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S&D Group vice-president responsible for digital affairs, Josef Weidenholzer, said: “Every day we are learning more about the extent of this scandal. Following a hearing in the UK Parliament, it now seems likely that far more than 87 million Facebook users have had their data compromised by Cambridge Analytica. It is essential that Mark Zuckerberg come to the European Parliament’s responsible committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs and explain exactly what has taken place, what Facebook knew, and how many EU citizens have been affected. We then need to ensure that laws are in place to prevent this from ever happening again. We are calling for a detailed hearing in the Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, so that we can understand the full effects of this scandal. This is much more than a case of a company misusing peoples’ data for commercial gain – it raises profound questions about how our democracies can be manipulated in the age of social media. We need a full investigation on how these types of practices have been used in recent election campaigns, both in Europe and the US.” S&D Group spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Birgit Sippel, said: “We have been fighting for years to ensure that citizens’ personal data and privacy is protected online. For too long, the attitude in most governments was that this was a secondary issue. However, this scandal finally seems to have woken everyone up to how important protecting citizens online is. Being outraged by this scandal is not enough; we need action from member states to ensure it cannot happen again. Firstly, we need proper implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will apply as of May 26. Our Group fought hard against the EPP Group and other conservative forces in the Parliament to ensure that we had strong new laws to protect citizens’ personal data. However, strong laws only mean something if they are properly implemented – member states must give their data protection authorities the resources necessary to actually enforce these new rules effectively. “But this is not enough: National governments also need to agree their position on the e-privacy regulation, to ensure that citizens’ private conversations online are kept confidential. The current e-privacy rules do not even cover Facebook! The Parliament adopted strong proposals that would guarantee citizens’ privacy online. However, the Council continues to drag its feet on the issue. This is not acceptable; by refusing to act, national governments are already preparing the way for the next big scandal.”
Inequality in the European Union is closely linked to gender. Millions of working women in Europe are paid less than their male colleagues. On average women still earn 16,3% less than men. On this Member States differ: the gender pay gaps ranges from 5.5 % in Italy and Luxembourg to 26.9 % in Estonia. We believe that breaking down barriers to gender equality in education, employment and entrepreneurship would create new sources of economic growth and help make better use of everyone’s skills. In the past ten years almost no progress has been made towards closing the gender pay gap, which proves that voluntary measures at a national level are simply not enough. We need a revision of EU law. As Socialists and Democrats, we are fighting to close the gender pay gap, achieve a real balance between work and private life, improve women’s participation in the labour market and decision-making, and eradicate gender-based violence, including sexual harassment at the workplace. As long as discrimination between women and men exists in the labour market, our societies are neither fair nor equal. The time for nice words is definitely over, Europe’s women deserve better: binding measures and concrete actions now. Read more from us: http://socialistsanddemocrats.eu/womensrights
The only way we can all prosper in an ever-changing word is that we work together. As our common goal is ultimately our common good, we need to make sure that all continents and all people have access to the basics that they need in order to lead a fulfilled life. We need to stop regarding Africa as a communion of countries that need our help. We need to look at the continent as a partner, as a future world leader in many respects, as a cradle of youth and development. And this is why we need to stand with Africa and with the African people in their endeavour to make the continent more visible and more engaged at a global level. The S&Ds in the European Parliament are leading this fight for a fair chance for Africa, for a better future for its youth. This September, in Brussels, we will be hosting our second edition of the Africa week. Join us and follow our discussions, as we will post more updates throughout the summer break! http://socialistsanddemocrats.eu/withafrica
The S&D Group is committed to a positive approach on the issues of legal migration and integration. We strongly believe that the EU cannot remain silent and watch as tragedies unfold on the high seas in the Mediterranean but must ensure co-operation and solidarity define our policy people in distress receive the protection they need. We have been reiterating our call for the EU to adopt a holistic approach to migration which covers all of the interlinked elements — from solidarity and sharing responsibility fairly between countries, to tackling criminal traffickers and smugglers, and the role of Frontex and EASO (the European Asylum Support Office). We want to see the EU: • develop safe lawful access routes into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees • ensure the Common European Asylum System is fully and properly implemented • strengthen and enhance the Common Resettlement policy • bring a consistent approach to our migration, visa, international development and foreign affairs policies towards non-EU countries • ensure that money spent on migration is money well spent.