Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative


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The plenary speakers were:

Wim De Waele is Chief Executive Officer of IBBT (, headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. IBBT specializes in interdisciplinary research and development in the software sector, working with companies and other partners on the newest technologies in domains such as networking, media, security and healthcare. Besides his general management duties, he also leads the market strategy and incubation efforts of IBBT with strong focus on the development of new start-up companies and business acceleration of technology concepts.

Wim De Waele obtained his master degrees in Economic Sciences and Computer Sciences at the University of Ghent in 1987. He started his career as scientific researcher at the university in the area of artificial intelligence in industrial applications. He continued this work at Siemens R&D in Belgium and München. After that he built the European consulting organisation of the Canadian software company Numetrix, specialized in planning software for the consumer packaged goods and process industry. In 1994 Wim joined i2 Technologies as Services Director for Europa, where he also built te European organisation from zero. He then was promoted to vice-president of consumer goods and retail, and moved to i2 headquarters in Dallas. Upon his return to Europe in 2001, he became Chief Technology Officer of the distressed Real Software Group. After the turn-around and sale of the company to a private euqity group, he left Real Software for IBBT on august 1, 2004.

Wim De Waele is also involved in public initiatives such as the new media center De Waalse Krook ( and start-up companies such as Continuum ( and SonicAngel ( He lives with partner An Gyselinck and kids in his town of birth, Ghent, in Belgium. In his spare time he enjoys music, travel and culinary experiments that he carries out himself.

Malcolm Harbour was elected to the European Parliament in June 1999, and re-elected in June 2004 and 2009. He is one of 2 Conservative members representing the West Midlands Region of the UK. He is Chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and is a Member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. He is Vice-Chairman of the Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) and a Member of the Inter-Parliamentary Delegation to Japan.

Malcolm Harbour takes a special interest in the EU single market, industry, science and technology policy. He is Chairman of the European Manufacturing Forum, the Ceramics Industry Forum and the Conservative Technology Forum. He is a Governor of the European Internet Foundation. He has been the lead MEP (rapporteur) for major legislation on Telecoms, the Single Market and Motor Vehicle standards.

Since 2005, he has served on the CARS 21 High Level Group, a Europe-wide initiative to boost the automotive industry. He was named as a top 50 European of 2006 for his key role in broking agreement on the Services Directive. In May 2006, he was named the UK’s most Small Business Friendly UK Parliamentarian by members of the Forum of Private Business. In September 2010, he was voted Internal Market MEP of the Year.

Before his election to the Parliament, Malcolm Harbour spent 32 years in the motor industry, as an engineer, a senior commercial executive, a consultant and a researcher. He began his motor industry career in the BMC Longbridge Plant as an Austin Engineering Apprentice in 1967.

Malcolm Harbour was born in February 1947. He was educated at Bedford School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in Engineering, and at the University of Aston where he gained a Diploma in Management Studies. He received an Honorary DSc from Aston in 2008.

William E. Kennard is the United States’ Ambassador to the European Union. Prior to assuming this position, Mr. Kennard was Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm with over $100 billion under management. Mr. Kennard joined The Carlyle Group in May 2001. At The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard specialized in investments in the telecommunications and media sectors.

Before joining The Carlyle Group, Mr. Kennard served as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from November 1997 to January 2001. He presided over the agency at an historic time. During his tenure, he shaped policies that created an explosion of new wireless phones, brought the Internet to a majority of American households, and resulted in billions of dollars of investment in new broadband technologies. At the same time, he implemented bold new policies to bridge the digital divide in the United States and around the world.

Mr. Kennard is well known for his advocacy for people at risk of being stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. He implemented the FCC’s e-rate program, which brought the Internet to almost every school and library in the United States. Under Mr. Kennard’s leadership, the FCC dramatically expanded access to communications technologies for people with disabilities. The FCC also adopted policies to increase telephone service to rural areas, especially to Native Americans living on tribal lands. He reached out to create more ownership and employment opportunities for women and minorities.

As FCC chairman, Mr. Kennard promoted the benefits of technology worldwide. He pioneered an innovative FCC Development Initiative to assist countries in the developing world to participate more fully in the global growth of digital technology. Through this initiative, Mr. Kennard signed the first partnership agreements on behalf of the FCC with ten countries on four continents to share U.S. regulatory experience with emerging regulatory authorities.
U.S. News and World Report dubbed Kennard a “consumer champion for the digital age.” He has received many honors and awards for his accomplishments, including honorary degrees from Howard University, Gallaudet University and Long Island University and awards from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Easter Seals Foundation, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Kennard previously served on the boards of directors of The New York Times Company, Sprint Nextel Corporation (national US wireless carrier), Handspring, Inc. (manufacturer of the Treo and other wireless devices), eAccess Ltd. (national Japanese wireless carrier), as well as on the boards of several companies owned by The Carlyle Group.

