European Business Review (EBR)

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ISSUE 2-2018 / YEAR 21st - PRICE 5,00 € / $6,00

“WHAT HAPPENS NEXT” Commissioner Bieńkowska:

THE FUTURE OF EU TOURISM European Business Summit 2018:


Eurochambres 60 years:




INDEX Founder

Konstantinos C. Trikoukis Chairman

Athanase Papandropoulos




Dramatic political changes in Italy and Spain

Britain’s Confused Soul in the Age of Brexit


26 EBS 2018

Commissioner Gabriel: The future of Europe is digital

European Business Summit 2018: Leading in a changing world



Eurochambres 60 years

Commissioner Bieńkowska: We are optimistic for the future of EU tourism

Christos K. Trikoukis Editor in Chief

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By N. Peter Kramer, Editor-in-chief EBR

Dramatic political changes in Italy and Spain


e write at the very beginning of June 2018. Two new national governments were sworn in in the 3rd and 4th biggest economies of the Euro-zone. Two new Prime-Ministers entered the EU arena. One from Italy, Giuseppe Conte; one from Spain, the Socialist Pedro Sanchez.

Although none of the new Italian coalition partners campaigned to leave the Euro, there was speculation about the new government’s commitment to the Euro. Uncomfortable memories of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis in 2010 re-awakened. Bond yields spiked, ‘Brussels’ in the person of the German (!) Commissioner Oettinger, who not so long ago insulted Jews, women and Mediterranean Europeans, reacted in his usual arrogant and denigrating way. But the pressure has eased since Italy’s anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and the far-right Lega got the approval of their President, who, in the first instance, vetoed the new coalition, according to reliable sources,under the influence of ‘Brussels’. Leaving the euro is not on the agenda in Rome, but there is no doubt that the new Italian government will be on a collision course with ‘Brussels’ over the tight strictures of the single currency and the fiscal stance that it demands. Even if disaster has been averted up until now, the political fragility of the Eurozone remains very clear. ‘The guardians of the single currency failed to mend the roof while the sun was shining, and are now watching storms buffet their fragile edifice’, wrote the Financial Times. How very different was the political change in Spain. Mariano Rajoy - a valued member of the EPP of Merkel, Tusk and Juncker - became the first Spanish prime minister in the country’s democratic history to be ousted by parliament. Although Rajoy persevered that he had clean hands, the corruption scandals in his centre-right party Partido Popular, descendants of dictator Franco,brought him down. The scale of the corruption by the PPappears to be of such dramatic proportions that even the right wing leaning Spanish judiciary couldn’t overlook it anymore. The new Spanish Prime Ministersaid the change in government would allow Spain to ‘recover the dignity of its institutions’. Sanchez pointed to Rajoy’s harsh actions against supporters of Catalan independence: for the eyes of the world, the dreaded Guardia Civil maltreated pregnant women, old people and fathers with children on their arms, who were participating in a peaceful demonstration in Barcelona. Times have changed. Now, Pedro Sanchez needs the votes of the Catalan (and Basque) independent parties in the national Parliament to stay in power.







Britain’s Confused Soul in the Age of Brexit Britain appears to be abandoning core virtues – its ability to be ruthlessly wedded to a realistic pragmatism and its relentless pursuit of its own commercial advantage by Stephan Richter *


he Germans and the British have much more in common than they are usually willing to admit. History plays – and especially two wars during the course of the 20th century – a big role in that. Against that backdrop, the fact that the encroaching reality of Brexit opens up a deep trench yet again is especially unfortunate. As the participants at the recent 68th German-British Königswinter conference, held in Oxford, could experience firsthand, a great deal of surrealism still hovers over the British Brexit maneuver. The British still have no realistic plan of how to proceed in their future relations with Europe. They do have a long wish list. The British side also still pins high hopes, in the same way as the Chinese do, on winning individual EU member nations for their cause and thus splitting the EU 27. For Germans, this is particularly hard to comprehend. After all, the British appear to be abandoning core virtues – in particular, their ability to be ruthlessly wedded to a realistic pragmatism and their relentless pursuit of their own commercial advantage. Unfazed by that assessment, the British side feels pleased that the Germans seem to have finally dropped their hope of a repeal of the Brexit. HEARTLESS GERMANS However, when it is pointed out by the German side that the British also have to cope with all the consequences of the exit maneuver, they consider that at least heartless. Occasionally, they resort to more martial expressions.

What is new on the German side is the clarity with which the consequences of the exit maneuver are described. Instead of fumbling around as usual, even the representatives of German companies in Britain are no longer beating around the bush in their assessment of the situation. They are clear about Europe’s reality of increasingly tightly-timed supply chains. Fitting into that is of extreme importance to an island economy. A smoothly functioning import and export regime – i.e., staying in the Customs Union – is considered a prerequisite. Otherwise, the British side is told, count on us having no other choice than to relocate production facilities to the continent. That, of course, will have direct consequences in the UK labor market. Despite all British insistence on Brexit, the Germans are still scratching their heads. Given that the UK is a traditional football nation, the British should know all about avoiding own goals. Instead, the UK seems keen on shooting a whole series of own goals via Brexit. Under those circumstances, it may not come as a surprise that Downing Street No. 10 exercises an extremely intense form of language control over all comments on Brexit from the British side. Indeed, this control freakdom has Chinese features. Despite all the British emphasis on the finality of Brexit, one still feels reminded of a trial separation in the context of divorce proceedings. But just as with Paul Giamatti and Maggie Siff, the couple at the center of the Sky series “Billions,” the audience still wonders about the separation maneuver. The couple still enjoys each other a great deal – and truly appears to need one another.





As regards Britain’s economic future, one thing is for sure: British workers are not served well by the pursuit of “splendid isolation.”

What is deemed as much more British is to stand alone and rather conduct a smaller orchestra – even if it is just the Commonwealth. But this, too, is a pipedream.

This is also the area where Germans and Britons could achieve much in common. That is especially apparent when you look at the efforts of Greg Clark, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He has not only talked about the need for a detailed “Industrial Strategy” for his country, but actually delivered one.

Of course, the group is reminiscent of British imperial times. But without India, with which the UK will have a very hard time negotiating a free trade agreement, and excluding Britain, all Commonwealth nations account for less than 3% of global economic output. No one can build a serious trade strategy on this.

That is a miracle in itself because the pursuit of such an approach has always been considered an anathema in the United Kingdom. It is traditionally frowned upon, especially in conservative circles, as the work of the devil — worse, the EU devil. In reality, this strategy could serve the UK well in the long term to increase its prosperity. Especially British industry has gained much momentum in the last two decades thanks to its ever closer integration into continental European supply chains. Instead of building on that track record of British re-industrialization, the Tory government insists on the EU exit. In the rare honest moments, this maneuver is justified with British unhappiness about the EU, where it is forced to play second fiddle. That this is largely due to British reservations about joining the club goes unmentioned.


This is one more reason why the German participants in the excellent Königswinter conferences still believe that the traditional British pragmatism must at some point resurface. The pursuit of its own commercial advantage is deeply encoded in the DNA of a trading nation like Britain. For now, the British side still continues to ride on the fumes of strange principles held sky high. In that particular regard, they now seem to strive after an approach to policymaking that is usually associated with being utterly German – and one that has tended to serve the Germans very poorly in the past. The more fixations come into play, the worse the outcomes. London could do worse than to think about that lesson of German history. * Stephan Richter *Publisher and editor-in-chief of “The Globalist”





Christine Lagarde: 3 priorities for the global economy In a speech in Hong Kong ahead of the 2018 International Monetary Fund/ World Bank Spring Meetings, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde called on policymakers to steer clear of protectionism, guard against rising fiscal and financial risks, and foster long-term growth that benefits everyone. by Christine Lagarde *


he world is currently experiencing a strong upswing that holds the promise of higher incomes and living standards. Delivering on this promise is critical, not just here in Asia but around the world. I have been calling on all governments to use the current growth momentum for much-needed policy actions and reforms, especially in labor markets and service sectors. These reforms are often


politically difficult, but they are more effective and easier to implement when economies are moving up, not down. Some governments have taken action, but more needs to be done. STATE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY The good news is that the economic picture is most-


ly bright – the sun is still shining. We see global momentum – driven by stronger investment, a rebound in trade, and favorable financial conditions – which is encouraging companies and households to increase their spending. That is why the IMF in January projected 3.9% global growth for 2018 and 2019, and as you will see from our forecast next week, we continue to be optimistic. Advanced economies are expected to grow above their medium-term potential this year and next. In Europe, for example, the upswing is now more widely spread across the region. The United States is already at full employment, and growth will likely accelerate further due to expansionary fiscal policy. Meanwhile, in Asia the outlook remains bright – which is good for everyone, because this region contributes close to twothirds of global growth. Challenges remain in some other emerging and developing countries – including in sub-Saharan Africa – though commodity exporters are experiencing a modest upswing. SO YES, THE CURRENT GLOBAL PICTURE IS BRIGHT. BUT WE CAN SEE DARKER CLOUDS LOOMING.

suffer as they become less dynamic than their foreign competitors. And yet, discussions about trade restrictions are often bound up with the concept of trade deficits and surpluses. Some people argue that these imbalances indicate unfair trade practices. Yes, there are unfair practices – which must be eliminated – and which can leave their mark on trade balances between two countries. But in general, these bilateral imbalances are a snapshot of the division of labor across economies, including global value chains. For example, a country that focuses on assembling smartphones will tend to have bilateral trade deficits with countries that produce the components, and surpluses with countries that buy the finished devices.

More importantly, unfair trade practices have little impact on a country’s overall trade deficit with the rest of the world. That imbalance is driven by the fact that a country spends above its income. The best way to address these macroeconomic I have been calling on all imbalances is not to impose governments to use the current tariffs, but to use policies growth momentum for muchthat affect the economy as a whole, such as fiscal tools or needed policy actions and reforms, structural reforms. especially in labor markets and

The reality is that the momentum expected for 2018 service sectors. Each country has a responand 2019 will eventually sibility to improve the trade slow. It will slow because of system by looking at its own fading fiscal stimulus, includpractices and by committing ing in the US and China; and to a level playing field where everyone follows the because of rising interest rates and tighter financial rules. This includes better protecting intellectual propconditions as major central banks normalize monetary erty, and reducing the distortions of policies that favor policy. Add to this the issue of aging populations and state enterprises. It also means trading by the rules – weak productivity, and you have a challenging medithe WTO rules that all 164 members agreed upon. um-term outlook, especially in the advanced world. What can policymakers do? I see three priorities that can make a difference. THREE PRIORITIES FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY 1. STEER CLEAR OF PROTECTIONISM First – governments need to steer clear of protectionism in all its forms. History shows that import restrictions hurt everyone, especially poorer consumers. Not only do they lead to more expensive products and more limited choices, but they also prevent trade from playing its essential role in boosting productivity and spreading new technologies. As a result, even protected industries eventually

We can all do more – but we cannot do it alone. Let us work together to build on forward-looking trade initiatives, including the recent agreement between Japan and the European Union, the new African Continental Free Trade Area, and the so-called TPP-11.And let us also ensure that policies help those affected by dislocations, whether from trade or technological advances. Consider the benefits of scaling up investment in training and social safety nets – so that workers can upgrade their skills and transition to higher-quality jobs. 2. GUARD AGAINST FISCAL AND FINANCIAL RISK Here, numbers tell the story.



New IMF analysis shows that, after a decade of easy financial conditions, global debt – both public and private – has reached an all-time high of $164 trillion. Compared to its 2007 level, this debt is now 40% higher, with China alone accounting for just over 40% of that increase.

So, using macroeconomic tools is critical. But it is not enough.

A major driver of this buildup is the private sector, which makes up two-thirds of the total debt level. But that is not the whole story.

Strengthening financial stability by increasing buffers in corporate and banking sectors is key, especially in large emerging markets such as China and India. This means reducing corporate debt and bolstering bank capital and liquidity where needed. It also means implementing policies to address booming housing markets, including here in Hong Kong.

Public debt in advanced economies is at levels not seen since World War II. And if recent trends continue, many low-income countries will face unsustainable debt burdens.

