23 recommendations for fair and people-centered virtual worlds in the EU
From 21 to 23 April, the Commission hosted the closing session of the European Citizens' Panel on Virtual Worlds in Brussels, which allowed citizens to make recommendations on the values and actions needed to create attractive and fair European virtual worlds. These recommendations will support the Commission's work on virtual worlds and the future of the internet.
After three weekends of deliberations, the citizens made 23 recommendations on expectations for the principles and actions to ensure that virtual worlds in the EU are fair and relevant to citizens. These recommendations are structured around eight values and principles: freedom of choice, sustainability, human-centeredness, health, education, safety and security, transparency and inclusion.
The Commission is currently preparing a new initiative on virtual worlds, which will outline Europe's vision in line with European digital rights and principles. The forthcoming initiative will focus on how to address societal challenges, foster innovation for business and pave the way for a transition to Web 4.0.
In addition to the citizens' panel, the Commission has launched a call for contributions to allow citizens and stakeholders to share their thoughts on the subject. Contributions can be made until 3 May.
The full set of recommendations can be found in the documents section below.
What vision, principles, and actions should guide the development of desirable and fair virtual worlds?
Many people believe that virtual worlds, also referred to as metaverses, might be a change comparable to the appearance of the internet and will transform the way we work and engage with each other in the future. In the last couple of years – and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic – numerous public and private actors have been investing massively in these so-called “extended and augmented realities”, speeding up changes in our workplaces and habits.
Despite this increased attention, such a transformation will not happen suddenly. Virtual Worlds will take many years to develop into a high-quality, realistic digital environment, and there is no clear picture yet of what metaverses could and should become.
The EU and its Members States are committed to harness the potential of this transformation, understand its opportunities, but also the risks and challenges it poses, while safeguarding the rights of European citizens. The European Commission has therefore decided to convene a citizens’ panel to formulate recommendations for the development of virtual worlds.
Find out more in the information kit that is available in the document section below.
What we can expect from the panel
The expected outcome of the panel is a set of guiding principles and actions for the development of virtual worlds in the EU, based on citizens' experiences, perceptions, and wishes for the future. It will take the form of recommendations addressed to the European Commission to feed into an initiative on the topic.
The virtual worlds panel sessions will take place between February and April 2023.
- 24-26 February 2023Session 1 - Brussels
In the first session, participants have build a shared vision of what desirable and fair virtual worlds should be like.
Please see the summary of the session in the Documents section below.
Recordings: 24 February 2023 | 26 February 2023
- 10-12 March 2023Session 2 - online
In the second session, participants have identified, discussed and prioritised values and principles that should guide the development of Virtual Worlds, and started exploring fields of actions to make this vision a reality.
The detailed agenda can be found in the Documents section below.
Recordings: 10 March 2023 | 13 March 2023
- 21-23 April 2023Closing session - Brussels
The closing session submitted the conclusions of debates, together with the panels’ recommendations, to the European Commission. The final list of recommendations can be found in the documents section below.