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Public Discussion: Europe - on the road to a digital future

23 November 2017, Sofia University
Public Discussion: Europe - on the road to a digital future

On the 2nd of November 2017 (Thursday) the President of the Swiss Confederation H.E Doris Leuthard and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria H.E. Rumen Radev gathered together for a public discussion in Sofia University “ St. Kliment Ohridski “. The discussion was entitled Europe - On the road of the digital future and it was attended by various public figures as well as many Bulgarian students. The discussion was followed by a Q&A session.

Both the Swiss and Bulgarian presidents were talking about the rapidly changing and developing digital world and the emerging need of digitalization in the whole European continent.

As stated by Mr. Radev, in our day and age we must be connected digitally in order to stand strong as a country and unified as a continent. According to President Radev, Europe is not left behind digitally but there must be done much more in order to be comparable to other players on the global scene. For instance, to develop the Single Digital Market, data exchange among the European e-governments, etc.  In his speech, President Rumen Radev mentioned that for the past 10 years in Europe there are 2 million more IT specialists than before. However, in his opinion this numbers are by far not enough and Europe must produce more qualified IT experts on a regional level.

During the event, President Doris Leuthard spoke about the importance of digitalization in the democratization of a country and she distinguished that Bulgaria is the right venue to have such a discussion about the digital future of Europe as the people in Bulgaria had experienced the democratization process themselves. According to President Leuthard, democracy is not a static element and it is highly influenced by digitalization. She stated that the Swiss government is fully supporting the digitalization in Europe, however it is impossible to happen without the cooperation between economies, universities and policy makers worldwide. In her opinion, the international community, the civil society and the private sector must come together and make common agreements on the matter. In conclusion, she stated that no other revolution on a global scale has affected the people as much as the digital revolution.