New IMF analysis shows that housing markets in major cities across the world are increasingly moving in tandem – which could amplify the financial and macroeconomic shocks coming from any one country.

That is why we need global buffers as well. High debt in low-income countries could jeopardize development goals as governments spend more on debt For one thing, we must keep our financial systems safe service and less on infrastructure, health, and educaby avoiding a rollback of the regulatory framework put tion. The bottom line is that high debt burdens have in place since the global financial crisis to boost capileft governments, companies, and households more tal and liquidity buffers. And vulnerable to a sudden tightthe international regulatoening of financial conditions. ry framework needs to keep This potential shift could Our latest research shows, however, pace with the rapidly evolvprompt market corrections, that some service sectors – led by ing fintech landscape to head debt sustainability concerns off new risks while harnessand capital flow reversals in transportation, communications ing the potential. emerging markets. So, we and business services – can must use the current window match the productivity levels of Most importantly, we want a of opportunity to prepare for manufacturing. This is critical for strong global financial safety the challenges ahead. countries such as the Philippines, net. Here the IMF plays a cenColombia and Ghana where tral role in helping countries This is about creating more to better cope with capital room to act when the next employment and output are shifting flow volatility in times of disdownturn inevitably comes from agricultural production to tress. – or as the economists like to higher-value services. say, it is about “building poliTogether these policy actions cy buffers.” will help sustain the current upswing. But it is also essenWhat does that mean speciftial to foster longer-term growth that is more sustainically? able and more widely shared. That is my third priority. For many economies, it means reducing government 3. FOSTER LONG-TERM GROWTH THAT BENdeficits, strengthening fiscal frameworks and placing EFITS EVERYONE public debt on a gradual downward path. This should be done in a growth-friendly way through more effiFostering stronger and more inclusive growth is a key cient spending and progressive taxation. It also calls challenge. for more exchange rate flexibility to cope with volatile capital flows, especially in emerging and developing If, as projected, advanced economies return to disapcountries. These efforts help reduce the severity and pointing medium-term growth, this would worsen ecoduration of recessions. nomic inequality, debt concerns and political polarization. At the same time, more than 40 emerging and For example, a recent study shows that the decline in developing countries are projected to grow more slowoutput after a financial crisis is less than 1% in a counly in per capita terms than advanced economies. This try with adequate fiscal and monetary buffers, but almeans slower improvements in living standards and a most 10% in a country with no buffers. widening income gap between those countries and the



transformation of government. When it comes to cutting-edge technologies and systems, public sectors can lead the way – and we are seeing great examples here in Asia. In India, citizens receive subsidies and welfare payments directly into their bank accounts, which are linked to unique biometric identifiers. In Australia, tax authorities collect information on wages in real time, which gives them immediate insight into the state of the economy. And in Hong Kong, bank customers will soon be able to use their mobile phone numbers and email addresses to transfer money or make retail purchases, thanks to a new, government-funded payment system.

advanced world. As I said earlier, the window of opportunity is open. But to boost productivity and potential growth, countries need to step up economic reforms and policy actions. Let me touch on two potential game-changers: (i) First, unlock the potential of the service sector, especially in developing economies.

These initiatives are just the beginning. Governments across the world are now also looking at ways of generating efficiency gains. By using new tools – such as big data analysis – governments can reduce these leakages, which are often directly related to corruption and tax evasion. Reducing leakages would enable countries to increase priority spending. The bottom line is that digital government can deliver public services more efficiently and more effectively, and help improve people’s lives.

In moving from an agriculture-based to a service-based economy, many of these countries are bypassing a traditional industrialization phase. This raises concerns that countries could get stuck at lower-productivity levels, with little chance of catching up to advanced economy incomes.


Our latest research shows, however, that some service sectors – led by transportation, communications and business services – can match the productivity levels of manufacturing. This is critical for countries such as the Philippines, Colombia and Ghana where employment and output are shifting from agricultural production to higher-value services. It is also important for the economic wellbeing of millions of women, who often account for the majority of service industry workers.

Or they can paint a new economic landscape – where open trade is fairer and more collaborative; where financial systems are safer and more supportive of economic growth; and where the digital revolution benefits not just the fortunate few but all people.

Unlocking this potential is not an easy task. It requires more public investment in education, training, and jobsearch assistance. It also means opening service sectors to more competition. At the global level, there is work to be done as well. We need to increase trade in services, including e-commerce, by reducing barriers in this area – which are still extremely high.

This generation of policymakers is facing a stark choice: They can simply copy the policies of the past, which have delivered mixed results – raising living standards substantially, but leaving too many behind.

As the great artist Henri Matisse once said: “Creativity takes courage.” We certainly need more courage – in the halls of government, in company conference rooms, and in our hearts and minds.

* Christine Lagarde Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

(ii) The second potential game-changer is the digital





Commissioner Gabriel: The future of Europe is digital by Eirini Sotiropoulou


espite the economic growth and innovation, the digital world raises crucial questions on a wide range of complex and demanding issues. The Bulgarian Commissioner for the Digital Economy & Society, Mariya Gabriel, talks to EBR regarding the hot topics in the digital agenda, focusing on the potential of Europe in this field. EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW: WHERE DOES THE EU STAND AT THE DIGITAL MARKET IN COMPARISON WITH INTERNATIONAL COMPETITORS, SUCH AS CHINA OR THE USA? COMMISSIONER MARIYA GABRIEL: According to the EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index, Europe can compare with the best worldwide, and some European countries are even far ahead. Europe is one of the world leading regions in industrial robotics with a share of more than 25% of supply and use. However, our findings also show that there is room for improvement. While China and the United States have ambitious government programmes to acquire the latest digital technologies that underpin digitisation, EU investment remains fragmented and is often insufficient. For example, the EU’s annual investment in high performance computing is about 60% of US levels. As a result, not only is there no EU supercomputer in the world top 10 ranking, but the EU’s capacities are insufficient to meet the growing demand for high-end private and public sector applications. However, EU member states last year committed themselves to join forces and take up this challenge. EBR: DO YOU THINK THAT DIGITISATION IN GREECE OR OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES THAT HAVE SUFFERED THE REPERCUSSION OF ECONOMIC CRISIS COULD BE AN IMPORTANT IMPETUS IN ATTRACTING INVESTMENTS? M.G.: Certainly digitisation represents an opportunity also for the countries that suffered the repercussion of economic crisis. It represents a source of economic growth and jobs creation, but the changes have to be

well managed, such as turning ongoing digital developments into real opportunities. New activities can emerge, but policies need to be put in place to address the adjustment costs that the digital transformation of the economy brings about the labour market in particular. We have the data economy that is growing quickly. Within less than two years it is expected to double its size reaching €739 billion by 2020, representing 4% of the overall EU GDP. For the countries embracing this revolution with technological know-how, the digital economy offers plenty of opportunities: for IT-savvy workers, for creative people, for SMEs, for traditional industries, for disadvantaged regions etc. However, promoting investments in the acquisition, re-skilling and advancement of digital skills not only for students but also for the workforce in general will be a prerequisite for companies to remain competitive and attract investments. Policies supporting the further advance of the digital transformation of the economy are necessary to keep focus on the advantages of digitisation and ensure strong commitment from all actors throughout the digital value chain (private and public). If you mention Greece, it is interesting to notice that Greece has a Ministry for Digital Policy since November 2016 and is developing strategies to increase digitisation of the Greek economy. Investing in providing firms with digital infrastructures will also ultimately deliver an optimal environment for businesses and SMEs to flourish. EBR: WHAT ARE THE COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE ERADICATION OF ONLINE ILLICIT CONTENT AND HATE SPEECH THAT IS INTERRELATED WITH THE TERRORIST PROPAGANDA? M.G.: The European Commission is very active in addressing illegal content online. Intermediaries have to demonstrate responsibility and remove illegal content proactively with a careful balance with freedom of speech. The objective of the recommendation is precisely to give platforms some guidance on the necessary measures to do this effectively. We encourage notably internet companies to take proactive measures



to ensure a swifter removal of illegal content online, in particular in the area of terrorism, hate speech and child abuse, with appropriate safeguards to avoid removal of legal content. Considering that terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours of its appearance online, all companies should remove such content within one hour from its referral as a general rule.Online intermediaries have also voluntarily committed to cooperate with the EU and its member states to fight illegal content online in several initiatives, including terrorism and of illegal hate speech. Member States and companies will be required to submit relevant information on terrorist content within three months, and other illegal content within six months. EBR: AS MANY POLITICAL LEADERS NOTED, THE MAJORITY OF FUNDS IN THE NEXT MULTIANNUAL FRAMEWORK WILL BE GIVEN TO EFFECTIVELY ADDRESS NEW PRIORITIES. IS THE DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM INCLUDED AMONG THESE PRIORITIES? M.G.: Our proposals for the future Multiannual Financial Framework will be shaped by the principle of European added value. The proposal of the Commission for the next Multiannual Financial Framework aligns better available financing with our political priorities. The new EU budget for the period 2021-2027 brings the greatest EU investment in digitisation. We proposed a new Digital Europe Programme of 9bn euro, which should build on and complement the investments done so far. The European Union will channel financial support in the development of high performance computers, improving and strengthening our cybersecurity capacities, in artificial intelligence to serve all economic sectors and in equipping our labour force with advanced digital skills. The programme will also finance the deployment of these capacities in all Member States. This is a first and very important step for the digital transformation of our economy and society. I count also on the Member States to follow the example, so we join efforts to face and benefit from the exponential speed at which the digital transformation unfolds. Digital transformation will also be one of the strategic policy areas receiving specific attention in our research and innovation programme, Horizon, as well as in Structural Funds, Connecting Europe Facility and the new financial support instrument, InvestEU. EBR: WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FACED BY THE EU AS FAR AS THE CYBERSECURITY SECTOR IS CONCERNED AND IN WHAT WAYS CAN WE MITIGATE THE GROW-


ING RISKS? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT EUROPE HAS UNDERESTIMATED CYBERCRIME IN GENERAL? M.G.: The high-profile WannaCry attacks on thousands of companies last year and the recent discovery of the hardware-related vulnerabilities in the processors we use every day show that the complexity, the scale and the impact of cyberattacks is growing, and that it is growing in parallel to the digitalisation of our economies and our society.Europe was hit by more than 4,000 ransomware attacks on average per day last year while 80% of European companies experienced at least one cybersecurity incident. In some countries, half of all crimes are now cybercrimes.Surveys suggest that 44% of consumers have been impacted by cybercrime in the last 12 months. The EU needs to be more resilient to cyber-attacks and therefore needs to create effective cyber deterrence, including through criminal law, to better protect Europe's citizens, businesses and public institutions. We have undertaken several initiatives in the past few years to improve the situation. With the Network Information Service Directive coming into force, there is a stronger legal basis for more cybersecurity in Europe in vital areas such important infrastructure. And in our 2017 cybersecurity package, we have proposed to give a new mandate to ENISA, the EU cybersecurity agency and to establish a EU framework for both cybersecurity certification and better cooperation in case of cyber crises. EBR: SCIENTIFIC STUDIES MENTION THAT FEMALE JOURNALISTS ARE UNDERREPRESENTED IN REPORTING POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT NEWS. IN ADDITION, WOMEN HOLD ONLY 7% OF CYBERSECURITY-RELATED JOBS IN EUROPE. WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PROMOTE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN MEDIA AND DIGITAL FIELD? M.G.: Promoting gender equality is a core and fundamental EU value, an EU objective and a driver for economic growth. In this sense, I launched on the 8 March a strategy for empowering women and girls in the digital and tech sectors. It focuses on main 3 areas: First, challenging the stereotypes and bias towards women that persist in society and in the digital economy. Second, improving the digital skills of women and girls and motivating and encouraging them to take on STEM and tech education and careers. Third, empowering women to uptake and prosper in the world of digital entrepreneurship and innovation. Thus, it is a surprise for no one that the media sector has a considerable say in what shapes our beliefs, values and perception of reality. ‘If you can see it, you can


