Session Summary:  Growing the Digital Economy in CEE

H.E. Veronika Remišová, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development, Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic  

H.E. Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of the Republic of Estonia (virtually) 

H.E. Boštjan Koritnik, Minister of Public Administration of the Republic of Slovenia (virtually) 

Michael Froman, Vice Chairman and President, Strategic Growth, Mastercard, Washington, D.C.   (virtually) 

Jeff Bullwinkel, Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Europe, Brussels  

Led by: Tyson Barker, Head, Technology and Global Affairs, German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin


This panel focused mainly on the question of how we can grow the digital economy in CEE. All agreed significant investments are needed to rebuild the economy after the pandemic situation. All panellists also said there is still space for more specific cooperation between all European countries regarding the digital economy. 

Digitalization is one of the priorities of all panellists, and the digital economy is still discussed globally. After the Covid period, all must adapt to the new digital era. It also applies to SME (small and medium enterprises) as well as big technological companies. Jeff Bullwinkel from Microsoft said that personal data is fundamental and its security as well. 

Digital sovereignty has also its place in European discussion, and the following Slovenian presidency will focus specifically on that. When it comes to privacy, we need to find the borders between regulation and business freedom.  

 When discussing plans how to rebuild our economy based on digitalization, Slovakia wants to create one of the fastest computer systems in cooperation with academic leaders, leading technology companies, and other experts. Priority for the European Union should be keeping well-educated people in Europe, as Veronika Remisova said. 

The discussion also focused on digital infrastructure and services. The panellists pointed out that we need to focus on education during the 4th—industrial revolution and the internet of things. (IoT). All of that is connected to education, but we cannot forget about disabled people or others who do not have digital skills.