Aušrinė Armonaitė meets Vice-President of the European Commission: focus on digitalisation and fight against disinformation


2021 06 10


On Thursday, Minister of the Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė met with Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova to discuss the importance of developing digital services and combating disinformation.

Minister Armonaitė noted that the digital economy is becoming an indicator of progress in both Lithuania and other European countries; in Lithuania, this is one of the fastest growing sectors. In particular, digitalisation accelerating was obvious in Lithuania during the pandemic; Lithuania was among the leading countries to introduce a digital National Certificate offering more freedom for businesses and people. The EU Digital COVID Certificate must now be a priority for the EU to simplify travel in the Community countries.

‘We have to adapt to the new reality; paper passports may possibly become obsolete in near future. Knowledge, digitalisation and data opening are now real value so we must focus on investment in this area,’ she said.

The Minister informed Vera Jourova that over the next 5 years, Lithuania is planning significant reforms via RRF in the areas of digital transformation and innovation: the digitisation of public services, open data use and the development of innovative technology solutions for businesses and people. Information databases are planned to be connected into a single system and to integrate the national data into the single digital EU data market. Besides, there are plans to significantly increase the number of e-services and open data so that an increasing number of people can use them as one-stop shops.

Minister Armonaitė stressed that the digital economy development will much depend on improving digital data governance, strengthening the free  movement of data and combating disinformation, which is one of the main obstacles to the successful functioning of the digital economy.

‘Disinformation has its cost; it means disseminating incorrect information and may cause confrontation and even vandalism. Lithuania has long been leader in this in Europe and claims that responsibility for disinformation must be shared by the users, who need to critically assess the contents, and by information originators whose duty is to ensure that proposed information contains no hatred or violence. It is important that disinformation which relates to our values, state authorities and the state itself should not be a dominant narrative,’ says Armonaitė.

Also, Lithuania pays considerable attention to the Digital Services Act (DSA),which is considered the main document on the responsibility of social platforms in the context of disinformation. There are many private initiatives in Lithuania seeking to prevent disinformation: the media seeks to deconstruct lies; there are also private individuals, so-called ‘elves’, who seek to trace sources that spread disinformation and propaganda. According to the Minister, it is important that the education system offers measures aimed to educate responsible people capable to think critically.

Minister Armonaitė emphasised that the EU should focus more on economic damage resulting from disinformation; according to the data of the Global Disinformation Index, about 20 thousand websites posing a disinformation risk generate revenue of more than EUR 200 million from advertising each year.