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[Excerpt] All citizens of the European Union have a democratic right to participate in the social and economic life of the society in which they live. Access to information about their society’s culture, literature, laws, local and national policies and ethos is fundamental in order to take part in mainstream life. Only informed citizens can influence or monitor the decisions that affect their lives and the lives of their families. This applies also to information about the policies and work of the European Union which are increasingly influencing the lives of its citizens. Furthermore, the new "Information Society” makes it vital to be able to use and to understand the information systems being developed today.