Mr. Kennard also served on several nonprofit boards including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, One Economy Corporation, Common Sense Media, Year-Up Inc., the Yale University Council, Gallaudet University and Media Access Project.

Before his appointment as FCC Chairman, Mr. Kennard served as the FCC’s general counsel from 1993 until 1997. He joined the FCC from the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand (now DLA Piper) where he was a partner and member of the firm’s board of directors.

Mr. Kennard is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He resides in Brussels, Belgium with his wife, Deborah Kennedy Kennard, and their son, Robert.

Piotr Kołodziejczyk, an activist and a local government officer, former Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (1997-2001); currently, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration (since 2010).

Born in 1954 in Poznań, he graduated from technical University in the City of Poznań. He has been active in three areas:

  • Science: 1978 – 1990 he worked for the Research and Development Centre for Railway Vehicles in Poznań;
  • Administration: 1990 – 1997 he was the Director of the Voivodship Employment Office in Poznań; later was appointed an Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, responsible for labour market policy, restructuring of employment in declining sectors and digital development, 2004 – 2010 he was a Secretary of the City of Poznań; on 8 March 2010 he assumed the position of an Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Interior and Administration responsible for e-administration and development of information society;
  • Economy: in 2002 he became the President of the Management Board of H. Cegielski - Fabryka Pojazdów Szynowych Sp. z o. o., a railway vehicles factory; 2003-2010 he was a vice-president of the Supervisory Board of Dalia Poznań S. A.

He spends his time actively, doing sports, such as swimming, skiing, jogging, hiking and cycling. He is married with two children.

Neelie Kroes is Vice President of the European Commission and European Digital Agenda Commissioner.

She was Born 1941 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where she also attended school and helped to build her family’s transport business. She studied economics at Erasmus University, before working there for six years as an Assistant Professor.

Her political career started on the Rotterdam Municipal Council, and in 1971 she was elected as a Member of the Dutch Parliament for the liberal VVD party. From 1982-1989 she served as Minister for Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication in the Netherlands.

After politics she was appointed President of Nyenrode University from 1991-2000, and served on various company boards, including Lucent Technologies, Volvo, P&O Nedlloyd.

Prior to serving as European Commissioner for Competition from 2004-2009, her charity work included advising the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and World Cancer Research Fund, and she has an ongoing interest in mental health issues.

Robert Madelin became Director-General for the Information Society and Media at the European Commission in April 2010.

Robert was educated in England at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe and at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has also studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris.

Born in 1957, a British civil servant since 1979, Robert has served in the Commission since 1993: as Director-General for Health and Consumer Policies from 2004 to 2010, as a Director in DG Trade, and in the Cabinet of Sir Leon (now Lord) Brittan, European Commission Vice-President.

Mr. Markku Markkula works within Aalto University as the Advisor to Aalto Presidents, focusing on European affairs, His previous assignment comprised heading Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli of Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) as Director.

Mr. Markkula is a former member of the Finnish Parliament (1995-2003). As an MP his international role included the Presidency of EPTA Council, European Parliamentary Technology Assessment Network. He has served the global engineering community as the part-time Secretary General of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education IACEE 1989-2001. He has been awarded the European Society for Engineering Education SEFI Fellow 1995. Within SEFI he has been the Chairman of the Continuing Education Working Group.

Markku Markkula is a member of the EU Committee of the Regions, CoR. Within CoR he is member of Commission for Education, Youth, Culture and Research EDUC, and Commission for Economic and Social Policy ECOS. He is the Chairman of the EPP/CoR Task Force "Europe 2020".

Mr. Markkula’s special competence areas are lifelong learning, knowledge management, e-learning and STI policy. He has published several books and given hundreds of conference presentations. As a tribute to his achievements he was in 2008 elected to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.

