Digitalisation is transforming every single part of our reality. These processes urge us to develop policies that protect our European human-centered society and guarantee that we manage this transformation and not vice versa.
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel
On 26 February 2019, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel participated in a Citizens' Dialogue with students from Petar Beron language school in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, where the Commissioner had herself studied. The topic of the debate was “Young people in the digital era”, with more than 160 students of ages between 15 and 19.
During a brief opening speech, Commissioner Gabriel emphasised how important digital skills will be in the future and presented the Commission’s programmes designed to offer young people new job and education opportunities.
The discussion mainly focused on the future of education in the digital era and the skills that young people must acquire in order to be successful in their future careers.
Many of the students asked questions about the structure of the European institutions and even showed ambition to be part of the EU administration.
Commissioner Gabriel put emphasis on the Digital opportunity traineeships and invited young women to show their talent in digital jobs and IT. “Bulgaria is among the EU Member States with highest participation of women in the IT sector. Gender equality is very important for this industry and we believe in the potential of women.”
Some of the participants were concerned that the European Commission’s measures regarding data protection or the copyright directive could potentially limit their freedom as internet users.
Commissioner Gabriel explained in detail what the main goal of the European Commission is and gave many examples linked to the online content that young people use most often.
“The European Commission has no intention of limiting internet users. We will not ban memes or satire online. Our goal is to protect European authors and give them fair payment for their talent.”
Commissioner Gabriel dedicated the last part of the dialogue to the role of young people in the future of Europe.
She insisted that Citizens’ Dialogues are among the best initiatives of the Commission as contact between policy makers and citizens is extremely important if we want to build an inclusive and fair society in Europe.