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16 Mar - 20 Mar


EU Joins South by Southwest® Digital Experience, March 16-20

Organised by EU Delegation to the US


The European Union will join the dynamic digital experience of South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Online for its annual EU@SXSW(link sends e-mail) event, highlighting European innovation and culture. From March 16 through 20, the festival will for the first time be virtual and accessible to global audiences with keynotes, conference sessions, world-class networking, and the unexpected discoveries that are always a part of SXSW.

“This year’s festival comes at a special time for the EU-US relationship,” said European Union Ambassador to the United States Stavros Lambrinidis. “We are witnessing the dawn of a new transatlantic era with a strong focus on how Europe and the United States can collaborate on everything from digital transformation to the greening of our economies. And that collaborative spirit – how we can work closely together and learn from each other - is also very much at the heart of our South-by-Southwest programming.”

Notable speakers include European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager; U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar; European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel; European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová; Director-General for Research and Innovation Jean-Eric Paquet; Co-Founder and President, Center for Humane Technology Tristan Harris; and Michelle Patron, Senior Director of Sustainability Policy, Microsoft (US).

Join the EU for thought-provoking discussions and presentations about connectivity, collaboration, and innovation. Learn how to participate in EU funded research, take part in a future-focused discussion about what a new social contract for big tech could look like, and discover how privacy and surveillance has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics range from Europe’s recently released “Democracy Action Plan” to the latest in tech. The EU will participate in the SXSW Panel Picker official events, which require a SXSW badge for access, as well as five open-to-all conversations. The SXSW Panel Picker events can be viewed by logging in with a SXSW Online badge at and will be available for streaming from March 16-20.

Select discussions will be live streamed. EU@SXSW(link sends e-mail) is free to attend. The event hashtag is #EUatSXSW.

The daily schedule for the EU@SXSW(link sends e-mail) event follows and is subject to change:

Tuesday, March 16

Available On-Demand starting at 10:00 a.m. CST / 11:00 a.m. EST / 16:00 CET

SXSW Panel Picker: How Europe Scales Up Great Startups: The many trials of 2020 have exposed the inadequacy of business as usual in the innovation pipeline. Great ideas arise everywhere, every day. The challenge is to make it easier for researchers and innovators to become entrepreneurs, bring their ideas to market, create jobs, and improve quality of life for the rest of society. The European Innovation Council offers a visionary approach to capitalizing on science, innovative SMEs, and start-ups. The panel will discuss how supporting high-risk, high-impact ideas and turning science into new business can ensure a just transition to a new economy that works for all people. Presenters: Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Sport, European Commission; Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, Founder and CEO, TheVentureCity; Ana Maiques, CEO, Neuroelectrics, and Jim Snabe, Chair, Siemens.

Available On-Demand starting at 10:00 a.m. CST / 11:00 a.m. EST / 16:00 CET

SXSW Panel Picker: Can Democracy Survive #FakeNews?: Disinformation and #fakenews exploit divisions within society, exacerbating threats and even inciting violence – as observed with the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill. The rapid growth of online platforms has opened up new vulnerabilities and made it more difficult to maintain the integrity of elections, ensure a free and plural media, and protect the democratic process from disinformation and other manipulation. Citizens in both Europe and the United States need to know how information reaches them and where it comes from. What responsibility should social media platforms have for taking over the public square and controlling our access to facts, news, and, ultimately, the truth? This session will address Europe’s recently released “Democracy Action Plan,” with a discussion on how to facilitate a conversation with the United States on the global rules that should be in place to prevent manipulation of information on social media and other tech platforms to curb the current dis-information crisis. Presenter: Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová. Moderator: Kevin Roose, Technology Columnist, The New York Times.

Time: 1:00 p.m. CST / 2:00 p.m. EST / 19:00 CET

Horizon Europe: Investing in a Sustainable, Fair Prosperous Future: Europe’s recovery from the pandemic will be firmly rooted in research and innovation and in pursuit of Europe’s goals of green and digital transitions. The Horizon Europe funding program will be key to turning an immense challenge into an opportunity by not only supporting the recovery but also by investing in Europe’s future. Presenter: Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission. Moderator: Senior Media Advisor and Content Advisor, Delegation of the European Union to the United States Kasper Zeuthen.

