Our Future, Our Vote: Telekom Voices on the European Elections

The European elections are just around the corner. We took this opportunity to ask 13 Deutsche Telekom employees from eight different countries for their opinions on online hate, disinformation, and the EU's impact on their daily lives. Their answers highlight both opportunities and challenges ahead.

Commitment to Openness and Respect

Deutsche Telekom consistently advocates for openness, respect, and social cohesion. Initiatives like "#NoHateSpeech" and promoting diversity and inclusion are part of the company's efforts to foster respectful interactions based on democratic principles. Europe is not only crucial for Deutsche Telekom's economic and social success but also home to many of our employees.

Diverse Perspectives on Europe

We asked our employees: Do they see diversity as a strength? How important is an open, respectful, and democratic society to them? Have they encountered disinformation and online hate, and how do they handle it? We interviewed employees from various parts of Europe—from Spain to Poland, from young trainees to experienced senior experts. While the results are not representative, they provide valuable insights into our employees' beliefs and demonstrate why Europe matters to us all.

Benefits of European Unity

Most colleagues emphasize the freedoms and opportunities the European Union offers. Bruno Koci, an Italian citizen living in Germany and working for T-Systems in Spain, values the travel and learning opportunities Europe provides: “Europe allows me to travel basically freely and gave me amazing life opportunities such as EU Youth Exchanges, Erasmus+ which taught me a lot. Europe as well allows me to be closer to people from other countries, not only physically but especially mentally, because no matter the differences, we are mentally closer to many other cultures sharing common values within the EU.”

Wiktoria Wicherkiewicz from Poland highlights freedom of movement: “As a young person still studying and traveling across Europe, I greatly benefit from the seamless movement within the Schengen Area, which simplifies my travels and broadens my educational and cultural experiences.The Erasmus program is another fantastic EU initiative from which many of my friends have benefited, allowing them to study in different countries and enrich our academic and social lives.”

The unrestricted freedom to travel is important to Telekom colleagues and many Europeans. According to the Standard Eurobarometer 100 from Autumn 2023, the freedom to travel, study, and work anywhere in the EU ranks first for 50% of Germans when asked, “What does the European Union mean to you?”

Challenges of Disinformation and Online Hate

Digital freedom, including unrestricted access to information and the freedom to express oneself online, is a valued aspect of many lives. However, some perceive it as increasingly fragile. “Social media has totally destroyed the trust and common sense of many voters, followed by polarized society reactions on each election's results.” fears Slovakian Michal Korec.

Sára Čepelíková from the Czech Republic warns: “Disinformation and hate speech have a great influence on public opinion in all countries, and the Czech Republic is no different. If we look, for example, at the relatively recent Covid 19 pandemic, in which a lot of conspiracy theories and disinformation circulated, which subsequently led to hate speech. Society was thus divided into several sections that verbally fought against each other. This resulted in an unpleasant atmosphere throughout the society.”

Tomasz Jędrkiewicz from Poland is also concerned: “For over a decade, disinformation and hate speech have had a significant impact on election results in the country where I reside. Politicians actively stoke homophobic and xenophobic sentiments, instilling fear in citizens through the use of false information.” Despite these challenges, his Polish colleague Piotr Godlewski is optimistic: “I try to be optimistic about the future. I believe that the victory of the democratic forces in Poland will be a good example for the whole of Europe and we will deal with it.”

Perspectives on Media Literacy and Regulation

When asked what can help combat disinformation, Croatian Ante Kurtović succinctly responds: “The Response to hate is love and response to disinformation is clarity.” Most colleagues emphasize the need to improve media literacy and strengthen regulatory measures.

Wiktoria Wicherkiewicz recommends: “To effectively combat disinformation, implementing robust fact-checking mechanisms is crucial. These systems need to be in place to quickly identify and correct false information across various media platforms. Additionally, education plays a pivotal role, not only by integrating media literacy into the curriculum from an early age but also by extending educational efforts to older generations.”

Karina Krawiec from Poland sees education as key in fighting disinformation, urging vigilance: “We should be cautious with any information and not always trust what we hear or read, especially what is shared by anonymous people over the Internet.”

Nikolaus Haidl from Austria advocates for more educational initiatives and sees potential in AI: “Programs on media literacy, teaching critical thinking skills, need to be enforced. Next, AI can support us in detecting disinformation. And finally, collaboration between society, governments and tech companies must be enhanced, to address the root causes.”

His colleague Malgorzata Salomon adds that stronger regulation of social networks is essential to curb the spread of disinformation. Tomasz Jędrkiewicz agrees: “The primary goal should be to dismantle the mechanisms that enable profiteering from such practices, without impinging on the freedom of speech.”

Engagement and the Importance of Voting

Regarding the upcoming elections, respondents unanimously recognize the importance of voting. Felix Josten from Germany emphasizes: “I will definitely vote. It is important for me to make use of the right that allows me to have a say with my opinion and express my prioritised concerns.” Kristóf Papp from Hungary views voting as a democratic duty: “Every vote matters. Voting is an opportunity for change and also a great way to practice democracy.”

Malgorzata Salomon notes: “It is not compulsory to vote in the European elections in Austria, but I will do so.In the European elections, we citizens of the countries can elect the members of the European Parliament who represent our interests at European level.As this is about important issues such as democracy, human rights, equality, etc., it is important for me to cast my vote here.”

For Marijana Brankov from Croatia, voting on June 9 is a civic duty: “Democracy starts with people; we drive change by voting for the European Parliament, and the decisions made there affect our lives. If we don't actively participate, we don't influence shaping the future.”

Your Vote for Europe – Your Vote for Democracy

The diverse opinions and experiences of Telekom employees show how much Europe impacts and shapes each individual's life. It also underscores the importance of everyone exercising their right to vote. As Deutsche Telekom, we support calls to vote and appeal for democratic unity in society.

Stand for democracy, freedom, and unity – use your right to vote. Every vote counts for a strong, just, and united Europe.

Source:The survey for Standard Eurobarometer 100 (Autumn 2023) was conducted between October 23 and November 15, 2023, in all 27 EU member states. 26,471 EU citizens were interviewed in person. Information about Eurobarometer and all surveys can be found on this website: [Eurobarometer](


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