On 9 January 2019, the Republic of Chameria president Festim Lato attended a major conference of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D Group) in the European Parliament and met several prominent parliamentarians.
Saving the Internet for the many not the few
After a holiday of several weeks, the European Parliament kicked off the new year with the main political parties organising several high profile conferences. The S&D group, the second biggest group in the European Parliament, organised a conference on the digital revolution and how to ensure that the new developments in Artifical Intelligence, Big Data and social media can be steered into a way to make it work for the many and not the few.
The conference was opened by the president of the S&D group,Udo Bullman, who introduced the topics of the day. The vision is grand, a campaign to save the Internet for the many and not the few, and the line-up of speakers reflected this ambitious undertaking.
Many experts from all over Europe and America held a speech about their area of expertise within three overarching dimensions: taxation, labour and democracy and the rule of law. The position of the S&D group in this campaign is clear. The objective is to have the Internet and the new technological developments be a force to emancipate the people and increase everyone’s chances in life.
Explained through these three dimensions this means among other things that the tech giants must pay in a similar way to all other smaller companies. Labour should be high value and people should not be forced to work under uncertain conditions with inadequate pay and thirdly technlogical developments should not undermine democratic institutions but instead reinvigorate them to work for everyone.
The speakers in interaction with the audience came to the conclusion that the technological developments are leading to centralisation and that the economies of scale prevent new, smaller initiatives, to fairly compete. Furthermore, attention is increasingly becoming the main currency on the Internet, which has some bad implications for democracy and the rule of law. Since attention and the resale of attention is such an important part of the business model of many tech companies it means that the more attention something gets the higher the profits become. This business model increases the polarisation in society because extreme views are often those who receive the most attention.
Since attention is a public good and readily available it is hard to place it under democratic control. Part of the debate focussed on how to steer this into the right, social-demoratic, direction and somehow control the (resale of) attention in order to benefit all of society.
Meetings with parliamentarians Udo Bullman and Paul Tang
President Festim Lato has met the president of the S&D Group Udo Bullman on several occasions in 2018 when he was able to explain the situation of Chameria and the political activities for greater human rights, freedom of movement and self-determination of the Cham community. Today, 9 January 2019, president Festim Lato had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Bullman again and briefly explain the many activities the government of the Republic of Chameria has enacted since they last met. Following a full agenda in 2018 with many diplomatic activities in order to place the Cham issue on the political agenda, 2019 is envisioned to prove to be a decisive year where the dreams and aspirations for the resolution of the Cham issue focus the planned activities and make these dreams come closer to reality.
This year is also the year of the European elections, which will be held in May 2019. Many new parliamentarians will undoubtedly enter the European Parliament while some will be reelected. One parliamentarian who is again high on the list to be elected is Mr. Paul Tang, an MEP from the Netherlands. He is well known in the Parliament and in the Netherlands for his economic expertise and sits/chairs many committee. He also moderated the S&D conference of today.
President Festim Lato was able to meet parliamentarian Paul Tang and explain the situation of Chameria and provide him with documentation about the situation. Mr. Tang was already vaguely familiar with the issue, probably due to the intensive lobby campaign that president Festim Lato has been doing in 2018, and promised to look into the issue in order to see what possibilities there might be to increase the European values in the Balkans and to ensure that these are also available to those of Cham descent.