TUM Brussels: “The next Google should come from Europe” – President Hofmann meets with Cabinet Vestager to initiate dialogue

On May 18, President Thomas F. Hofmann had the pleasure to meet with Kim Jørgensen, Head of Cabinet of EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, to discuss Europe’s digital autonomy and the key role of universities of science and technology. As chairing President of the EuroTech Universities Alliance, Thomas F. Hofmann initiated a dialogue covering the European digital sphere.

Graphic with pictures of the three protagonists and the quote 'The next Google should come from Europe'.

All participants agreed that Europe needs a more proactive approach when it comes to digital autonomy. Photo: EuroTech

Accompanied by Anders O. Bjarklev, President of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Thomas F. Hofmann met with the Vestager Cabinet to discuss how to tackle the challenges of digitalization and digital autonomy. The meeting was organized by TUM Brussels liaison officer Maria-Valerie Schegk together with her colleagues of the EuroTech Universities Alliance and was one of many great activities during EuroTech’s ten-year anniversary.

Margrethe Vestager is responsible for the portfolio ‘Europe Fit for the Digital Age’ within the European Commission. In this capacity she works on the priority of proceeding with the digitalization in the EU. She is also co-leading on a strategy on small and medium-sized businesses and startups and a long-term strategy for the EU's industrial future, including competition aspects. Vestager is not only European Commissioner, but also Executive Vice-President of the von der Leyen Commission and oversees the Research & Innovation Portfolio of Commissioner Gabriel.

Connecting the dots: Let’s work out a master plan

The participants agreed that there are many great initiatives regarding artificial intelligence, hard- and software as well as digitalization in Europe. However, to be more proactive in the future and meet competitors like China and the US eye-to-eye, Europe needs to step up its game. Europe needs to do a better job in connecting the dots and have a master plan ready to implement.

Europe produces the majority of excellent scientific data, but the actual products are still made else were. This needs to change. The fragmented internal market in the EU is challenging even though the young generation in Europe has the right mission-oriented mindset and is ready to take responsibility. The unanimous opinion was that the next generation can definitely make the difference – provided they are equipped with the right framework.

The dialogue will continue

The participants agreed to continue the fruitful dialogue later this year and keep exchanging on the challenges and possible solutions of digitalization. As vibrant actors of their innovation ecosystems, universities of science and technology are well-equipped to tackle the challenges the digital sphere comes with.