be it’. This is why one of the three angles of the strategy tackles precisely the media. There are two key aspects of gender equality in the media sector that we need to address: 1) The participation of women in media organisations, i.e. those that make the news, programmes and content, as well as those that take the strategic decisions; 2) And, the presence and portrayal of women in media content. Because, indeed, whether it is about real-life women given a role in the public debate in media or about fictional characters in editorial or commercial content, a fair representation of the place that women play in society in the media is essential. But if mostly men make films, ads and news, how can this representation be fair? When it comes to the presence and portrayal of women in media content, the Women in Digital strategy has a solid ground. The centrepiece of EU media regulation, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sex in audiovisual commercial communications. Moreover, the 2006 Recommendation on the protection of minors and hu-

man dignity in the European audiovisual and online information services calls on the industry to combat such discrimination and to promote a diversified and realistic picture of the skills and potential of men and women in society. Member States have an obvious role to play in ensuring this. Thus, the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual will have a key role to play in this discussion. When it comes to the participation of women in media organisations or film making, significant inequalities, including under-representation and career barriers, remain entrenched in the media sector. This is something that the European Commission is attentive to, through the Media Pluralism Monitoring (MPM). The results of the MPM 2016 implementation show that the indicator on "Access to media for women" is among the top risk scores across all the areas evaluated by the MPM. The concerns are particularly strong about the representation of women in media organisations (at the level of management and among news reporters) and in news content. The results of the MPM show that several countries have very few women on Public Service Media (PSM) boards. Only two countries in Europe have PSM management boards that are composed of more than 50% women (Sweden 61% and Bulgaria 60%). These findings are in line with Eurostat data



and the EIGE study, which show that despite overrepresentation of women among graduates in journalism and information and despite a high number of women working in the media sector in Europe, women remain underrepresented in management positions in media. In public media in the EU28, women hold only 22% of strategic decision-making positions (EIGE, 2013). A similar picture arises when we look at film making. Only one in five films is directed by a woman (21%). The vast majority of the funding resources (namely 84%) go into films that are NOT directed by women. And the reason is not that there are not women directors. The proportion of female directors graduating from film schools and entering the film industry is 44%, while the overall proportion of female directors working in the industry is only 24%. That is why the Commission wants action in this field too. Working through the MEDIA programme on gender for 2018, we shall track gender equality in the projects we fund. EBR: ANOTHER MAJOR CHALLENGE IS THE RAPID PROLIFERATION OF FAKE NEWS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS. CURRENTLY, ARE THERE ANY INITIATIVES TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN ORDER TO TACKLE THIS CRUCIAL ISSUE? M.G.: Last week, a key milestone of our commitment to tackle the phenomenon has been reached with the adoption of the Communication on "Tackling online disinformation" on the 26th of April. This Communication reflects our commitment to improving European citizens' access to quality and unbiased information online. In the independent report of the High-Level Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation which was published in March 2018, disinformation is defined as "verifiably false or misleading information that is created, presented and disseminated for economic gain or to intentionally deceive the public, and may cause public harm".It is clear that now we have to fight with the much broader issue like online disinformation than fake news. In the latest Eurobarometer survey, 83% of respondents said that fake news represents a danger to democracy. Respondents were particularly concerned by intentional disinformation aimed at influencing elections and immigration policies. Now it is time to act. We put forward self-regulatory tools to tackle the spread and impact of online disinformation in Europe and ensure the protection of European values and democratic systems: a Code of Practice on Disinformation, an independent European network of fact-checkers, a


secure European online platform on disinformation, support to media literacy, and to quality, pluralistic and diversified online media content. These actions result from a six months long engagement with all stakeholders to define an action plan against the threats posed by online disinformation. A public consultation gathered 3000 contributions and a Eurobarometer interviewed 26000 Europeans on their perception and awareness of fake news. I also set up a High Level Expert Group that helped us identify the priorities of our actions. Four principles guide the action: improve transparency regarding the way information is produced or sponsored; diversity and credibility of information; inclusive solutions with broad stakeholder involvement. The multi-stakeholder forum will be set up to provide a framework for efficient cooperation among relevant stakeholders, including online platforms, the advertising industry and major advertisers, and to secure a commitment to coordinate and scale up efforts to tackle disinformation. In July the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation will be published. The first measurable outcomes are expected by October 2018. The progress made will be reported by December and if needed further actions will be taken including regulatory ones. EBR: WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE DIGITAL ECONOMY & SOCIETY IN EUROPE AFTER THE UPCOMING EUROPEAN ELECTIONS IN 2019? M.G.: My ambition is to deliver on the potential of our Digital Single Market strategy, which will bring tangible benefits to citizens and companies in the digital world. However, with the constant evolution of technology, this is only the beginning, and Europe will have to continue to evolve in this area, too. If we want for our economy to be competitive, it should get digitised. If we want for our citizens to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, they all need to acquire the digital skill. If we want to be safe on Internet and for our data to be protected, we have to work on improving cybersecurity. If we want for the European citizens not only in cities but also in remote rural areas to have equal opportunities for work and development, we have to provide access for all to broadband fast-speed Internet. All of these will be the outcomes of the fully functional DSM and as a result, we will have one growing, secure, competitive and protected Europe where people are at the center of digital policies and the business are innovating and creating new services and products. The free flow of nonpersonal data and strongly protected and secure personal data will open new business opportunities and will create new jobs. It is time to realize that the future of Europe is digital.



EBS 2018


EBS 2018

European Business Summit 2018: Leading in a changing world Europe at the forefront of global economic, social and political change by Alexandra Papaisidorou


upported by its strategic partner, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global leader in digital transformation, the European Business Summit 2018 attracted once more, over 2,000 participants and 200 high-level leaders including European Commissioners, Cabinet Ministers, MEPs and CEOs from across Europe. During the two-day event participants, high-level business and policy experts discussed key issues such as youth engagement, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, circular economy, sustainable development goals and e-commerce, among others. This year the European Business Summit arrived at a pivotal time. Within the difficult global context and internal challenges arising for European leadership, it is important to have a discussion focusing on the idea of how Europe can come together as a strong leader. Arnaud Thysen, Director General for EBS stated, “EBS is proud to provide the forum for frank and open dialogue between EU institutions, business representatives and organisations investing in Europe. This year’s topics were particularly diverse, including SDG’s, AI, geopolitics, and the Belt and Road initiative, to mention a few. We are delighted to welcome business and political delegates from all over the world, especially China and Japan, this year.” Day one of the event saw the Vice President of the European Commission launch a special EBS report envisioning Europe's future role in the world, featuring essays from a select group of 20 global leaders. Essay authors include Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EC; Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland; Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia; Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank; and N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Group.

ognises outstanding achievers in business, politics, entrepreneurship and innovation. Based on 22,504 votes received from the general between 15-31 March 2018 three candidates were shortlisted in each of the five categories: European Personality, Leader, CEO, Entrepreneur and Innovator of the Year. The winner was selected by a jury of experts from business, academia and media, including Emma Marcegaglia (BusinessEurope), Dr Jacques Bughin (McKinsey), Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl (DIGITALEUROPE), Dr Arno Behrens (CEPS), Dr Beate Degen (Ernst&Young), Jennifer Baker (Freelance Reporter) and Gabriel Gresillon (Les Echos). THE WINNERS FOR 2018 ARE: • European Leader of the Year: Emmanuel Macron – President of France • European Personality of the Year: Florin Badita – Founder of Coruptida Ucide - for his fight to put an end to the decriminalization of Romanian corruption cases • European Entrepeneur of the Year: Boyan Slat– a 23 year old Dutchman, the founder of Ocean Cleanup, a tool to clean up the oceans of plastic waste • European Innovator of the Year: Imre Krisztian – Hungarian; his Extended Visual Assistant can significantly improve everyday activities of partially sighted people • European CEO of the Year: Edyta Kocyk – Polish entrepreneur; designed a telemedical wristband which is now used in some of Europe’s clinics and hospitals The European Business Review (EBR) was for the 8th time an official media partner of the EBS.

EUROPEAN LEADERSHIP AWARDS 2018 This year’s EBS hosted the inaugural European Leadership Awards. The ceremony took place during the Business Leaders’ Dinner on 23 May, and was broadcasted live by Euronews. This brand new award rec-


EBS 2018

Educating workers is the key for Digitising Europe industry The digital revolution in the EU agenda for both industry, workers and education On European level, clear discrepancies on integration of digital technologies between member states still exist. While Nordic countries have nearly half of their enterprises highly digitised, France and Germany have less than 15% of their businesses highly digitised. Despite this gap, Germany is the European leader on use of industrial robotics with 309 robots per 10,000 employees, only behind South Korea and Singapore. To that point, digital revolution has been a burning issue in many ways. It has led public consciousness to available information with a close look on political, social and economic engagement and participation. Nevertheless, it has also contributed to access to high quality education breaking up all borders. Given the fact that so many opportunities for learning are open in front of us is certainly an issue that attracts a great deal of discussion. Antti Peltomäki - European Commission, Deputy Director General, Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs-, Eva Maydell European Parliament, Member -, Bruno Basalisco - Copenhagen Economics, Head of Digital Economy service -, Katarzyna Jakimowick - Associate Director for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal-, discussed and presented their views on European Commission's launch of Digitising European Industry initiative (DEI) with the intent of reinforcing EU’s competitiveness by embracing the digital innovation across all European industry. The Commission has estimated that digital innovation will increase the annual European industrial output by €110 bn. The Commission and Member States are investing 50 billion euro by 2020 on digitisation strategies. Speakers and commentators mentioned that: "it is our responsibility to channel this into developing the kind of skills that would help people find employment and prosper and push society as a whole forward". It's officially mentioned that almost 44 per cent of Europeans lack basic digital skills, opening up huge vulnerabilities in our data- and cyber-security. They also referred to it as the cornerstone initiative for


the long-term competitiveness of the continent and underlined that it is up to us to make it work in practice. On May 23rd in Europe Room of EBS 2018 we heard that businesses go where talents is, thus, politicians need to think about this as well, regulatory incentives are not enough to attract investments, skilled workforce is also important. Among conclusions the policy makers ended up that in order to bridge the skills gap we don’t only need to reshape education, but what we really need is leadership political, institutional and business along with work in networks and by going out of the capital cities and then being present in smaller towns and villages. By 2020 we will need some 750,000 ICT professionals, so it becomes very urgent to address the skills gap was the bottom page of the EBS 2018 panel on how to harmonise digitisation of industry and education.

Britain is leaving the political institutions of the EU; but it is not leaving Europe. by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond *

Sixty-two years ago today – as a war-torn Europe rebuilt itself – countries across our continent came together to form a positive vision of a tolerant, free Europewhere talent and hard work was recognizedand established a new pan-European partnership. I am not speaking about the Treaty of Rome, or the formation of the European Economic Communitybut of the first Eurovision Song Contest.And I can tell you that today, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the very few issues that generates as much debate and strength of feeling in the UK as the European Union itself does. But we all take part in itand we all accept the rules of it. Even when we lose.And today, I want to reflect on the enduring shared values of our continentand on the shared opportunities, and the shared challenges that lie ahead. While the global and European economies have recently enjoyed a period of relative strength we cannot take this for granted. The geopolitical context is increasingly uncertain, whether it’s the presence of an emboldened and re-arming Russia on Europe’s eastern doorstep, the ongoing escalation in tensions across the Middle-East

EBS 2018

or uncertainty around the policy of Europe’s largest trading partner, the US, on trade and tax reform.

At a time of unprecedented scepticism of our liberal market economic and political model…

And governments across Europe and the world are having to manage a rising tide of sentiment among our electorates, against the conventional wisdom of free trade, globalisation, and the benefits of the liberal market economy, an argument that as leaders in government and business we must make all over again;

That requires collaboration and cooperation.And if we want European values and interests to prevail in this debate we must ensure that Europe speaks with one voice.

These are challenges that face all of us across this continent. Challenges we must confront if we are to deliver the security, prosperity and higher living standards for our citizens for which we all strive. But my message is that there are significant shared opportunities too. One such opportunity that I spend a lot of time talking about, is presented by the coming technological revolutionthat will shape people’s lives and have far-reaching implications for our economic model and will have a long-term impact on all our economies, far bigger in scale than the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. Of course, such profound change brings with it major challenges, such as evolving our tax and regulatory systems, our competition policies, so they are fit for the digital age, ensuring that our people have the skills they need to prosper in a world of increasing automation; and convincing them that everyone can share in the proceeds of this technological change and the economic growth that can flow from it.

