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Elect a Digital President for the EU Commission

This petition had 142 supporters

Time for the “Digital Generation” to lead change

If there ever was a wake up call to Europe’s leaders, last week’s election was it. Across the continent, people expressed their frustration with the status quo. Turnout was down in 17 of the 28 EU countries. This disaffection resulted in radical and Eurosceptic parties across the left and right stealing a march across the continent.

At the same time, Europe is at a transformational moment where its citizens are increasingly building and using technology: leveraging it to drive growth and new futures for themselves and their countries. Around 7,500 people have already signed the Startup Manifesto to shape the future success of Europe’s technology sector.

In this post election turmoil, building an inclusive and cohesive Europe will require a fresh-faced, reformist leadership at the European Commission. In an open letter a few weeks ago from the EU’s Digital Champions, the clarion call was clear – “the next European President needs to be a Digital President.”

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. By implementing its Digital Agenda, the EU could raise its GDP by 5 per cent, equal to £1,200 for each EU citizen, creating 4 million jobs by 2020. There are few other initiatives that can provide such an economic impact. Despite record numbers of unemployed across the EU, employers are searching to find candidates with digital skills. Closing this skills gap and creating “real” jobs in new digital industries is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

We must urge the elected leaders of the EU to nominate a President who can ensure that the needs of the people building Europe’s digital future are included in driving its political and economic progress.

We need a presidency that recognises the power of the tablet over the ink of the fountain pen. Leaders who can use digital platforms and technologies to reimagine our economies, drive growth and improve the lives of millions of people. Who can create prosperity not only for one group of citizens, but for everyone. And who can inspire current and future generations.

We, as technology leaders across Europe, are asking for your support. Please add your signature to this open letter, to send a clear message to the EU Commission: the next President must recognise the importance of this moment in time and the critical role that entrepreneurship and technology play in Europe’s future growth and competitiveness. 

Joanna Shields, Chair, Tech City UK

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