Europe’s next digital commissioners announced by President-elect von der Leyen

European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen has announced her college of commissioners for the 2019 – 2024 period. Several commissioners will share responsibility for digital affairs. Margrethe Vestager will take on the role of Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the digital age. Mariya Gabriel will serve as Commissioner for Innovation and Youth, and Nicholas Schmit will serve as Commissioner for Jobs.

Press conference of Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the EC
Image source: EC – Audiovisual Service — © European Union, 2019

Executive Vice-President-designate Vestager will lead in the Commission on making ‘Europe fit for a digital age’. In this, she will be supported by Commissioner-designate Gabriel who has been tasked with updating the ‘Digital Education Action Plan’ and putting a, “focus on digital literacy and education to close the digital skills gap.” Commissioner-designate Schmit will be tasked to, “lead the work on implementing and updating our skills agenda, focusing on identifying and filling skills shortages and supporting reskilling as part of the just transition.” He will also, “explore the idea of individual learning accounts for people of working age, enabling adults to accumulate training entitlements and use them for quality-assured training.”

Commenting on her nominations, President-elect von der Leyen said, “Digitalisation has a huge impact on the way we live, work and communicate. In some fields, Europe has to catch up — like for business to consumers — while in others we are frontrunners — such as in business to business. We have to make our single market fit for the digital age, we need to make the most of artificial intelligence and big data, we have to improve on cybersecurity and we have to work hard for our technological sovereignty.”

Before they can take office the Commissioners-designate must face hearings in the European Parliament, followed by a vote on whether to accept the college in its entirety.

More information can be found on the website of the European Commission.

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