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Volker Wissing

No list of the most influential people in the digital world would be complete without someone from the German government. And Volker Wissing, the country’s newly appointed minister for digital and transport, does double duty, as Berlin also holds the yearlong G7 presidency. Wissing, from Germany’s Free Democratic Party, has a lot on his plate. Europe’s largest economy is often criticized for failing to help local startups compete on the global stage, while many of the country’s legacy companies like Volkswagen and Siemens are falling behind in the race to go digital.

It’s not going to be plain sailing for the 52-year-old lawyer. The other half of his portfolio — transport — is likely to dominate much of his work, particularly as German automakers shift from traditional engines to electric cars. The country’s other ministries, like the one in charge of Germany’s economy and climate change policy, have also historically played a large role in Germany’s digital policy. One to watch: Wissing will present a new digital strategy this summer, though a specific date has yet to be announced.

“We didn’t really have a digital strategy in the past,” the German minister told an event in Berlin in March. He said the focus would be incorporating digital into how the government provides services to locals, particularly around health and education, and how public data is shared more broadly. The work would be split between emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and digital infrastructure, like the country’s telecommunications network. “Digitization is now getting the status it deserves,” he added.

What to watch out for this year: Wissing will chair the meetings of G7 digital ministers, where thorny issues like international data transfers and cybersecurity threats are expected to be hashed out.

What’s their superpower: Representing Europe’s largest economy on the global stage when it comes to championing Berlin’s renewed effort to go digital.

Influence score: 17/30

https://ift.tt/lZbTLED May 18, 2022 at 07:30AM
POLITICO

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