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Wednesday, 10 May 2023 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Fighting cyberbullying of young people across the EU (debate)

  Frances Fitzgerald (PPE). – Mr President, I want, of course, to begin by welcoming Jackie Fox to the European Parliament, as you did President, and thank you for that and Commissioner, for your comprehensive speech.

Jackie is seated in the gallery for this important debate on cyberbullying. And as you now know, Jackie is the mother of the late Nicole Fox, known as Coco, from Ireland, who tragically took her own life in 2018 as a result of cyberbullying. We know that cyberbullying is killing young people across our continent, and we know that there is a legislative vacuum across Europe at present. Every day a young person takes their life haunted by what has been done to them, mentally tortured by brutal bullying in forms that, as we know, are now evolving. A digital world now allows, as colleagues have said, for total access, not a moment of peace from bullies.

Colleagues, it is time we stood up and took action. Coco’s law, named after Nicole Fox, was enacted in Ireland in 2021. It’s aimed to target behaviour online that is killing people. What is illegal offline must be illegal online. The brave work of Jackie ensured this happened in Ireland. We need to do this at a European level.

I think we all know that and I think this is what our young people are asking of us. They are asking us to keep them safe online. It is our responsibility as legislators to keep every single European citizen safe online. Cyberbullying knows no borders, and that’s why the EU must act now. Thank you all and thank you to Jackie.

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