardless of their willingness or ability to use these communication tools. The Keep Me Posted EU campaign was set up to promote and defend the citizen’s right to choose how they wish to be contacted, so as not to marginalise people who are significantly disadvantaged if everything is digital.

Hosting MEP Heinz Becker expressed his strong support for the campaign in his opening speech, recognising it as a pro-choice campaign rather than an anti-digital campaign. “This campaign must lead to political action to protect citizen´s rights” he stressed.

MEP Lucy Anderson, Rapporteur for the Opinion on the application of the Postal Services Directive joined the discussion and highlighted that “the right to digital access is fundamental – as is the right to choose”. She confirmed her firm support for the Digital Agenda but also to citizens` rights and stated that “we must recognize technological advances while satisfying what consumers want”.

Campaign supporter AGE Platform Europe confirmed that the choice is important for a large part of the population and in particular for Europe’s older generation, for whom retaining their autonomy and staying socially included is crucial.

Recent European Commission statistics strongly support the campaign: 60 million Europeans have never used the internet and 45% of Europeans still don’t have adequate digital skills.  71% of homes can access high speed broadband, but only 28% of homes in rural areas. And half of the users have little trust in the internet with 26% of them having been victim of fraudulent messages, payments or personal information breaches[1] .

Beyond the European campaign, national initiatives have been established in Austria, Spain, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Thanks to the UK’s Keep Me Posted campaign driven by a coalition of supporters, 27.5 million consumers today have the right to choose how they would like to receive their bills at no extra cost.

All supporters were in favour of having the right to choose to be enshrined into European legislation – a challenge that several Members of the European Parliament are ready to take up.

Note to the editor:

Keep Me Posted EU is a European initiative promoting the citizen’s right to choose how they receive important information – paper, digital or both – without being penalised. Keep Me Posted EU is a pro-citizen-choice campaign promoting the inclusion of vulnerable citizens at European level.

[1] “Europe has to act to unlock the potential of digital”, European Commission, April 2016.

MEP H. Becker
(MEP Heinz Becker)

David Gold
(Mr David Gold from Keep Me Posted UK, moderating the discussion)