Staffan Nilsson’s personality, professional skills and commitment to civil society ideals, which the EESC has long nourished and has worked for over the years, led to his election as President of the European Economic and Social Committee on 20 October 2010. Staffan Nilsson is a staunch supporter of the EU, whose primary purpose is to bring lasting peace to the continent, and a tireless advocate of sustainable growth, which is the best way of financing a social model serving the common good of all Europeans, and of defending our values internationally.
“Engaging people for a sustainable Europe” is Staffan’s political message for his term of office. He is politically committed to ensuring maximum civic engagement in Europe’s endeavours to foster environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Nilsson is a veteran leader in the EESC. Before becoming President of the EESC, he was President of Group III (Various Interests) for six years, and Vice-president for another six. Since 1995, when he became a member of the EESC and Group III, he has actively contributed his expertise to the work of the EESC, mainly in the fields of agriculture, sustainable development and international cooperation.

He has been rapporteur for opinions on the Soil Protection Framework Directive, the Communication on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides, agriculture and food safety in the context of the Euromed partnership, and the Action plan for Environmental Technology – to mention but a few. Nilsson has been an active member of the EESC Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) established with accession countries in the past, and he currently plays a key role in the EU-Turkey JCC and the Euromed Committee.

An activist since his student years and now a prosperous farmer, Staffan Nilsson is a driving force for dialogue and inclusive development. Openness and cooperation are the hallmarks of this term.

Dr. Zsolt Nyitrai is a Hungarian politician and Member of Parliament (Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Party) serving his third term since his first election into office in 2002.

Following the establishment of the Fidesz-KDNP government in 2010, Zsolt Nyitrai was appointed Minister of State for Infocommunications under the Ministry of National Development. The Office of the Minister of State is responsible, inter alia, for the development and operation of the government IT infrastructure, electronic communications, spectrum management and the regulation of postal services and audiovisual media.

During Hungary’s EU Presidency he also chairs the Telecommunications Council of the European Union.

As a political expert, Zsolt Nyitrai headed the IT and Telecommunications Working Group of Fidesz between 2006-2010, made up of Fidesz MEPs, MPs and external experts dedicated to IT and telecommunications. In 2004 he was Deputy Campaign Chief of Fidesz in the European parliamentary elections and Fidesz Campaign Director during the 2006 local government elections.

Mr. Nyitrai holds a degree in law from the University of Miskolc.

Charlotte Sahl-Madsen was appointed Danish Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation on February 23rd, 2010. As a resident of the island of Als in Southern Jutland, she has amassed extensive experience in various industries before her political appointment. Previous executive positions include head of R&D and head of VisionLab at toy manufacturer LEGO and CEO of Danfoss Universe.

Since taking on her ministerial position, Charlotte Sahl-Madsen has worked tirelessly to promote and stimulate growth in public and private sectors. Key policies include focusing on higher education that matches the needs of both society and industry, increasing public-private knowledge-based cooperation, maintaining a high level of ambition for investments in research, advancing digitalisation of Denmark, and promoting and utilising the advantages of increased globalisation, for example, in the education and research sector.

Vincent Van Quickenborne (37) likes to keep and make things simple. That’s why you can simply call him “Q”. “Senator Q” stormed into national politics eleven years ago. At that time, he was 26 and the youngest senator. As Secretary of State for Administrative Reform, he turned Belgium into the 3rd easiest country to start a business in (Doing Business 2008, World Bank). Today, he is Minister of Economy and Reform. He wants to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in everyone and to cut down red tape. In 2010 he was selected as “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum.

Personal data:

  • Date of birth: 1 August 1973
  • Place of birth: Gent


  • Sint-Barbara College Gent 1991, Belgium
  • Law Studies: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 1995, Belgium, magna cum laude

Former lawyer at the bar of Kortrijk

Political activities:

  • Senator (1999-2003)
  • City Council of Kortrijk (2001-)
  • Member of the National Bureau of Open Vld (Flemish Liberal Party) (2002-)
  • Secretary of State for Administrative Reform, attached to the Prime Minister (2003-2007)
  • Minister of Economy and Reform (2008-)


  • “Pleidooi voor een warme fusie. Vlaanderen moet een netwerk van 25 grote steden worden” in Stadslucht maakt vrij by S. GATZ, S. VAN ROUVEROIJ, C. LEYSEN, P. STOUTHUYSEN, J. BASILIADES, VUBPress, Brussel, 2005
  • “Vestigingswetgeving: verleden, heden en (mogelijke) toekomst - Administratieve rompslomp of zinvolle reglementering?” in Liber Alumnorum KULAK, Die Keure, Brugge, 2005
  • “De Kruispuntbank Ondernemingen, instrument voor administratieve vereenvoudiging” in Liber Amicorum by J.-P. DE BANDT, Bruylant, Brussel, 2003

It is with regret that the Commission learned of the untimely passing of our friend Diogo Vasconcelos, who took such an active role in the Digital Assembly. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time.