Of course, as Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, my most immediate priority is our negotiation with the EU. But the point is, that the challenges and opportunities facing our economies and societies are shared challenges and common opportunities. Our shared values and shared history go back far beyond our membership of the European Unionand they will continue far beyond the timeframe of Brexit. Our continent’s shared commitment to economic openness, democratic values and human rights and our shared belief in the power of the liberal market economy to deliver rising living standards for all of our people remains unshakable. With our different history, culture, and outlook, the British people decided that the deep political integration to which the EU institutions increasingly aspire, was simply not right for Britain, but the British people have not, and never will, turn their backs on free, open and fair trade with our European neighbours. That is an established part of our economic culture – going back to Hanseatic times and earlier.


EBS 2018

Britain is leaving the political institutions of the EU; but it is not leaving Europe. British prosperity is, and always will be, closely bound to European prosperity.So, Europe’s success – and the success of the Euro as a currency – is very strongly in Britain’s interest, and we will not do anything which jeopardises that success. Our economy is recognisably a European-style economy with high levels of consumer and worker protection, a highly developed social welfare system and strong environmental standards and it is the clear wish of the British people, regularly demonstrated, to keep it that wayas we build a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. We have made significant progress since Article 50 was triggered, just over a year ago both in our own internal debate about what Brexit should mean and in our negotiation with the EU.The first stage in the negotiations successfully settled many withdrawal issues, including the UK’s financial obligations, in December. In March we reached agreement on a transition period, running until the end of 2020during which businesses can operate exactly as before, ensuring only one set of changes, at the end of that period, that businesses have to navigate. We are now focussed on our future customs relationship, and our future economic partnership, and I’ll briefly mention a bit about both. I know that for business getting clarity on our future customs relationship is a top priority and so it should be a top priority for European governments too.EU27 businesses export more services to the UK than to any country outside the EU. Almost 80% of Irish poultry exports go to the UK, one eighth of German automotive exports, 10% of all French cheese exports. In Belgium, almost half of the total tonnage handled at the port of Zeebrugge last year, went to, or came from, the UK – up from just a third in 2011.Over 1 million cars were transported between Europe and the UK via Zeebrugge, up 80% on seven years ago. The UK is exploring two possible future customs models. Both are “works in progress” with more work to be done but we are confident that, building on the work we have done already on these models we can develop a solution that responds to the concerns of business, minimises frictions and burdens at and behind the border, avoids new barriers in Ireland and sustains our trade with the EU27. Beyond customs, we seek a comprehensive future economic partnership that protects the supply chains and


established trade relationships, safeguards the jobs and businesses that depend on them on both sides of the Channeland promotes the values we share across the continent of Europe. We’ll explore the terms on which the UK could maintain a continuing relationship with EU agencies, such as those for chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace, so that they continue to benefit from UK expertise and we can deliver such a system of single approvals; On services we have the opportunity to establish a broader agreement than has ever been done before, including continued recognition of professional qualifications, and a labour mobility framework that enables travel to provide services to clients in person. We seek a bespoke partnership in financial services, that will enable the ongoing delivery of cross-border financial services in both directions, while protecting financial stability and maintaining fair competition.I believe it is very much in our mutual interest to maintain access to London’s financial services market for Europe’s business and citizens. We manage in the UK more than EUR1.5 trillion of assets on behalf of EU clients;Around two-thirds of debt and equity capital raised by EU corporates is facilitated by banks based in the UK. 78% of European Forex trading and 74% of European interest rate derivatives trading takes place in the UK. These are services that businesses rely on to run their operations efficiently, with the benefit passed on as lower prices for consumers in all 28 EU countriesand more competitive exports to the rest of the world. We should be under no illusion about the significant additional costs if this highly efficient market in London were to fragment.Costs that would be borne by Europe’s businesses and consumers. Reaching a vision of a deep and comprehensive future relationship will only be possible if both sides want it.A deal only works if it works for both parties as we say: “it takes two to tango”. I am saying this, because I fear that many EU opinion-formers in government and in business, see the Brexit challenge as simply one for the UK to resolve. And I understand the temptation to say “let the brit’s sort out what they want – and then come back to us”. But this has to be a two-way conversation. Because the final deal won’t be determined simply by what Britain wants. It can’t be just about British prosperity and British jobs. It must also be about European prosperity and jobs.And if EU27 Member States don’t

EBS 2018

want to have a close future economic, security, technical relationship with the UK, then it won’t happen. So, we need a frank conversation about our shared appetite for such a future close partnership.Do we both want it? Or don’t we?If we do, let’s focus on making a deal that works. * Philip Hammond adopted from his speech at the European Business Summit 2018

Europe raises transparency issues with China’s Belt and Road Initiative by Ninon Bulckaert

China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is seen as a unique chance to strengthen economic cooperation between Beijing and Europe and a way to spur trade and the economies of the countries involved. But some consider it a strategic and self-interested tool for China to extend its sphere of influence.

The European Business Summit held a roundtable to compare China’s and the EU’s vision of the BRI – sometimes called the New Silk Road. The budget for this mammoth project is $1,000 billion, in accordance with its geographical immensity. It will link China to Europe by road – the Belt – and sea – the Road – through Central Asia and the Balkans, and it is also extending towards Africa. “The BRI already brings together 86 members, countries and international organisations, and all parties have equal say. Projects are decided after joint discussion,” Zhang Ming, the ambassador and head of the Chinese mission to the EU, told the roundtable. “We are following the principles of the UN charter, as well as international and trade rules. We also insist on transparency and sustainable development.” Transparency is precisely one of the sticking points that make EU member states – especially those in the West – reluctant to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU), a binding agreement that China wants to ink with as many countries as possible. Luisa Santos, director for international relations at the European social partner BusinessEurope, pinpoints the lack of concrete opportunities for European enterprises. “Companies need predictability and transparency to apply for the project and ensure its sustainability,” she said.


EBS 2018

She also stressed the fact that the number of European companies currently involved in the BRI is not significant enough to prove that the project can be trusted in the long run. German MEP Helmut Scholz, a member of the Nordic Green Left, expressed concerns about the involvement of countries that are more fragile economically and about their ability to pay back the loans. “The BRI is often compared to the Marshall Plan. However, the New Silk Road will mainly provide loans, and not grants, unlike the Marshall Plan. It means that those loans will have to be repaid,” he warned. Investors need more certainty to get involved, and even though the Chinese genuinely wish to build a strong cooperation with the EU, they are not always willing to provide clear guarantees. The first public clash between China and the EU happened during the New Silk Road summit in Beijing in May 2017, when Chinese officials tried to obtain their European counterparts’ signature at the last minute without mentioning it beforehand. But Dennis Pamlin, CEO of 21st Century Frontiers, said it could have been “cultural discrepancy”. “China and the EU have a different cultural approach regarding business and transparency. For instance, the Chinese do not always see the point to bring an En-


glish-speaking translator when signing an agreement, simply because they consider that the negotiations are done,” Pamlin said. So, what the Europeans can see as asymmetry of information – or lack of transparency – is sometimes said to be only a cultural misunderstanding. Despite that, eleven Central and Eastern EU member states have joined China in the so-called 16 + 1 format – an initiative by China aimed at intensifying and expanding cooperation with 11 EU member states and 5 Balkan countries. A number of projects for infrastructures and logistics are well on their way. The first country to join was Hungary in June 2015, followed by Poland the same year. In 2017, Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia were the last member states to join in. Five countries in the Balkans, which aspire for EU membership, are also signatories. With China’s establishment in the area, the expression “New Balkan’s Silk Road” is becoming common. The BRI should be fully operational in 2049, just in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). * First published at

EBS 2018

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60 Years

by N. Peter Kramer, Editor-in-Chief


“social triple A” underpinning the EU Pillar of Social Rights can not be achieved without an ‘Entrepreneurial Triple A rating”, according to Dr. Christoph Leitl, President of EUROCHAMBRES, speaking with Commission President Juncker in January 2018. Four months later, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the organisation, the “12 Entrepreneurial Rights” were presented.


In this Special EBR Report, you can find an exclusive interview with an open-minded President Leitl, and more information about the Entrepreneurial Rights. Also, three insights how three important national chambers of commerce in the EU, Greece, Germany and Austria, are working and functioning.


Eurochambres 60 years: a long time, much content and a lot of success by N. Peter Kramer Since January 1 and for the second-time Christoph Leitl, former President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, has been electedPresident of Eurochambres. EBR had the honour of an exclusive interview with him on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Eurochambres. “1958 – 2018, that is a long time, with much content and a lot of success”, Mr Leitl opens the interview, “we are proud of the result. With 46 members, we have more members than the European Union, we are a support for business located in Europe and a bridge-builder for politics. We have 1700 regional and local chambers, whichgives us a lot of power for realising economic goals and strategies. 20 million companies who can give a response to the challenges of our time. These companies employ, educate and innovate!”

How does Mr. Leitl look at today’s Europe? “Well, we are dependent of the US with its President; we are afraid of the speeding growth of China and other Asian ‘tigers’; our relationship with Russia is worsening constantly; we don’t know how to copewith Africa”. His conclusion is clear:Europe is in a difficult situation. Q: But how can Europe change this, and bring itself back into the global frontline? MR. LEITL: ‘Europe makes up for only 7% of the world population, but accounts for 25% of the world economy and for more than 50% of global social and environmental expenditure, related to our standard of living. The other important world regions are very dynamic. Europe is saturated. The alarm bell is ringing.



Wake up Europe, before it is too late!” “Many people have lost confidence in the European project. Nationalism, egoism, populism rule Europe, instead of unity and solidarity. There are fears of globalisation, technological innovation and migration. But nationalism is not the answer”. Q: How to get out of the negative spiral? MR. LEITL: “We have to find another way. As the business community, we want an open Europe, free trade agreements with all parts of the world and fruitful cooperation with all continents. China, India and others will become stronger; but that must not weaken Europe. We can remain competitive and successful too. With a clear goal and a clear strategy, we can achieve that.” “Do not divide Europe. We need unity. To swim together or to sink alone: that’s the question. Let us strengthen our European institutions. We need better coordination instead of centralism; a common foreign visibility towards other parts of the world; an innovation-driven growth and employment. Let me give a concrete proposal: let us double the funding of the EU programme Horizon 2020!” Q: You were already Eurochambres’ President from 2001 to 2005. When you look back to that period, what are the most important differences between then and now? MR. LEITL: “The differences are enormous, it looks to me like a different era, very difficult to compare with nowadays. There wasno advanced digitalisation as we are talking about these days, no Artificial Intelligence (AI), no Internet of Things (IoT), no 5G. China was still a quiet, hidden power. We had good relations with Russia, no Ukrainian problem. It was before the ‘Big Bang’ of the EU; before the crises that changed the European Union. I think the EU had a stronger global position but in a different world”. Q: Interesting that you mention Russia and the EU’s disturbed relations with it. The sanctions are for sure a problem for Russia but also for many European businesses. What’s the sense of it, it looks like shooting in your own foot? MR. LEITL: “Let me say, in the first place, Russia violated the international laws by occupying Crimea. But,it is understandable that Russia felt threatened after the revolution in Kiev. For its Black Sea Fleet Sebastopol is the homeport. Russia is a member of Eurochambres, and there is a good cooperation. Let’s hope there will be a normalisation of relations in the near future”.


