Webbinarium A Vision for Digital Europe

23 Nov 2020 11:00 - 23 Nov 2020 12:15

With Thomas Gegenhuber, Maja Fjaestad, Karin Pettersson, Jens Zimmermann and German Bender.

Please register here for a reminder the same day.

Digital platforms have become a part of our everyday life. Not only do they shape large parts of the commercial internet – they also rearrange traditional markets and industries. The road to a platform economy goes hand in hand with a strong concentration of market power. This poses dangers from the perspective of competition and democracy. The platform economy challenges the European economic and social welfare model in other ways as well. There are growing calls for regulation, so that small businesses have a chance on the market, consumers and workers are protected. But how do we tame these powerful platforms? 

In this web seminar we will discuss the recent FES study A Vision for Digital Europe: From the taming of unruly platforms, written by Thomas Gegenhuber of Leuphana University Lüneburg. The author argues that between the digital capitalism of the United States, driven by shareholder value, and the Chinese variant, which combines technological aptitude with state control, there should be room for an independent European vision: digital humanism. Regulation of platforms is an important first step.

To realise a model of digitalisation that has “people at its heart”, Europe will have to place digitalisation at the service of values such as equality, democracy and justice. This calls for a differentiated response, as different types of platforms require different regulatory strategies. To tame the platform economy, politicians in Europe must act in a resolute, but differentiated and coordinated manner.

Some of the questions that will be adressed in this seminar are: What is the vision of digital humanism? How do we reach it? What role do alternative public platforms play? How do we achieve fair competition? And how can it affect Europe’s competitiveness and economic growth?


Thomas Gegenhuber is Junior professor of Business Management, in particular for digital transformation, at Leuphana University Lüneburg.

Maja Fjaestad is State Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Before she served as Head of Social Policy in the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union. She worked also as a researcher in the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, where she was awarded a PhD in technology in 2010.

Jens Zimmermann is member of the German Bundestag and there he is member of the Committees on Digital Agenda. In addition to that he is the digital policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group.

Karin Pettersson is Culture Editor at Aftonbladet and co-author (with Martin Gelin) of the book Internet är trasigt – Silicon Valley och demokratins kris.

German Bender is head of Labor Market and Education Policy at Arena Idé, and PhD candidate at Stockholm School of Economics.


11:00 – 11:05 Welcome by Philipp Fink, Director of FES Nordic Countries

11:10 – 11:30 Presentation of the report “A vision for digital Europe. From the taming of platforms to a form of digital humanism“ by Thomas Gegenhuber (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

11:30 – 11:40 Comment by Maja Fjaestad, State Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs

11:40 – 11:50 Comment by Jens Zimmermann (MP Member of the Committees on Digital Agenda and for Finance, digital policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group)

11:50 – 12:10 Discussion with Karin Pettersson, Thomas Gegenhuber, Jens Zimmermann and Maja Fjaestad

12:10 – 12:15 Wrap-up & End

Moderation: German Bender


Arena Idé is a progressive non-partisan think tank, financed by the Swedish trade union movement 

FES Nordic Countries is the office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung for the Nordic Region