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Digital Europe: Meet the Female Politicians Shaping the Future

Part 3: Luxembourg

How a tiny country succeeds in facing a huge task like digitalization, we asked Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation, Humanitarian Affairs, and Consumer Protection. Learn about Luxembourg’s 360-degree strategy and the advantages of being a “living laboratory"

The motto of Digital Luxembourg is “Our focus isn’t technology, it’s you.” How do you implement this strategy?

Let me first point out that the new government created a separate Ministry for Digitalization in Luxembourg.

In my role as Minister for Consumer Protection and as a strong believer in the power of a digital single market, I advocate for a modern consumer policy that is fully in line with user needs. Considering the fast technological changes, current rules are simply outdated and require a facelift. In order to maintain consumer trust in the digital market and facilitate the needed shift to a circular economy, data protection by design and by default is key. Putting the focus on people means caring just as much for people’s private lives as for their full freedom of choice while using the newest digital tools. In regards to my second portfolio, development cooperation, the motto of Digital Luxembourg clearly fits the aim of the EU Digital4Developpment strategy I subscribed to no later than last week. Thanks to the mainstreaming of digitalization into EU development policy, interventions will have a greater transformative potential and create direct positive impact on people’s lives.

You are the first European country to create an artificial intelligence (AI) partnership with NVIDIA to start an AI lab in Luxembourg. How does this help to digitalize your country?

Partnering with a global pioneer in AI technology is part of setting the scene for a unique world-class ecosystem. Boosting research and innovation by facilitating access to cutting-edge equipment is a path for new ways to tackle the world’s most challenging problems and sustainable development goals.

Your focus is on education, cybersecurity, the Internet of things, and Fintech. Which of these is the most important in your opinion and how do you prioritize?

As far as my political portfolios are concerned, I clearly focus on education for development, aiming to assure a maximum outreach to the millions of young people in need of education and born into so-called fragile countries. For the consumer, I believe that the Internet of things will generate a change of paradigm and therefore require most of our attention in the near future.

What are the three current digitalization projects undertaken by the Luxembourg Government?

For sure the setting up of a dedicated ministerial resort for digitalization within the Ministry of State. Strong political support is needed to boost the structural changes and investments required to head for excellence as a digital nation. Engaging the research community with tech leaders, as well as investing in the digital skills bridge is part of a 360° country strategy, aiming to leave no one behind while striving for innovation.

How does a tiny country like Luxembourg compete in a huge global transformation like digitalization? Do you in some way feel limited?

Luxembourg is a living laboratory and has been able to attract many outstanding actors needed for fruitful partnerships over the last years. Small size can be an advantage when it comes to prototyping whole of government approaches as well as new types of ecosystems.

What drives you and excites you about digitalization? Do you think digitalization also affects women and create a paradigm shift in gender equality?

Digitalization has an enormous potential to enable better lives. It is very challenging to be part of a generation that has to make the right decisions in order not to miss momentum and get the best out of the new technologies. Global outreach for education and digital skills will definitely affect women and leapfrog gender equality through empowerment.

 

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