Q: Russia is indeed a member of Eurochambres. The United Kingdom is not. Has that something to do with Brexit? MR. LEITL: ‘No, the UK left Eurochambres years before the Brexit discussion started. By the way, I , as a true European, am absolutely against Brexit. I even went to London to participate in a huge demonstration against Brexit, just before the referendum. I hope to get our British colleagues back on board in Eurochambres. One of my first trips after becoming President at the beginning of this year, was to the UK. Eurochambres is more than the EU, we have 46 members, so why shouldn’t the UK be included, it is one of the most important countries in Europe, in the world”. Q: You visited China recently. What you saw there, didn’t it scare you that we can never compete with them, their motivation, their energy, their political system? Recently 27 ambassadors of EU countries warned that the new Silk Route Plan of China, to connect China with other Asian countries, Russia and Europe, is not good for the EU. A kind of Fortress Europe thinking, in my opinion. MR. LEITL: “Eurochambres signed that plan. We believe in it. The point is, you have to believe in yourself! Indeed, I was in China a few weeks ago. I saw the differences with Europe. People in China are hungry for success and they work in all future relevant sectors. They have close cooperation with all parts of the world and follow a clear strategy with one goal: in 2049, the 100 years’ anniversary of the Mao-Revolution, China wants to be the strongest country in the world. And Europe? Europe seems to be tired, the old world…”. Q: What are your expectations for Europe? Next year there are elections for the European Parliament, there will be a new European Commission with a new President. Do you expect fundamental changes? MR. LEITL: “What we need, is mental change, to transform fears into hope, Europe in an open society not a fortress, to overcome borders and integrate cultures. French President Macron suggested to make integration work within local communities and to subsidise them. I would like to add: why not help companies to do the same”. “The business economy can contribute to Europe’s strength. With its help, Europe will be among the three economic global powers. But we have to work hard on that”.


The voice of Austrian business in Vienna, Brussels and beyond: Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKĂ–) by Franziska Annerl


he Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Ă–sterreich, WKO) represents the interests of more than 500,000 Austrian companies. Every single person who is entitled to operate an independent business venture in crafts and trades, commerce, industry, mining, finance, banking and insurance, transport, information and communication, broadcasting, tourism and leisure, as well as other services, is a member of the Federal Economic Chamber under Austrian law. As the voice of Austrian business, WKO is committed to forward-looking policies which benefit the economy e.g. tax relief, cutting red tape. WKO is also a modern service provider and offers fast expert advice on topics from labour laws to customs information. Last but not least, WKO supports Austrian companies with expert knowledge through educational facilities.

The Economic Chamber Organisation sets the agenda in representing the interests of Austrian business and successfully defends the interests of Austrian companies. The Economic Chamber Organisation is a leading force in policymaking at the level of industries and regions, as well as at national and EU level. WKO is the first port of call for members who need information and advice. WKO initiates, moderates and partners regional, national and global economic promotion activities for the benefit of the Austrian economy. Rapid economic and societal change means that entrepreneurs and business owners must keep adjusting their strategies. Therefore, they need access to the latest knowledge and technologies. The Economic Chamber Organisation is the most important training partner for the benefit of its members: It actively spreads knowledge related to every facet of the economy and makes sure that expert knowledge is available to its members anywhere in the world, around-the-clock and in a straightforward manner (



Austria enjoys a particularly well developed system of co-operation between the major economic interest groups: The system of co-operation on economic and social issues, commonly referred to as “social partnership”, is a voluntary arrangement. The social partnership does not deal with industrial relations alone - what distinguishes the Austrian social partnership is that it extends to practically all areas of economic and social policy. Approximately 90-95% of private-sector employees are covered by collective agreements. Collective agreements are usually negotiated on the employer side by the relevant sub-organisations of WKO and on the employee side by the Trade Union Federation. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber is of course also very active on the European level: The EU office of the WKÖ in Brussels acts as an interface between the WKO and the institutions of the European Union and works together with the most important associations at European level. It maintains close contacts with the relevant Commission services and Members of the European Parliament. In addition, the EU Office has access to a diverse network of contacts in European institutions and associations. Since January 2018, WKÖ President Christoph Leitl is not only the voice of Austrian businesses in Brussels. As President of EUROCHAMBRES he also speaks for European companies. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber has dealt with the topic of Better Regulation at national and European level for many years. Surveys show that Austrian and European companies face big problems with red tape and bureaucracy. To foster competitiveness, growth and employment European business needs a level playing field. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber appreciates all efforts towards smart regulation at European level to create a business friendly regulatory environment. All European institutions and Member States have to work together. Overregulation is an obstacle for growth and employment. The business structure all over Europe and especially in Austria is dominated by SMEs. Therefore, WKO believes that it is necessary to increasingly focus on SMEs during the legislative process. “Think Small First” has to be the guiding principle and should be applied to all draft proposals. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber welcomes the ‘New Skills Agenda for Europe’ as a comprehensive and important policy effort in the field of education and training. The lack of basic skills, skills shortages and mismatches are among the main concerns of businesses and particularly SMEs throughout Europe. The need to up-skill the European workforce is urgent and requires comprehensive actions. Education and training


systems need to respond better to labour market needs and deliver higher and more relevant skills. These are essential to sustain Europe’s competitiveness and enhance job creation, growth, productivity, innovation, and social inclusion. The lack of basic skills, skills shortages and mismatches are among the main concerns for businesses and especially SMEs throughout Europe. The priority is to make education systems more responsive to the labour market, and ensure that the skills taught are relevant for people’s lives and for the economy. WKÖ welcomes in particular the intention to strengthen Vocational Education and Training (VET) and to improve its quality. The digital transformation concerns all sectors of the economy and offers new opportunities in almost all areas of life. The Austrian Economic Chamber supports a future-oriented, business-friendly policy that promotes the competitiveness of companies and Austria as a business location. WKO therefore promotes the use of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) according to the needs of our members. The ongoing acquisition of new knowledge, new skills and qualifications is more important than ever. A modern ICT infrastructure is a significant location factor. ICT applications provide the basis to make processes in all industries more efficient and to develop new products and services. Improved economic and trade relations with partner countries ensure more growth, employment and prosperity, especially for an export-driven country as Austria. This includes measures against protectionism in third countries, a stronger cooperation between the EU and trade partners in the form of negotiations for trade agreements as well as institutionalised talks to prevent trade conflicts. Ongoing negotiations for free trade agreements – e.g. with Japan, Mercosur or Australia - have to be finalised quickly. In order to make European Economic and Monetary Union more stable, resilient and competitive, a stronger integration of economic, fiscal and financial policy is necessary. The consistent application and enforcement of existing instruments is important, for example within the framework of the European Semester. The shift of competence from national to European level is only reasonable if all Member States adhere without exception to the EMU rules. EMU cannot be a simple transfer union. The principle of economic self-responsibility must be the focus. Member States have not yet sufficiently implemented necessary structural reforms. WKO therefore supports a stronger link between national reforms and the use of EU funds.


Eurochambres, the European sender for German economy’s concern by Franzeska Stavenhagen


usinesses need Europe, Europe needs business - is a DIHK’s (Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry) motto.

In order to adequately represent the interests of the German economy at European level, the DIHK has been a member of Eurochambres since the founding in 1958. For the DIHK, Eurochambres is the "European sender" for German economy’s concerns regarding the EU. It is the mouthpiece for the chamber system in Europe, it is a platform for networking in Europe and the EU as well as the roof for joint activities and projects in Europe. The cooperation within Eurochambres is characterized by the heterogeneity of the member associations. The Eurochambres positions thus represent a consensus among the members. As a result, they have a special clout in their communication with the political decision-makers of the EU. The DIHK represents the interests of millions of businesses. The commercial companies in Germany are members of their Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), and all of the 79 German CCIs are members of the DIHK (Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry). It therefore speaks on behalf of companies of all sizes and from all sectors – from the kiosk owner on the corner to the international automotive group. For 150 years it has been committed to ensuring framework conditions which promote growth and prosperity: freedom and competition, open markets, a stable currency, good education and good infrastructure. From Flensburg to Konstanz, from Essen to Dresden – Germany's CCIs are represented throughout Germany. The CCIs organize in-company training, provide information on taxes, marketing, innovation and business

law, advice on starting a business and energy efficiency and arrange contacts with banks and savings banks. Ergo: the CCIs know where companies are feeling the pinch. And through the close cooperation with the CCIs, the DIHK knows what companies are concerned about. The DIHK is coordinating the worldwide network of the German Chambers of Commerce (AHKs), Delegations and Representative Offices at 140 locations in 92 countries. The AHKs are representing the German economy abroad, promoting global business relationships through their extensive member network and are supporting companies from their host countries in entering the German market through their global service brand "DEinternational". The roots in the regions, the worldwide presence and the overview of the entire breadth of the economy – these three features make the DIHK as the competent partner of politicians. The DIHK is consulted by politicians on laws that are relevant to the economy – at official hearings, in the daily contacts between DIHK experts and the specialists at the ministries and at summit talks with secretaries of state, ministers or the German Chancellor's office. It supports politicians in one of their important tasks: the deliberative balancing of interests between sectors of industry and company sizes. Three examples: The DIHK advocates business-friendly conditions for in-company training – and ensures in conjunction with the federal government's training initiative that every year tens of thousands of young people also have the opportunity to receive training within companies. It makes proposals to cut red tape for new businesses at national and EU-level. And through the Chambers of Commerce and Industry supports more than 300,000 people starting new companies with in-



formation and advice on their business concept. It submits suggestions for a better balance between work and family life and – through the Entrepreneurship Network "Success Factor Family" launched together with the federal government – offers practical help and a fertile exchange of entrepreneurial experience to thousands of businesses. It not only demands a good deal, it also displays a high level of commitment. We are therefore not only partners for discussions, but also partners in action. The DIHK defines its direction within its committees. As a result, the concerns of companies from the various sectors of industry and regions are reflected in the positions taken up by the DIHK: The DIHK plenary session is the assembly of all the Presidents and Chief Executives of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. As the highest body it passes resolutions, amongst other things, on important topics such as training, securing skilled employees and corporate financing, as well as electing the President of the DIHK and the members of the Executive Board. The DIHK Executive Board is responsible for preparing the plenary session and the economic policy direction of the DIHK. The DIHK President and up to 30 members of the Executive Committees of the Chambers of Com-


merce and Industry – all of them entrepreneurs – form the DIHK Executive Committee together. In a similar manner to a "cabinet", the DIHK President, the four DIHK Vice Presidents and the DIHK Chief Executive appointed by the plenary session represent the DIHK as its Executive Committee to the outside world. The President is responsible for representing the economic policy of the DIHK, being the representative of the entire Chamber of Commerce and Industry organisation – and therefore of the German business economy – to politicians and the public. The Chief Executive manages the ongoing business of the DIHK. The DIHK is advised by 16 technical committees, with most of the 1,200 members being entrepreneurs. There are therefore sector-related committees for manufacturing industry and research, trade, the health economy, tourism, transport, environment and energy, communications and the media, as well as cross-sectoral committees for education, small and medium-sized enterprises, finance and taxation, money and credit, foreign trade and the law. Support is provided to the DIHK committees by around 250 employees in Berlin and around 20 employees in Brussels.


The fundamental role of UHCC in European growth and prosperity by Eirini Sotiropoulou


eing a member of Eurochambres since August 1961, the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce (UHCC) has established a lasting partnership with the state, local government and other stakeholders in the region, aiming at economic development. In this context, Greek chambers continue to be a key advisor to the government in trade, industry and development policy, a mission defined by both the current legislative framework and many successful practices.

Chambers and the Union can manage development projects in the best and most efficient way, due to the fact that they have both the appropriate tools and experience.

The UHCC and the 59 Greek Chambers are Public Law Legal Entities and are subject to management supervision by the General Secretariat for Commerce of the Ministry of Development, regarding the legality of their actions.

• Through the network of local Chambers, the Union is directly informed about the problems and demands of businesses throughout the country and about their views on the various economic and social problems. • At the same time, through the same network, the Union spreads throughout the country's business world information material on markets (Greek and foreign), developments in the legal framework for business action (national and community), cooperation opportunities, technology, innovation etc. • Furthermore, it reports on funding opportunities, available financial tools for businesses, various Community and national development and reconstruction programs.

The work offered by the Chambers includes a large number of actions, both advisory and for the provision of services to their member companies. Moreover, it shouldn’t be omitted their social contribution. The Chamber Network is primarily addressed to the small and medium-sized enterprises of Greece, which constitute without a doubt the foundation of the Greek and European economy. Specifically, the main priority of the Union is the effort to broaden its role as well as the role of the Chambers as genuine representatives of the business community, notably by taking new initiatives for the development of the Greece's economy, participants as implementing agencies of development projects and strategic services.

Within the Greek Chambers, there are about 880 thousand businesses – of all categories, branches and legal forms - which, in their majority, maintain a permanent and two-way communication with them and use their services:

In addition, UHCC has set the following objectives of paramount importance: • The substantial participation of the Chambers in the formulation and implementation of economic policy, through the submission of relevant opinions by the UHCC on any economic issue or bill.



