Citizen participation and the future of the EU: An opportunity at the Conference on the Future of Europe

conference-on-the-future-of-europe

Two current phenomena – the cyclical change the EU has entered following Brexit and the outbreak of COVID-19 and the need to improve the participatory mechanisms in liberal democracies – largely explain the launch, at the end of 2020, of the Conference on the future of Europe. We can define this as a large forum which, over more than a year, gives European citizens a channel to express their positions and recommendations on major issues that are already marking the future of the Union and of the entire planet. This is a good opportunity, therefore, for citizen’s to participate in EU debates, which are often accused of being removed from societal realities.

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Digitalisation in Health: more than a technological change

digitalisation-in-health

The post-pandemic economic agenda is focused on the opportunities that might arise from NextGenerationEU funds. These are aimed at driving the transformation of production organisations and of services, with the goal of gaining competitiveness and efficiency. Moreover, the funds should be used to improve the quality and accessibility of public services, increasing the decision-making capacity of the citizens. The health sector can be one of the great beneficiaries of this digitalisation in health process financed from Europe. 

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Digitalization must transform health management now: We need a clear strategy

health-management

The pandemic that has been raging for more than a year is dramatic proof of the weaknesses in health systems, even in the most developed countries. In Spain, whose situation during the first wave was particularly dramatic, recognized experts had warned even before coronavirus that the National Health System was overwhelmed, especially in the area of primary care and public health.

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After the US launch of Amazon Pharmacy, is Europe next?

amazon-pharmacy

Amazon’s announcement last week that it was launching its own online pharmacy not only shook the US drugs market but also raised questions here in Europe. The online retail giant has already reshaped the shopping and shipping landscape. Now, it plans to enter the prescription and over the counter medicine market worth the equivalent of €260 billion in the US alone.

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The pandemic has Europe facing the challenge of digital sovereignty

digital-sovereignty

When the EU territory slowly recovers its activity following the worst weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, the debate on using applications as tools to control possible new outbreaks will still be open. As we have already discussed in this blog, there are basically two schools of thought when it comes to processing the data created by these apps – centralised and decentralised – but what really has drawn attention from the media, politicians and experts is the role in these tools played by Apple and Google, who have offered to collaborate with the institutions. 

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Technology against pandemic: Is data the price to pay for our health?

technology-against-pandemic

The gradual lifting of restrictions is here. Europe is, little by little, ending the lockdown of its population, using different rhythms and methodologies. And for now, despite all the debate in recent weeks, there is no consensus on widespread implementation of applications to detect people who have been in contact with others who are newly infected.

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Apps to fight against coronavirus: two questions and one (European) answer

fight-against-coronavirus

As the weeks pass and the coronavirus crisis evolves, debates about the day after have become increasingly important. The ‘day after’ poses some enormous difficulties: the virus will continue to be here, and the vaccine will still not be a reality. Many hopes have been placed on technology in order for the economy to not remain paralyzed – an economy that, in large part, is based on the movement of people – and to avoid, once again, the nightmare of an outbreak capable of saturating hospitals and ending the lives of tens of thousands of people. More specifically, hopes are placed on the effectiveness of applications that track the proximity of citizens. Like this, health services can contact all those who have been in contact with others who have become sick to apply selective isolation measures.  

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Data processing in light of the pandemic: Europe should not abandon its model

data-processing

The severity of the coronavirus pandemic not only reminds us of the real meaning of the internet: it is also putting discussions on the table that the EU did not consider having just a few weeks ago. The technological ability to track the footsteps of its citizens, facing an expanding disease that is countered with social isolation, is a huge temptation for EU governments. And, with tens of thousands of deaths throughout the EU, it would be incomprehensible to completely dispense of a tool capable of combating the virus. 

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