Google in Europe

Juncker embraces creators — and their concerns

History was made on Thursday, when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sat down with some of Europe’s brightest young YouTube Creators. He spent an hour with Jonas EmsLaetitia Birbes, and Łukasz Jakóbiak answering questions from them and their millions of followers on subjects from the refugee crisis to endocrine disruptors.

“I'm not a big social media user, I don't have the time,” admitted the President. But with a bit of help from Debating Europe and Euronews he took questions in a variety of backdrops, including their apartments. And he had a clear message for European youth. “In dealing with the outside world we have to be able to act not just as an economic power, but also to transmit European values.”

Discussing what Europe needs to grow, one of his solutions will be music to millennial ears. “We want wi-fi everywhere,” he told Jonas — who has 1.2 million YouTube followers. “We need to have connectivity right across europe to ensure that nobody is excluded from the new technologies and what they offer.”

He also shared his views on gay marriage. “Why should states prohibit people from loving one another or coming together? I've never understood that.”

One reason YouTube is so popular is that the stars speak directly to their audience with #nofilter. Laetitia Birbes wasn’t afraid to use this opportunity to ask hard-hitting questions on the environment, taxation and lobbying. But her fresh, young approach was clearly a hit. “Is this your first interview with YouTubers?” asked Laetitia? “Yes, but not my last,” the President replied.

Last up was Łukasz — who flipped it round and asked President Juncker what he knew about his TV channel 20m2 — broadcast entirely from his small flat in Warsaw and filmed on his phone. He also asked what young Europeans could do to have more influence. “By taking the floor. By being more vocal. By being critical,” Juncker replied. “If you respect someone you discuss with them.”

It was great to see that discussion taking place today. And the participants definitely had a great time — this GIF says it all! Łukasz got the famous kiss Juncker uses to greet heads of state at meetings in Brussels. Danke!