• Active participation in the functioning Committees created by the State and the various governmental agencies related to economic activity. This participation involves the formulation of common positions and proposals for more effective intervention in decisions and choices concerning its members. • The immediate implementation of the General Commercial Registry, which is a solid demand of the productive classes of the country, with the creation of a Central General Commercial Register Service in the UHCC. • The active presence of the UHCC abroad, especially in the European Union, Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The promotion of its relations with the national associations of the Chambers of these regions and, in particular, its close cooperation and activities within the framework of the Eurochambres and the Association of Balkan Chambers. • The development of a permanent and stable network of communication and cooperation abroad, through the operation of the Representative Office of the UHCC and the Greek Chambers in Brussels, in order to provide better services to its members and thus to Greek businesses, to improve the business environment in which they operate and their better access to the various financial tools. • Better adaptation to the rules and new circumstances of the single European market by improving the competitiveness of businesses and exempting them from rigid, aggravating regulations. • Maximizing and fully exploiting the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises for employment, growth and competitiveness. • Undertaking by the UHCC a coordinating role to promote entrepreneurship and better preparation for


young, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. • Enlarging the role and activities of the Chambers in the field of vocational training. • Putting the Union more actively in the absorption of Community funds, attracting foreign investors, expanding exports and disseminating information. • Establishing mechanisms to deal directly with current business class problems in order to accelerate the development process Through Eurochambres, UHCC has the opportunity to support the demands and to seek solutions to the problems of the productive entities of Greece, taking into account the legislation of the European Commission legislation, as well as identifying the impact of Community institutional initiatives on integration and consolidation of the single European market. Particularly, as far as the international relations and representation of Chambers are concerned, the key priorities of UHCC at European level include the provision of integrated information and information services to the Chambers - members and their respective companies, the representation of the Chambers in the most efficient way abroad, the exercising of its interventionist role vis-à-vis the European authorities and decision-making centers in the best possible way and finally the claim from European development agencies. Undoubtedly, the election of the President of the UHCC, Mr. Konstantinos Michalos, as Deputy President of the Eurochambres and the assignment to him of the responsibility of the sectors of energy, transport and tourism created the conditions for strengthening the presence of the UHCC in European affairs.


EUROCHAMBRES set out twelve ‘Entrepreneurial Rights’ by N. Peter Kramer


t its 60th anniversary EUROCHAMBRES, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, presented its “Declaration of Entrepreneurial Rights” to the EU institutions. Bringing to a climax an afternoon of discussions on markets, entrepreneurship and skills at the association’s 60th anniversary event, the Declaration sets out 12 pre-conditions for EU entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive, prosper and compete internationally. EUROCHAMBRES delivers, now policy-makers must too! At a meeting in January 2018, EUROCHAMBRES President Christoph Leitl stressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that the ‘social triple A’ objective underpinning the Pillar of Social Rights could not be achieved without also ensuring an entrepreneurial triple A rating. President Juncker urged EUROCHAMBRES to expand on this, which has resulted in the Declaration of Entrepreneurial Rights. Speaking during EUROCHAMBRES 60th anniversary event, President Leitl explained: “Chambers are not shy of talking about entrepreneurs’ rights and nor should policy-makers. This Declaration captures the strong feeling across the European Chamber network that the needs of entrepreneurs cannot taken for granted and must be central to policy processes, starting at EU level.”

The Declaration also highlights the important socio-economic role of entrepreneurs: “It is superficial to view entrepreneurs merely as job providers and tax generators. They are also educators, innovators, creators, community members and much more”, President Leitl added. 60 years of connecting business to Europe and plenty more to come EUROCHAMBRES was the first business organisation established at European level following the signing of the Treaty of Rome. From its six original members, the association has expanded progressively and now encompasses 44 national and 2 transnational Chamber organisations from across Europe. This represents a network of around 1.700 regional and local chambers, representing over 20 million businesses, mostly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). “Just as our businesses evolve, shaping and adapting to market developments, so has EUROCHAMBRES evolved with the process of European economic cooperation, both within and beyond the EU. We will continue to do so as new opportunities and challenges emerge for Europe’s small, medium and large businesses,” concluded President Leitl. *The Declaration of Entrepreneurial Rights can be accesses via the link:


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Commissioner Bieńkowska: We are optimistic for the future of EU tourism by Eirini Sotiropoulou


uropean tourism has generally grown faster than merchandise trade and showed more resilience during economic downturns», said the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in an exclusive interview at EBR, stressing the insurmountable value and contribution of the tourism sector in Europe. EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW: TOURISM IS THE THIRD LARGEST SOCIO-ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE EU. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHALLENGES THAT THE SECTOR IS CURRENTLY FACING IN EUROPE? COMMISSIONER ELŻBIETA BIEŃKOWSKA: Indeed, tourism is an important economic sector in the


European Union and for many EU countries tourism is the leading economic activity. It has a wide-ranging impact on economic growth and social development, contributing in total to 10% of employment and economic output in the EU. Besides, European tourism has generally grown faster than merchandise trade and showed more resilience during economic downturns. In 2017, European Union welcomed 538 million international arrivals. This represents an 8% increase on the previous year and the seventh year of continuing growth. This positive evolution makes us optimistic about the future of EU tourism and its role in the economy. Nevertheless, challenges lay ahead as the sector needs to continuously adapt to increasing global competitionand the changing nature of society, like ageing population, e-connected millennials, and customers


with disabilities. Therefore, it is necessary to boost investment in new technologies, upscale the skills of tourism workforce and develop sustainable practices.Digitalisation is crucial for the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the tourism industry.We must empower EU tourism businesses, especially SMEs to seize the opportunities of the digital era. EBR: AT A TIME WHEN UNEMPLOYMENT RATES HAVE INCREASED DRAMATICALLY, THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM SECTOR HAS REMAINED ONE OF THE LEADING JOB CREATORS. HOW MUCH DOES THE EU CONTRIBUTE TO THIS DEVELOPMENT? E.B.: Tourism brings an important contribution to employment in the EU. Almost 25 million jobs are directly or indirectly supported by this industry and we estimate that tourism will generate a further 5 million jobs in the EU in the next decade. Tourism relies on the competences and skills of its workforce. Therefore, we are working on a comprehensive set of actions to improve the quality of skills and promote careers in the sector. In 2016, the European Commission adopted a New Skills Agenda for Europe which includes a Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation initiative. Tourism is part of it. In this context, we have funded under the Erasmus+ Programmethe set-up of a dedicated platform for tourism skills cooperation for the next four years.The platform will analyse major trends and skills needs and develop tailor-made actions. It will also analyse occupational profiles, update new curricula and promote workforce mobility. In addition, we are working to train and re-train the labour force in the wake of digitalisation. For this, we have put in place a dedicated Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition. EBR: CAN WE SPEAK ABOUT DEVELOPMENT AT THE EUROPEAN LEVEL WITHOUT STRONG REGIONAL COOPERATION? E.B.: Regional and inter-regional cooperation is crucial for tourism. The European Commission is supportingtourism under regionaldevelopment as well asprojects that involve the joint collaboration of stakeholders across regions.The European Structural and Investment Funds (2014-2020) have a total of 454 billion euros to invest, including also for tourism, through the specific priorities under National Operational Programmes and Smart Specialisation Strategies. Moreover, under

the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME), between 2014 and now, we have co-financed over 73 trans-national thematic tourism projects which give more visibility to and diversify the tourism offer and provide targeted support to various forms of off-peak tourism. We are also working to enable stronger public-private partnerships and the smarter use of EU funds and financial instruments at all levels. For this, we have set up the Smart Specialization Platform for Industrial Modernisation which has a dedicated thematic area for tourism. The platform facilitatesinterregional cooperation between regions and the development of concrete investment projects by using a mix of EU funding programmes and private investments. EBR: WHAT ARE THE EU STRATEGIC PRIORITIES IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT EUROPE RETAINS ITS POSITION OF NUMBER ONE DESTINATION IN TERMS OF INTERNATIONAL TOURIST ARRIVALS AND SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPETITIVE AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM INDUSTRY? E.B.: Europe is still theworld's leading destination in terms of international arrivals, but needs to compete for its market share with emerging destinations, especially from Asia and the Pacific. Moreover, the sector also needs to face several challenges - the need to boost smart investment, the impact of digitalisation and emergence of new technologies and new business models, as well as the skills mismatch. These challenges are at the core of the European tourism policy. Our strategic approach is to create the right conditions for the tourism industry to stay competitive, create jobs and innovate in a sustainable way. For this, we work closely with the European institutions, the Member States, the regions and private stakeholders. Close cooperation is crucial for the future of EU tourism. This is particularly true for the promotion of Europe as a destination, in particular in third countries. With our support and cooperation, the European Travel Commission has put in place a Joint Public-Private Promotion Platform to give more visibility to Europe's unique natural, cultural, historical and creative heritage. Throughout 2018, the platform will be instrumental in promoting destination Europeon the Chinese market in the context of our flagship initiative "EU-China Tourism Year". This will contribute to ensuring that Europe retains its position of number one tourist destination in the world.



Hoteling: A combination of luxury services that render holidays a unique and unforgettable experience by Giannis Pagkalias *


cenario number one finds you after an exhausting and long business meeting, when the best choice you have, is a nice dinner at the hotel's restaurant and a drink at the bar.But,unfortunately,the receptionist arrives and informs you that the restaurant is closed or that there are only a few available choices left on the menu.

scription mentioned on its website or the one based on friends’ comments.

Or, imagine a worse scenario. You have booked a hotel for summer holidays with your friends and family and it turns out to be bellow the standards of the de-

So what has changed and hotel accommodation has been transformed to a unique experience?Is there any specific reason that makes luxury hotels look like cen-


The aforementionedhave happened to almost all of us and they might remind us of some funny moments!However, nowadays, it is rare to find luxury hotels that are below our expectations.


ters for multiple experiences and activities?And what does the term “hoteling” mean?



All these services are not limited to the hotel facilities, they extend out of it with group activities being offered for every taste. Some of those activities include:

The time that hotels were offering only accommodation and lunch, has passed! Today, hotels provide too manyoptions that in many cases is hard to experience. Hotels have a wide range of technologies and the comforts they provide are countless. Their architecture and artistic design are admirable. The design of the interior and the rooms has a single purpose; to create a sense of relaxation and discretion and to meet the needs of the clients at the highest level.


They offer restaurants with high quality menus that compete with those of the best ones in the world, bars with plenty of unique drinks and cocktails, spa and wellness centersthat offer the ultimate relaxation, swimming pools, gyms, sports fields, children's activities, theme nights that offer plenty of choices; food and wine tasting, cultural events, group games etc. The combination of all these services,have created the term “hoteling”, which means, the possibility of combining a hotel accommodation with activities tailored solely to your own taste.

The culture of a country is not limited to sights or historical monuments, but includes the arts, such as theater, dance, sculpture, etc.Attending a cultural event or a guided tour is a way to understand better the country or the area you have visited. Therefore, this culture can be found in simple things and everyday lifein combination with the people’s customs. A “city break” trip is ideal to experience the culture of a nation. RURAL EXCURSION TO LOCAL PRODUCERS In an era that healthy food has become a global trend, more people are looking for the origin of the products they have on their table. Hence, visiting local producers,is a practical way to understand better what we consume. Moreover, the producers can inform us about the secrets of the food and beveragesthat we consume and of course give us some tips for tasteful combinations.



VISITING LOCATIONS THAT ARE NOT WIDELY KNOWN, BUT MAINTAIN A TOURIST INTEREST The sights of a place are not just the historical monuments, the museums, or the galleries, but there are some other facts that make an area important and they are not necessarily connected to its history. As an example, we could mention a beautiful and picturesque seaside. EXPLORING THE NATURE From a geophysical point of view,Europe is a continent that offers everything; mountains, seas, forests, lakes. Therefore, exploring the nature is not limited to the African safari or scuba diving in the exotic sea of Southeast Asia. TRAVEL IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN AN EVENT OR BECAUSE OF A SPECIAL OCCASION Every year there are plenty of events in every country; concerts, exhibitions, sports, festivals etc.Indicatively, Posidonia is the world's leading international exhibition for global shipping and is being organized every two years in Greece.


