It was again great to meet my young advisers yesterday. These are talented young digital entrepreneurs – and I love talking to them to get their experience and advice about how we can best support the digital world.
I didn’t want them to say we’re doing well at everything – I want the unvarnished truth. Faced with such a terrible economic crisis, we need to do everything we can to support this flourishing economic sector. And to do that, we need to communicate beyond the “Brussels bubble”: we need to talk and listen to real people doing real jobs on the digital frontline.
And the unvarnished truth is what I got. They raised a lot of interesting points. From subjects I’m well familiar with, like the need for a modern, European copyright framework. Plus we had an interesting debate about the need for a more modern, dynamic education system – one that is adapted to digital realities. It’s very challenging providing courses and certification in a fast-moving world where practices can change within months; and sometimes, indeed, the best teacher is experience.
They also had many stories about the barriers they face as young entrepreneurs. Like a “minimum age” before you can set up a business bank account. How bizarre: after all it’s the young people most at risk of high unemployment, and we should welcome their attempts to change that, not put barriers in their way.
I’m committed to taking forward what they told me – particularly where it falls within the EU’s powers, like difficulties accessing EU regional funding. And in other areas I know these people have the dynamism and energy, not just to identify problems, but find solutions. They were already active yesterday at the launch of our grand coalition – and they have my full confidence in going out to find new evidence and new alliances – and giving us the information and support we need to solve Europe’s problems.