Digital Policy EU Election Manifesto Check by eco – Association of the Internet Industry Shows: Many Parties Fail to Recognise the Importance of Digital Infrastructures

  • eco Association analyses the EU election manifestos of CDU/CSU, SPD, Alliance 90/The Greens and FDP
  • Top digital policy topics in the election manifestos: Competition, AI and data protection
  • The expansion and strengthening of digital infrastructures fall short in many election manifestos

The European elections will take place on Sunday, 9 June 2024. Against this backdrop, eco – Association of the Internet Industry has analysed the election manifestos of the CDU/CSU, SPD, Alliance 90/The Greens, and FDP regarding the parties’ digital policy priorities and plans.

Top digital topics in the election manifestos: Focus on competition, data and AI

Top digital issues such as competition, data and AI can be found in all of the election manifestos analysed, albeit with different emphases in some cases. The CDU/CSU, for example, emphasises the ethical use of AI, while the Greens focus on transparency. All parties express an opinion on competition; from the FDP, which calls for a digital free trade zone, to the SPD, which focuses more on labour law regulation. Although attitudes towards the issue of data protection and its use differ between the respective parties, they all recognise the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its principles in principle.

Political reluctance to expand digital infrastructures jeopardises Germany as a digital location

In contrast, the topic of strengthening and expanding digital infrastructures receives surprisingly little attention in the parties’ election manifestos. Although they all emphasise their desire to drive digitalisation forward, concrete measures that go beyond safeguarding net neutrality are mostly absent.

eco Chair Oliver Süme considers this to be a worrying sign:

“Digital infrastructures are the basis of Europe’s digital sovereignty and the foundation for the digital transformation of the economy and society. The strengthening and further development of a powerful and secure ecosystem of digital infrastructures, consisting of data centres, well-developed gigabit networks and secure cloud infrastructures, is essential for the future viability of Europe as a digital location and should, therefore, be at the top of the digital policy agenda of all parties when it comes to the goals for the coming legislative period.”

It is worrying that politicians continue to underestimate the importance of digital infrastructures, especially in connection with high-performance future technologies such as those based on artificial intelligence. “This neglect jeopardises the competitiveness of Europe as a whole,” says Süme.

eco survey shows the high relevance of digital policy issues for voters

A recent representative eco survey shows the crucial role of digital policy for German voters even before the election. Particularly in the 18-29 (28.0%), 30-39 (28.8%) and 40-49 (28.9%) age groups, a party’s planned digital policy is highly relevant to their vote. Voters of the Greens (43.2%), the FDP (37.1%) and the Left (36.4%), in particular, emphasise the importance of this topic.*



eco – Association of the Internet Industry has published its agenda for the Digital Policy for Europe 2024 – 2029. In eight fields of action, the association formulates the industry’s key demands for European digital policy in the coming legislative term.

You can find the entire election manifesto check, key demands and voices of the Internet industry on this EU election and other facts at eco’s German-language ‘EU Wahldigital 24’ website.

eco and the members of the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany have been campaigning for more visibility for data centres and other operators of digital infrastructures since 2018: https://digitale-infrastrukturen.net/en/political-demands/


*The opinion research institute Civey was commissioned by eco to survey around 2,500 people in Germany over the age of 18 from 18 March 2024 to 19 March 2024. The statistical error of the overall results is 3.3%-3.9%.

*The election manifesto check includes a selection of parties; a detailed explanation can be found in the background paper. The AfD is not analysed by eco as its goals and ideas are not compatible with eco’s basic principles.

Digitalisation: eco Association Formulates Top 5 Digital Policy Tasks for the next German Federal Government