One of the main guests was EU Commission Günther Oettinger, who called for making faster progress in creating a digital internal market in order to further develop Europe's IT capabilities. The CeBIT plays a key role in that respect. "CeBIT is the trade fair of openness toward the rest of the world," said Oettinger, something he believes is more important than ever.
The importance of a European digital agenda was also highlighted by Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's minister for economic affairs and energy. "Europe needs the best digital infrastructure in the world." Education is the way to achieve that, and if Europe wants to remain competitive, countries need make the necessary investments, he said.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek filled hall 9 with a buccaneering spirit. Probably inspired by the early days of Apple, Hayek talked about the value of not adjusting in the digital era. "We need more than visions. We need emotions and passion." Other speakers included Professor Dr. Johanna Wanka, Germany's minister for education and research; Thorsten Dirks, president of Bitkom; and Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation.
Each of the speakers explained what 'digitization' meant for them personally. All of the many guests at last night's event were also able to share their opinions via live voting. And the result is summarized here: