French Minister backs stronger EU links

A commitment to strengthening partnerships between the University and Europe is vitally important, according to a French Government minister.

Minister of State for Digital Affairs and Innovation, Mme Axelle Lemaire, visited the University yesterday for talks about digital innovation and strengthening Franco-British links during and after Brexit.


In this short interview, Mme Lemaire expresses her desire to see higher education institutions in the UK work closely with partners in the EU, post Brexit.

Digital economy

Mme Lemaire has been Minister of State for Digital Affairs in the French Government since April 2014. She drafted and promoted the Digital Republic Bill which aims to bolster the data economy and transparency of government action. It seeks to establish new rights for internet users and to make digital technology more available to everyone.

In a groundbreaking political move, a government Bill was, for the first time, submitted for public consultation on a website. More than 150,000 votes were received and there were in excess of 20,000 participants. This new form of contributory democracy helped make tangible improvements to the Bill’s wording.

It was a pleasure to welcome Mme Axelle Lemaire to the University and we look forward to sharing ideas about how we can strengthen relationships before and after Brexit. Digital technologies will be key in maintaining and building these important bonds with colleagues and collaborators across Europe. As a community, we are determined that the University will continue as a European and international university and I know that we will be even more global and outward-looking in the future, not less.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal, the University of Edinburgh