The expertise presented here by Dr. Carolina Ferro and Dr. Ben Wagner on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung draws on a variety of examples to highlight the shortcomings of current practice and outlines possible ways forward toward a European, cross-sectoral and yet flexible approach to governance that can address the unforeseeable problems of the future. As a proposal for discussion, this publication considers both national concerns and issues associated with European coordination. It proposes establishing a variety of discussion forums as well as clearly defined decision-making mechanisms for the common interpretation of European law and central support capacities. These steps seem prudent given the fact that several digital policy issues arise in almost all areas, though not at the same time and not permanently or with the same intensity. A European pool of experts complementing the resources of European and national actors could prove a valuable source of support in this respect.
This expert opinion paper was produced within the framework of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s 12-month exploratory project Shaping Digital Policy – Towards a Fair Digital Society? Underway since the summer of 2019, the project has identified significant potential for shaping a participatory digital policy in Europe. As part of the same series, two further analyses of European digital strategies (Joschua Helmer 2020) and the changing values in digitalization (Dr. Annegret Bendiek and Dr. Jürgen Neyer 2020) are scheduled to be published soon.