Can a bunch of greying politicians in Brussels really get with it?

Written by on May 6, 2015 in News with 0 Comments
Jyrki Katainen, a former Finnish premier,  trying to buy "Investment for Dummies" online.

Jyrki Katainen, a former Finnish premier, trying to buy “Investment for Dummies” online.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Can a bunch of greying politicians in Brussels really get with it and give Europe a revolutionary open market in digital technology?

Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU executives poked fun at their own generation in an online video posted on Twitter (see below) on Wednesday to try and convince younger Europeans that they can.

The advert for a new Digital Single Market reflects a push by Juncker, president of the European Commission since November, to convince an ever more eurosceptic public that the EU is politically legitimate and listens to their concerns.

“Even techies like me know that technology has to be our future,” the 60-year-old former prime minister of Luxembourg says with heavy irony into the camera, before attempting a vain, touchscreen-style swipe gesture across a pad of writing paper.

The “old continent” has seen U.S. firms dominate its new technology sector and EU efforts to break that hold have drawn charges of protectionism from the White House. Juncker insists, however, his aim is a more dynamic sector that can create jobs.

Other commissioners also ham it up in his 90-second video, with onscreen graphics showing them exchanging phone messages across a meeting room or sharing documents on tablets.

Estonia’s Andrus Ansip, who oversees digital strategy, frowns as he is denied access to an online video. The former prime minister has often complained of national “geoblocking” that prevents him watching soccer from Estonia when he is in Brussels.

Jyrki Katainen, a former Finnish premier who is running a plan to promote capital spending, grimaces in horror when a shopping site shows cross-border postage in the EU costs more than the book he is trying to buy online — “Investment for Dummies”.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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