Neelie KROES
Vice-President of the European Commission

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Who's going to get the EU's top jobs?

One question is on everyone's lips at the moment: who's going to secure themselves the best "top jobs" in the EU?

So maybe you're interested in my views.

I'm not talking about who will head the EU's Institutions for the next 5 years. I'm talking about the skills that people need to thrive in tomorrow's labour market and get the best opportunities available – jobs that are creative, rewarding, fun. Those are the real EU top jobs.

In today's digital world—that requires knowing how to programme or "code". On its own, a computer or a smartphone is just a blank canvas . But once you know how to "code"—you can add your own brushstrokes, inject life and colour, and make it do anything you want.  It's like the new literacy.  As the millions working in Europe's vibrant app economy know already.

90% of today's jobs need some kind of digital skills; nearly one million ICT vacancies could soon go unfilled; demand rises every day. But coding isn't just about learning one particular set of conventions or techniques. As Steve Jobs put it — everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think. Giving you the analytical and problem-solving skills that will come in useful in pretty much any walk of life.

More Europeans need to get those vital digital skills. And there are many committed individuals out there doing their best to promote them –governments, industry, schools, voluntary groups and more. With great initiatives from Ireland to Finland. But they don't always have the scale or resources to take off.

Today I met some of those dedicating their time and effort to getting Europe coding. Including the fantastic volunteers organising Europe Code Week (#codeEU).

And those setting up a coding platform under our grand coalition for digital jobs – a great idea for a platform, but which I hope will now benefit from further commitments.

My message to them all was clear: now it's time to connect and scale up. Because there is so much they can learn from each other, by working together. After all, some of them have the right skills; others the right experience; others the right resources, and so on. Combine those assets, share these experiences, and put those heads together: and we can really get the economies of scale for a digitally-skilled Europe.

It was a great and rich discussion. Many commented on the importance of teachers. We need to start young and build coding into the education system: but teachers themselves need training and skills.

Most of all there was a lot of goodwill and commitment towards working together to this common objective.

Europe Code Week this year will be in October. So if you'd like to get these vital life skills – or have a great idea for how to share your skills with others – then get in touch via

So all of you – make sure you're thinking digital; whatever kind of top job you're after.


  • And in the Netherlands.and how many jobs available in the next years for Eu and the Netherlands?
  • I know who is going to get those jobs.Your contacts,as usual. EU-I does not hire people based on their merits and hard work, but by their contacts,family and friends.
  • Ha, ik dacht in een eerste reactie 'een politieke rijke bovenbaas', maar na lezing: mooi initiatief. Belangrijk!
  • Dear Neelie, I disagree completely with your argument with respect to coding. Whilst I accept that application software is the value-add in IT/ICT there is no need for a million new coders. What is required is a machine to generate application software using software engineering, i.e. logical abstractions backed by mathemtical proof. It works in every other industry, with CAD/CAE tools, ironically using application software. Such a machine exists and is proven. The related point about design is that we have missed a fundamental discontinuity in IT that means a new design for IT is essential. This reduces the volume of software dramatically and , amongst other things, enables the delivery of citizen-centric public services. This short paper provides an overview. The Horizon 2020 programme with Future Internet is very constrained in its thinking, as is the GDS in the UK, and geared to squeezing more value out of legacy applications using agile developent techniques. I would be delighted to go through this with you in more detail to try to identify where such an radical, innovative idea could be placed in the Horizon 2020 programme. Yours, John Alexander MD HISL Limited
  • Comm. Kroes : Please explain here or in your Twitter feed where are you going to work in the EU ? It's absurd that Piebalgs & Lewandowski are going to be in the EU Parliament ? but not you? If that's true, shame on the EU ! No wonder there are 24 m. EU workers unemployed, they give a job to the most corrupt and incompetent , but the talented get's kicked out ? Tell us , thanks!
  • Hi Jos, Mrs Kroes did not stand as a candidate in the recent European Parliament elections.