Since February 2007, Diogo Vasconcelos has been a Distinguished Fellow with Cisco’s global innovation and strategy group (IBSG). He is working on the role of ICT fighting climate change and promoting energy efficiency, and sustainable prosperity and the role of next generation broadband to foster innovation among other things. Since 2011, he leads the global innovation practice of IBSG. He is working with different governments in Europe and Middle East, with the European Commission and OECD. He chaired the Business Panel on Future EU Innovation Policy, which prepared the new EU innovation policy, approved in February 2011 by the European Heads of State and Government. He co-authored the report on “Europe and Social Innovation” for the President of European Commission. He Chairs SIX - Social Innovation eXchange (, the world’s primary network bringing together companies, individuals and organisations involved on designing new solutions to social and environment challenges. SIX was selected by European Commission to define and implement the European Social Innovation initiative, launched in March 2011. Since April 2011, Diogo is Gulbenkian Foundation commissioner on social innovation.

He is a member of the High Level Panel on Measurement of Innovation, created by European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Ms Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, that suggested a new EU innovation headline indicator to complement R&D and was appointed in October 2010 a permanent independent expert on the design and implementation of innovation and research strategy. He was member of the high-level panel established by Vice President and European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Mrs Neelie Kroes to advise the European Commission on innovative solutions to address the opportunities of an ageing society, that paved the way for the first European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. He was appointed member of the EU’s Smart specialisation platform (S3 Platform), that will provide assistance to managing authorities in Member States and regions on how to optimise the impact of regional funding allocated to innovation till the end of the current programming period (2007-2013) and the design of "smart specialisation strategies" now by using the technical assistance money available from the European Regional Development Fund.

He is a co-founder and member of the Board of the European Venture Clube (, a network of leading international venture capital firms and corporate investors interested to co-invest in Europe and foster the internationalisation of European startups.

He chairs Dialogue Café (, a global network that will bring people together from cities across the globe to learn, share and collaborate on projects which support people and planet, through state of the art videoconference technology. From May 2008 to April 2011, Diogo was Chairman of APDC , a 25 years old ICT and Telecom independent association.He was elected in May 2009 member of the Executive Board on DigitalEurope the voice of digital industry in Europe. Diogo is also member of the board of Catholic University of Porto and member of the advisory boards of the leading European think tanks, namely the Lisbon Council (Brussels), European House-Ambrosetti (Milan), Lisbon Civic Forum (Stuttgart) and Fellow of ResPublica (London) and of the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Before joining Cisco, Diogo was the Knowledge Economy Advisor to the Portuguese President of Republic Cavaco Silva, and lead his successful digital campaign. From 2003 to 2005, he founded and leaded the Knowledge Society Agency, where he created and implemented the Information Society, eGoverment and National Broadband Initiatives, reporting to Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso. He was also a member of the board of the Portuguese Innovation Agency. He was elected member of the Parliament and Vice-President of Social Democratic Party and its spokesperson for Innovation and Knowledge Society. Prior to that, Diogo founded a multimedia company and published the first magazines in his country on both the internet and entrepreneurship, co-funded an independent venture capital company and launched the Entrepreneurs Academy. He has a Law degree and post-graduate degrees in Communications Law, Management and Political Science. In 2006, Diogo received from the former Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio “Comendador Ordem Infante D. Henrique”.

Born in 16th May 1968, Diogo is married and lives in London.

Graham held the post of Director for Digital Delivery at the Cabinet Office from August to December 2010 where he was heading up the Government’s policy and strategy work on digital delivery in the public sector, also looking at the role of digital to deliver efficient and transparent services.

Graham is now Director at Race Online 2012 supporting the policy and strategy work behind the office of the UK Digital Champion, working to deliver a 100% networked nation. Graham has previously been a Managing Partner at Gov3 as well former Director of Strategy for the Office of e-Envoy at the Cabinet Office

Richard is a leading authority on technology, participation and governance. He is a director of izwe ( Previously he was the founder and director of Involve ( He has delivered public engagement projects for many governments and businesses across the world, including the European Commission, BBC, OECD and many national and local government bodies. Until 2008 he was deputy chair of the UK government's science engagement programme: ScienceWise. More recently he has facilitated the largest conferences of the French and Swedish Presidencies of the European Union. He has written four books and occasionally writes for The Guardian newspaper. Follow Richard online: on twitter: @richardwi1son


Last updated on 25/09/2012 - 11:13