On 9th November 2016, Dana Schurmans, ACP YPN Digital Inclusion Expert and PhD researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, shared her ideas on entrepreneurship and cybersecurity with Members of the Internal Market Committee at the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission in Brussels. These European Youth Hearings are follow-up to the European Youth Event (EYE2016) in Strasbourg in May, where ACP YPN led the first ever ACP youth delegation to EYE2016. More than 7,500 young people came together to discuss, debate and exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, and just 12 were chosen to present their ideas. Dana is one of three ACP YPN EYE2016 delegation member’s that was chosen, as well as a fourth ACP YPN Ambassador. Dana said: “I felt really privileged to have people in the European Parliament considering in my ideas for improving online platforms and collaborative economy, and protecting online consumers against cyber risks”. See her interventions in French and Dutch here.
Dana outlined two initiatives:
- A European Investment Bank-led EU Crowdfunding Programme with dedicated funds for young entrepreneurs. In her opinion, this could facilitate creative, innovative and sustainable ideas to pressing societal challenges (poverty, health, education, mobility, housing, malnutrition, climate change…). Dana highlighted that the Juncker Investment Plan offers high hopes in creating a significant number of good quality jobs for young people. She adds: “We certainly agree that the Investment plan should have a lasting impact, therefore, the project must invest in social enterprises which use online platforms.”
- She also advocated for the establishment of a Cybersecurity Helpdesk to raise awareness on digital risks. Dana said: “From the lessons learned of my research on digital exclusion, I know that for a successful Digital Single Market strategy, European policies need to ensure that consumers; including those with low digital skills, understand their rights over their data and how to manage these rights in relation to businesses and governments”. This unique EU website would be promoted by a European video campaign.
Dana has already received positive feedback from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and shall be following up on both issues with several different European political parties that have shown interest to develop them further.
Ms. Dana Schurmans is researcher at the University Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is also pursuing a joint doctoral thesis between UCL and VUB in communication science entitled ‘New narrative for digital inequalities from the perspective of disadvantaged youth communities’. Dana is Digital inclusion expert for ACP YPN.
Contact her by mail Dana.schurmansATgmail.com or follow her on TWITTER: @DanaSchurmans