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Interview with Eva Paunova

Bulgarian MEP Eva Paunova Maydell was awarded with the European Parliamant Magazine´s MEP 2017 New Technologies Award and gave end of May an exclusive interview to ECWT

1.      How do you see the role of women in the Digital Economy?
Leading the digital economy, as some in IBM, Oracle, YouTube already do. The digital economy only can benefit from the creativity and attention to detail that a woman can bring to a process.

2.      What are your key slogans for future Europe?
“Go digital or go home!” – Europe has to go digital to remain prosperous and competitive.
There is a big challenge ahead and this is the digital skills gap.
In less than a decade the level of IT skills will be the difference between those who are successful in life and those who are not. I also believe that technologies, the Internet, the digital economy are flourishing only if we have a united Europe, meaning creating a Digital Single Market and not 28 Single Markets.

3.      You are the winner of the MEP Awards 2017 for The New Technologies for which we warmly congratulate you. What do you think is the importance of developing e-skills and becoming an e-inclusive society?
It is crucial for the new generation to be e-skilled.
The economy of Europe is already transforming and the skills that were so much valued yesterday, will not be so useful tomorrow. From a more institutional European level if we need to tackle the social and labour exclusion of all those young people who prefer to use social benefits and stay home; if we want to retain an achieving and prosperous Europe; if we want the EU to be a real digital competitor to US, China – we need to start teaching e-skills  and skills for success as early as possible.

4.      How Europe can support the young girls in developing their career in digital business?
Europe provides many opportunities in different ways. First, it helps the national educational systems adapt to the changing environment. Secondly, it helps many people learn how to start a business, there is EU funding that supports the business ventures of the young people in the digital sphere and what is most important – the EU gives freedom. EU is a free space where you can travel and exchange views. There is no better way to come up with an innovative idea, than going to unknown places, meeting new people and cultures, studying in different universities.

EU also tries to guarantee equal opportunities for the women and men. Nobody likes meetings where all the people in the room are men. Providing equal treatment and opportunities is a core European value.

5.      Bulgarian competition Entrepregirl just finished and proved once again the great entrepreneurial potential of young women. What is your advice to all ladies who are now making their first steps?
I would rather take advice from them instead of giving one. Yet, if I have to support them I would tell them to be brave and bold in every step they take and to believe in the immense potential each and every one of us possess!

Eva Maydell became an MEP in 2014, and in 2015 she won the MEP award for best newcomer. A member of the internal market and consumer protection committee, Maydell is strongly committed to supporting SMEs, start-ups and digital innovation across Europe. The Bulgarian deputy is particularly active on eSkills and is very involved in EU code week, a yearly event held across Europe to teach children and young people about coding. When she is not participating in debates on the digital single market, Maydell is a frequent speaker at events on digital literacy, innovation and the importance of education. She is Parliament’s internal market committee opinion rapporteur on the European cloud initiative. Maydell is Vice-President of the European Movement International (EMI) and chairs its political committee on jobs, competitiveness and sustainable growth.