The event includes conferences, speeches, golf and football tournaments and a sailing race with the teams involved coming from shipping companies. At Costa Navarino hotel, a luxurious hotel complex in Messinia, plenty of events are organizedand promise an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful areas in Greece. A NEW CONCEPT FOR LUXURY HOLIDAYS The evolution of luxury holidays or luxury accommodation is being shaped by a single factor: the needs and desires of the customer/traveler. In our days, people's travel aspirations are changing;people do not just want to see, they want to join, experience something new and learn about the simplicity in the nature that they have forgotten or have never met. However, the comforts will continue to be demanded and the high standard of accommodation and meals will always be on the topof the luxury travelers’wishlist. FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES All the above show that luxury hotelsare strengthening the local communities.A hotel unit that has great


needs of products, will obtain most of them from companies operating in international markets. However, raw materials and, above all, food, ought to be of high quality, so they will choose producers for authentic local products. At the same time, travelers that have the opportunity to explore the area and buy traditional products,gain precious knowledge about the place they have visitedand benefit itfrom the revenues. Not only souvenirs and photos remind you of a trip or a destination, but local products, such as clothes, food, drinks, textiles and jewellery that were purchased at a local business and not at big tourist shops. THE CONTRIBUTION OF LUXURY HOLIDAYS IN MEDITERRANEAN EUROPE Data from SETE for 2016 (published in April 2018), indicate that the total spending of tourists who chose luxury vacation in the Mediterranean in 2016,raised to €20 billion. Moreover, the total number of tourists in this category, reached to 4.4 million, with 77.7% having a high income, while the average cost per trip was €4,498 and €833per day. On the top of the list are Italy (35.6%) and Spain (31.0%), as the most popular destinations for “city break” holidays (27.1%) and summer vacation (26.2%).

Source: World Travel & Tourism Council BOUTIQUE HOTELS - DESIGNIS THE NEW SIZE Boutique hotels are the latest trend in hoteling and they emphasize on interior designand thematic differentiation of their rooms, while services that are offered by large hotels, may be missing. But, the absence of those services, such as restaurants or fitness facilities, motivates the traveler to look for local solutions. Style, discretion, warmth and intimacy are the basic characteristics of the architecture and design of boutique hotelsthat seem to attract many travelers look-



ing for a distinct and different accommodation to fulfill their needs. In this hotel category, a segregation can be made: BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN CITIES In a city, the location of a hotel is a top priority for visitors, but a good location for boutique hotels is not only determined by the ease of access, but also by the "style" and "elegance" of the neighborhood. For example, entertainment in boutique hotels is often a key factor for a vibrant, stylish and modern space. In the 90's and 00’s, boutique hotels were the protagonists of nightlife. BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN RESORTS Boutique hotels in resorts are exotic, small and intimate and they give their guests the chance to enjoy tradition without sacrificing luxury. If location is a key factor for the hotels in a city, modern boutique hotels in resorts are generally well hid-


den, in isolated corners of the islands or the mountains. The definition of luxury vacation is an experience in a new destination, while enjoying the highest levels of service and luxury accommodation, with superb gastronomy and facilities. However, the new definition of luxury is an experience that combines enrichment of knowledge, pleasure and education. Monuments like the Acropolis or the Eiffel Tower are widely known and have been visited by most. On the contrary, places that provide a unique experience to share, have been visited by few. It is an undeniable fact that Europe offers millions of options for such places. Discover them and "live your myth everywhere you go"!

* Giannis Pagkalias journalist at Naftemporiki economic and business newspaper and radio producer


WIND launches its own streaming pay TV service First Android TV set top box in Greece, integrates Netflix


IND revealed on April, 25 its own streaming pay TV service, WIND VISION, showcasing a set of innovations for the Greek market. WIND VISION stands out for its leading-edge technology and rich content that meets the needs of today’s consumers. WIND Vision becomes the most advanced TV and video platform in Greece, introducing for the first time in Greece features such as: Android TV, Netflix integration, smallest STB with ‘high tech’ look &feel, 4K HDR, voice control, casting function, full live adaptive bitrate streaming to the Set Top Box (STB), unified credentials for all services (TV apps, self-care apps, e-bill). THE FIRST PAY TV IN GREECE TO INTEGRATE NETFLIX

“The launch of WIND VISION is the result of a tremendous effort over the past one and a half years, is not an end point, we are rather just at the start. WIND Vision is leading edge, not just on a Greek but also on a global level and of course something to be proud of and something that will accelerate our business and elevate our brand.” said Hermann Riedl, Chief Strategy & Digital Transformation Officer.

Netflix, the world's leading internet entertainment service, is now available through WIND VISION home screen as WIND’s streaming service is the first platform in Greece to integrate Netflix in its user interface. Furthermore, future devices will include a dedicated Netflix button on the remote control to give Greek users the fastest access to Netflix original series, documentaries, stand ups, kids content and movies. For a limited promotional period, WIND VISION customers will enjoy a 3 or 6 – month free Netflix subscription, depending on their fixed line speed connection.

WIND Hellas new investment follows a two-year period of strong financial performance reflecting the company’s enhanced service offering and strengthened competitive position in the Greek telecommunications market. During 2017, the company invested a total of €94.9 million, which to further augment its network performance and coverage in both fixed and mobile, add Video offering to its service portfolio, and reinforce distribution. Looking to 2018 the company targets around 10% EBITDA growth and capex in the range of €95 million to €105 million, as it will continue to invest for growth and leverage our competitive strengths.

Hermann Riedl, Chief Strategy & Digital Transformation Officer



World Economic Forum: Western Balkans’ assets can help it control its destiny The Western Balkans’ very strategic location and entrepreneurial labour force are some of the assets that could help the region take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and take its destiny in its own hands, Martina Larkin of the World Economic Forum states by Sarantis Michalopoulos *




artina Larkin is the head of Europe and Eurasia and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum.

any political rationale behind this move? Do you believe such a project could decrease Russia’s influence in the region in the long run? And why now?

She spoke to Sarantis Michalopoulos ahead of a Strategic Dialogue on the Western Balkans, which took place in Sofia alongside the EU Summit on 17 May.

This Dialogue is about helping the region achieve stability and building the foundations for sustainable, inclusive growth. This stability is necessary to ensure that the region’s economies are competitive should they accede to the EU but more importantly it is about giving the region more control over its destiny. This will only be achieved by tackling deep-seated structural concerns such as long-term unemployment, weak institutions, corruption and organized crime that continue to plague the region.

According to the WEF, the main objective is to bring together regional heads of government and heads of international and local businesses in order to drive forward economic integration and transformation focusing on three key areas: deepening trade links, engaging a new generation of leaders and developing a digital ecosystem to enable the Fourth Industrial Revolution. WHERE DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS? IS THERE A SPECIFIC ROADMAP? IN WHICH SECTOR DOES THE REGION HAVE A COMMON POTENTIAL? Since we convened the leaders of the Western Balkans in Davos at our Annual Meeting, it has become clear that there is a willingness to work together to bring greater stability to the region and address longer-term issues. We are very happy to support this momentum. The role of the private sector is crucial to advance any cooperation and the private-public partnerships to advance growth and investment will be a key agenda topic on Thursday. One obvious cross-border issue to start with is connecting transport infrastructure: this has the potential to deepen integration and cooperation through trade and is also an area where the private sector can play an active role. You recently talked about “external pressures”. Is there

ARE THE LEADERS OF THESE COUNTRIES DETERMINED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THE PROJECT? What I find most encouraging about this dialogue we are entering is that it is very much led by the region’s leaders themselves. Having convened for the first time at our Annual Meeting in 2018, we are now at the stage where we can start turning words into action. To this end, we will focus on the main agenda points; deepening trade and investment through the public-private partnership, empowering the next generation of leaders and building out a digital ecosystem to enable the region to compete in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. HOW COULD THIS INITIATIVE TACKLE THE INCREASED CORRUPTION IN MOST OF THESE COUNTRIES? Last year the World Economic Forum conducted a survey among 31,000 millennials from 180 countries, which we think makes it the most diverse survey of



young people in the world. The stand-out finding of this study for me was that today’s young people view government accountability and corruption as the number one concern in their country. The Western Balkans is part of this global movement and I take great encouragement from the fact that enabling the next generation of leaders is among the three agenda items during our dialogue. Of course, this is only the start; the region’s leaders will be judged on their accomplishments, but I am very pleased that this issue will be at the heart of the discussion. CONSIDERING THAT THE EU ITSELF CANNOT HALT THE BRAIN DRAIN OF ITS OWN YOUNG PEOPLE, HOW WILL YOU MANAGE TO DO THAT FOR WESTERN BALKANS? The Western Balkans has many assets, a very strategic location and entrepreneurial labour force among them. I actually believe that they are well placed to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the same way that the Baltic States were able to rapidly develop their economies on the back of the internet economy in the 1990s. Smaller economies often have the advantage of making big changes with more agility than larger ones. CAN THIS PROJECT ACCELERATE THE EU ACCESSION PROCESS OF THESE COUNTRIES? There is of course political will in Brussels for the Western Balkans Six to join the Union. Many of the initia-


tives that we hope will stem from this project will help these economies build up their competitiveness so that they can thrive post-accession. But we are focused on the long-term; the structural reforms the region needs to undertake are essential whatever path they take. EU accession, if it happens, will not translate into broad gains for the region unless they are able to compete and hold onto their endowments of human capital. WHAT IS YOUR MAIN FEAR WHEN IT COMES TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROJECT? We have had very good momentum building on from our Annual Meeting in January: it will be key to keep these energy levels high and deliver on the progress, which is very possible. The World Economic Forum is the platform for discussions but the impact has to be driven from within the region. We have great support from within the region but also from key partners, for example, Vice President Mogherini and [Austrian] Chancellor Kurz who will join the meeting alongside Prime Minister Borissov, and I believe there is real will to succeed: as an international organisation with a mandate to improve the world through public-private cooperation, we are ready to help our partners during this transformative process. * First published in




EU invests largely in Taiwan’s energy projects. But (still) no Bilateral Investment Agreement by N. Peter Kramer




n a massive effort to deliver a serious contribushore wind power are quite large. The lacking of an tion to the global climate deal of Paris (2014), investment protection treaty between Taiwan and the Taiwan’s government aims to make the country EU will expose them at a high risk if investment disnuclear-free by 2025. It will do so by raising the putes happen. They hope that a Bilateral Investment contribution of liquid natural gas (LNG) to 50 perAgreement can be signed as soon as possible between cent, cutting coal’s contribution to 30 percent and Taiwan and the EU. promoting the use of renewables such as solar, wind and hydropower. They TAIWAN IS A READY should eventually make up PARTNER FOR A BI20 percent of the energy LATERAL INVESTMENT mix, compared with 5 perAGREEMENT WITH THE In its 2017 report on the cent currently. EU

implementation of the Trade for All

Taiwan, lacking energy reIn 2017 the EU invested USD strategy, the European Commission sources, depends heavily on 3.3 billion in Taiwan. 56 perindicated that the EU is preparing imports to meet more than 95 cent came from The Nethto launch investment negotiations percent of its energy demand, erlands, which makes this with Taiwan. Taiwan and the EU with coal approximately 45 country the biggest investor percent and LNG 32 percent in Taiwan. The UK came in a have established a working group at the moment. The increase second place with 33 percent on investment under their annual of the LNG share to 50 perof the total amount. Now Taiconsultation mechanism. cent demands the construcwan is looking for a Bilateral tion of more LNG terminals. Investment Agreement with This new energy mix also rethe EU. It could benefit EU quires the rapid and massive investors and stimulate Taidevelopment of solar, wind wanese investors ‘to go Euand hydropower resources. The government has prorope’. In its latest report, the US Business Environvided the private sector with strong incentives to dement Risk Intelligence (BERI) company ranked Taiwan velop renewable energy sources. third best place in the world in which to invest, and second in Asia. The move to a new energy policy did not fall from the sky. With the change of government in 2016, the new Confronted with the rapid rise of economic powers in President, Ms Tsai Ing-Wen, kept her campaign promAsia, the EU has begun negotiating economic agreeise for a nuclear phase-out, as per the German model ments containing services liberalisation provisions initiated by Bundeskanzler Angela Merkel. Ms. Tsai’s with trading partners such as Mainland China, India, decision shows not only a sense of responsibility for Japan, Korea, ASEAN and others, with the exception of global climate protection but it can also be considered Taiwan. as a stimulus for the Taiwanese off-shore and energy industries, as wind power generation at offshore faciliIn its 2017 report on the implementation of the Trade ties seems especially promising. for All strategy, the European Commission indicated that the EU is preparing to launch investment negoSeeing its business potential, several major internatiations with Taiwan. Taiwan and the EU have estional players in the off-shore wind sector have already tablished a working group on investment under their decided to invest billions of dollars in developing offannual consultation mechanism. The working group shore wind farm in Taiwan. Investors from the EU are held three meetings in 2017 for both sides to exchange especially active, as they have the experience and the views on each other’s investment regime. know-how in this sector. Well-known names include the Danish companies Ørsted (the former Dong Energy) It is envisaged that more discussions will take place and CIP, and German WPD. Moreover, EPCI service proin 2018. Taiwan is ready to launch investment negoviders DEME-GeoSea (Belgium), Jan De Nul (Belgium) tiations with the EU. As President Tsai Ing-wen said and Semco Maritime (Denmark). at the Europe Day Dinner, organised by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) in Taipei City: Wind turbine manufacturer Enercon (Germany) and “Taiwan will continue to work with the EU to achieve underwater foundation manufacturer Bladt Industries progress on a Bilateral Investment Agreement”! It is (Denmark) are also considering to increasing their intime for the EU to move forward and start its impact vestment in Taiwan. Some of the investors expressed assessment, which is required before the European their concern that the amount of investments in offCommission seeks a negotiating mandate.