Wednesday, March 17

Time: 10:00 a.m. CST / 11:00 a.m. EST / 16:00 CET

Joining Forces: A Techno-Democratic Approach to Big Tech: Citizens everywhere are questioning the power wielded by “Big Tech” in their daily lives – from online privacy protections and facial recognition systems to unabridged access to news and facts. Building upon their shared democratic values, can the United States and the European Union stand together against unaccountable surveillance and online disinformation campaigns to prevent the erosion of democratic social institutions? Are techno-democratic “rules of the road” for Big Tech necessary? Presenters: Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director, Stanford University's Cyber Policy Center; Dr. Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School; and Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen, Tech Ambassador (Denmark). Moderator: Evi Fuelle, Advisor, Digital Economy Policy, Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

Thursday, March 18

Time: 11:00 a.m. CST / 12:00 p.m. EST / 17:00 CET

European Green Deal: Innovative Ideas for the Recovery: In the past thirty years, the European Union has reduced its emissions by 23 percent while growing GDP by 61 percent – and has committed to the goal of zero emissions by 2050. Will COVID recovery derail this goal, or can new tools like the digital services tax, carbon border adjustment mechanism and a commitment to growth through green trade help to advance the recovery and fight climate change? Presenter: Thomas Gerassimos, Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission. Moderator: Ben Beachy, Director of the Sierra Club’s Living Economy program.

Friday, March 19

Time: 11:00 a.m. CST / 12:00 p.m. EST / 17:00 CET

SXSW Panel Picker: Forging a New Social Contract for Big Tech: Beyond privacy, revised liability laws can hold companies accountable for what they disseminate online. Antitrust actions could check the flow of wealth to the small number of companies that control platforms, aggregators, and algorithms. A lightweight horizontal regulation could add a safety layer to the high-risk applications of artificial intelligence. This panel will discuss the role for technology companies in the 21st Century and what a new "social contract" could look like for Big Tech – in both Europe and the United States. Presenters: US Senator Amy Klobuchar; Denmark tech ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen; Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager; and President & Co-Founder Center for Humane Technology Tristan Harris.

Time: 12:00 p.m. CST / 1:00 p.m. EST / 18:00 CET

Getting to Net-Zero with Digital Tech: The European growth model based on green recovery turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity by investing in our future. The digital tech sector is driving the development of new services and solutions to optimize responses to the climate crisis. The integration of new technologies such as AI will further amplify this trend. Join the world's leading technology companies to hear how new tech is supercharging climate action across the Atlantic. Presenters: Ditte Juul Joergensen, Director General for Energy, European Commission; Lubomila Jordanova, CEO, Planet-A; Kate Brand, Sustainability Officer, Google; Michelle Patron, Senior Director of Sustainability Policy, Microsoft and Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer, SAP. Moderator: Justin Worland, Senior Climate Correspondent, Time Magazine.

Saturday, March 20

Time: 10:00 a.m. CST / 11:00 a.m. EST / 16:00 CET

Tune Up! Raising the Bar on Gender Parity In Music: This interactive conversation with music sector experts will look at gender equality initiatives in Europe and assess their potential to grow in the US. How divided or connected are states in the US compared to countries in the EU, and what responsibility do cities/funders have? What is the role of the commercial music sector, and how has that been harnessed in Europe? What organizations are becoming more involved in social justice, and does it work? Presenters: Natalie Mets, Co-founder of the community radio IDA operating in Tallinn and Helsinki; Corinne Sadki, Advisor for the Centre National de la Musique, in charge of European Affairs and Gender Equality; Lena Ingwersen, Project Manager for the Music Cities Network and Cultural & Artist Manager, professional DJ and a member of the European Keychange Development Program 2020.

Author and more info: EU Joins South by Southwest® Digital Experience, March 16-20 - European External Action Service (