© Parlamentsdirektion / Thomas Jantzen

A very productive EPTA Council 2016 meeting took place in Vienna, followed by the Annual conference on the future of laobur in the digital era.

On 20 October 2016 the members of the EPTA family gathered in Palace Eppstein, a building of the Austrian Parliament, for this year's Council meeting. The Council discussed four applications for associate membership, coming from Japan, South-Korea, Portugal and Mexico. While the applications of South-Korea and Portugal have been postponed, those of Mexico and Japan have been accepted, we shall report in separate posts about this. Furthermore, the Council members discussed in-depth the (still informal) EPTA rules in order to cope with the growing interest in parliamentary technology assessment in general and EPTA in particular. Also the issue of financing EPTA's Internet activities was a topic of the agenda. Finally, it was decided that Switzerland will hold the EPTA Presidency in 2017, followed by STOA in 2018. Switzerland followed the tradition an invited the Council members to the Swiss embassy for a reception.

© Parlamentsdirektion / BKA / Regina Aigner

The Annual EPTA conference in the main building took place on 21 October 2016. The topic was "The Future of Labour in the Digital Era". During the opening ceremony, Dr. Ruperta Lichtenecker, the chair of the Austrian Parliaments Committee on Research, Innovation and Technology, announced that the Austrian Parliament has recently decided to institutionalise parliamentary technology assessment and foresight from 2017 onwards. Dr. Tanja Sinozic from ITA presented the draft conclusions of the EPTA report, followed by nine keynotes under the headings of "Digitalisation, flexible work, and crowdsourcing", "Robots and job automatisation", and "Key economic and policy challenges for labour in the digitral era". For further details see here. Around 100 participants, among them 20 members of parliament, including the European Parliament, discussed with the keynotes the political implications of these salient topics.

© Parlamentsdirektion / BKA / Regina Aigner

Preceeding the EPTA Council, on 20 October 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) organised a seminar on "Parliaments and technology assessment capabilities" to inform members of parliament not yet familiar with the concept of PTA.

For more pictures on these events see here.