Jean-Claude Juncker: EU President does not own a smartphone despite saying 'our future is digital'

'I shouldn’t say it but I have to say it'

Aatif Sulleyman
Friday 30 June 2017 13:26
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EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker has revealed that he does not own a smartphone.

The president of the European Commission made the admission while speaking about the growing importance of technology.

He said he doesn’t need to be “a techie” to know that “our future is digital”.

According to AFP, EU sources have said that he uses “an old Nokia mobile phone”.

Mr Juncker was speaking alongside the prime minister of Estonia, which has transformed its post-Soviet economy in part through new technology. As his government takes the rotating chair of EU councils, premier Juri Ratas called for a new free movement of data across EU borders to stimulate economic growth in the bloc.

“I shouldn’t say it but I have to say it: I still don’t have a smartphone,” Juncker, the 62-year-old former prime minister of Luxembourg, told a news conference after Ratas had spoken.

The Baltic leader, 24 years his junior, had teased him about his lack of mobile connection, Juncker said, by sending him a postcard “like in the 19th century” to invite him to Tallinn.

“But even without being a techie I know that our future is digital,” the European Commission president insisted.

“Digital is the DNA of your country and it needs to become part of the European DNA,” he told Ratas.

A former Estonian premier runs the digital portfolio in Juncker’s Commission in Brussels. The executive’s programme, backed by national governments, includes commitments to build a “digital single market” for Europe and favour tech investment.

“President Juncker said that he expects the Estonian presidency to make substantial progress especially in digital themes,” Ratas said. “The free movement of data is a precondition for the Digital Single Market.

“To enable the free movement of data in Europe, trust and security need to be increased. To this end, we need to put our focus also on cybersecurity issues.”

Estonia as built up its own cyber defences for fear of disruption from neighbouring Russia.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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