Taiwan’s National Health Insurance: A Model for Universal Health Coverage by Dr. Chen Shih-Chung *


he World Health Organisation has for years urged Member States to take action to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Although not a WHO member, Taiwan has offered universal health coverage to our island’s 23 million citizens since 1995. Taiwan launched the National Health Insurance (NHI) initiative by integrating medical programs from existing insurance systems for laborers, farmers, and government employees, which covered only half the population. This has since been expanded to provide equal coverage to all citizens from birth, regardless of age, financial status or employment status. Furthermore, all foreigners who legally work or reside in Taiwan are also afforded the same coverage.


The NHI is a public programme run by the government based on a single-payer model. Life expectancy in Taiwan has subsequently increased to levels seen in key OECD countries, with women living on average to 83.4 years old, and men to 76.8. Yet healthcare costs are far lower in Taiwan than in most highly developed countries in Europe and North America, at US$1,430 per capita per year, representing just 6.3 percent of GDP in 2016. Administrative costs run at less than 1 percent of the total and public satisfaction remains high, at 85.8 percent in 2017. Taiwan’s health system has undergone several reforms over the last 20 plus years to ensure its sustainability given shifts in the socioeconomic landscape. Im-


plementing the Global Budget Payment on top of Fee-For-Service reimbursement method effectively reduced annual medical expenditure growth from 12 percent to 5 percent since 2003. And the way premiums are collected has also changed from being purely payroll-based, to including supplementary premiums based on capital gains, which has created a surplus into the National Health Insurance Fund. In addition, the NHI’s information system has migrated to the cloud, making it much easier for hospitals, clinics, and doctors to access medical information. We encourage hospitals to upload computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans so they can be retrieved for follow-up consultations. A personalised cloud-based service called My Health Bank also enables patients to check their medical records at any time. The government has adopted a wide range of measures to reduce health inequalities affecting disadvantaged groups. We have premium subsidies for low-income and near-poor households, as well as the unemployed. We have also improved the provision of services in areas with limited healthcare resources, and implemented an Integrated Delivery System (IDS) in remote areas to strengthen its medical capacities and qualities. We also raised subsidies on preventive healthcare services for indigenous populations. In a globalised world, it is impossible for countries to overcome all their healthcare challenges on their own. It is only through interdisciplinary and international cooperation that we can build a global health system that consistently and cost-effectively meets the healthcare needs of the world’s citizens, and bring to fruition the WHO’s ultimate goal of health for all. Taiwan has a great deal of experience in building and maintaining a universal health insurance system, from service provider management to financing and coping with socioeconomic change. More to the point, we believe that Taiwan’s healthcare system can serve as a model for other countries. Taiwan has a constructive role to play in creating a robust global health network, and the best way to share our experience with other countries is through participation in the World Health Assembly and the WHO. It is regrettable that political obstruction led to Taiwan being denied an invitation to the 70th WHA as an observer last year. The WHO not only failed to abide by its Constitution, but also ignored widespread calls

for Taiwan’s inclusion coming from many nations and international medical groups all around the world. Yet despite this, Taiwan remains committed to helping enhance regional and global disease prevention networks, and assisting other countries in overcoming their healthcare challenges. Against this backdrop, Taiwan seeks to participate in the 71st WHA this year in a professional and pragmatic way, as part of global efforts to realise the WHO’s vision of a seamless global disease prevention network. This also goes in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages by 2030. We therefore urge the WHO and related parties to acknowledge Taiwan’s longstanding contributions to promoting human health worldwide, recognize the significance and legitimacy of Taiwan’s involvement as an observer in this year’s WHA. Because we believe that to achieve health for all, Taiwan can help.

* Dr. Chen Shih-Chung Minister of Health and Welfare Republic of China (Taiwan)



The Leaders of Greek Shipping at Posidonia 2018 by Eirini Sotiropoulou


hipping policy, trade and finance, energy, technology, port development, fuels and lubricants, the tanker and dry bulk market, the environment and employment in shipping as well as claims and dispute resolution are some of the issues included in the rich agenda of the international exhibition Posidonia 2018.

The Executive Director of Posidonia Exhibitions S.A, TheodorosVokos and the Principal of Paralos Maritime Corporation S.A and former President of the Union of Greek Ship owners (UGS), John C. Lyras, talked to EBR about the latest trends in shipping, which will define the future of an industry that sits at the core of global economic developments.

John Lyras: Greece constitutes a perfectly competitive market globally EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW: UNDOUBTEDLY, SHIPPING IS A KEY AREA FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE GREEK ECONOMY. OF COURSE, THE VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION OF THE SHIPPING COMMUNITY HAS ALSO PLAYED AN INSTRUMENTAL ROLE IN THIS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE SECTOR IN THE NEAR FUTURE? JOHN LYRAS: The main challenges will be the industry’s compliance with the BWMC, the 0.5% SOX cap (which will come into force in 2020) and the reduction of shipping GHG emissions as per the important agreement reached in the IMO’s MEPC very recently. The requirements of these regulations did not adequately take into account the available technology and also important operational parameters which pose serious obstacles to compliance. It is also important that the informal investigation by the Commission into the Greek Tonnage Tax regime which has been going on for over 5 years comes to a close allowing the industry to remain in Greece and not relocate outside the EU. This uncertainty must end. EBR: ACCORDING TO RECENTS LLOYD’S LIST, GREEK-OWNED SHIPPING CONSTITUTES A LEADING INTERNATIONAL PLAYER. HOW SHOULD GREEK SHIPPING BEHAVE IN THE INCREASING COMPETITION TO MAINTAIN


ITS POSITION? J.L.: Greek shipping is primarily involved in bulk/ tramp shipping which accounts for approx. 82% of seaborne trade in tone-miles. It is a text book example of an almost perfectly competitive market and one of the very few remaining in the real economy globally. Since WWII Greek Shipping has thrived in this economic environment due to the private proprietary profile of its shipping companies which render them adaptable and quick to respond to changing circumstances and especially well experienced in managing risk. EBR: OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT DIGITAL SHIPPING. THE NORTHERN COUNTRIES ARE STEPPING UP EFFORTS TO PROMOTE PLANS FOR AUTONOMOUS SHIPS, WHILE THE EXPERTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SECURITY ISSUES SUCH AS HACKER ATTACKS. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS INNOVATION WILL FUNDAMENTALY AFFECT THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY AT A NATIONAL LEVEL AND THE EU COUNTRIES EXTENSIVELY? J.L.: It will be very difficult to apply digital technologies to the extent of autonomous or unmanned ships to deep sea shipping where there are many more hazards and risks than is the case for instance for the airlines. Accordingly, the risk of serious accidents with all their dire implications is much greater. Digitalization of the kind envisaged may have applications within ports or for ships running scheduled services over short distances in more or less protected and/or uncongested waters.




EBR: THE POLITICAL INSTABILITY AND THE GEOPOLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WIDER REGION OF THE EASTERN MEDITETTANEAN HAVE HAD A CLEAR MPACT ON GREECE, AS IN 2017 THERE HAS BEEN A DROP IN CRUISE SHIP ARRIVALS AND PASSENGER VISITS COMPARED TO 2016. ARE THERE ANY INCENTIVES TO BOOST THE CRUISE SECTOR IN 2018? J.L.: The UGS represents ocean going cargo vessels only so it has no cruise ship company members. In any event the conditions encouraging or discouraging cruises in the eastern Mediterranean are political rather than commercial. Unfortunately the situation in this geographical area is far from stable and calm and has been thus for many years. EBR: THE MINISTRY’S MAIN GOAL IS THE ATTRACTION OF P&I CLUBS IN PIRAEUS AFTER BREXIT. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE FOR PIRAEUS TO BECOME THE LARGEST SHIPPING CAPITAL GLOBALLY? J.L.: Piraeus already comprises by far the largest maritime cluster globally. All the major P and I Clubs have representation in Piraeus and in many other parts of the world since their membership is global. They will not necessarily need to relocate on account of Brexit. EBR: IN RECENT YEARS IT IS EVIDENT AN

Theodoros Vokos: Greece is a safe place to invest and do business EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW: IT IS AN UNDENIABLE FACT THAT POSIDONIA CONSTITUTES THE MOST IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING EXHIBITION. WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM POSIDONIA 2018 IN TERMS OF PARTICIPATION AND SPECIFICALLY FROM WHICH COUNTRIES? THEODOROS VOKOS: Posidonia is a truly international event and more than 20,000 visitors from 101 countries in Posidonia 2016 proved this fact. Of course, the exhibition’s strength and appeal is drawn by the collective quality and reputation of its exhibitors, delegates and visitors. So this year we aim higher and all the facts show that we are heading towards new record numbers, with over 1,850 companies ready to show-


INCREASING INTEREST FROM MANY YOUNG GREEKS FOR TRAINING PROGRAMMES IN MARITIME AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP. CAN THE GREEK SHIPPING INDUSTRY ABSORB THIS GROWING INTEREST AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO ATTRACT EVEN MORE YOUNG PEOPLE? J.L.: The UGS has been advocating maritime careers for young Greeks since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. Provided the terms of employment are in line with what prevails internationally the Greek owned fleet could absorb thousands of new Greek seafarers. John C. Lyras is a principal of Paralos Maritime Corporation S.A., and has been involved in shipping since 1975. He comes from a Greek seafaring family with a tradition in shipping that goes back four generations. He has served as President and Vice President of the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) and has been a member of the Board since 1979. He is Chairman of the UGS Foreign Affairs Committee. He has been President and Vice President of the European Community Shipowners Associations (ECSA) and a member of the Board of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) since 1985. He is a founding member and ex Board member of Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) and is a member of the Greek Committee of the American Bureau of Shipping and of Det Norske Veritas GL Greek National Committee. He is also a founding member and Executive Committee member of the Malta International Shipowners Association.

case their products and services over an enlarged exhibition space of 45,000sqm and some 22,000 expected visitors currently preparing their visit to Posidonia. The key attraction of this year’s event, as at every Posidonia, remains the strong presence of the powerful Greek shipowning community, which is leading global newbuilding activity with 61 Greek companies having ships on order worth an estimated US$16bn. In terms of exhibitors, Posidonia 2018 will host some 20 national pavilions –including leading shipbuilding nations, traditional maritime powers, the major maritime centres and flag states, as well as quite a few newcomers. The list of exhibitors becomes every year more diverse, with a wide range of companies ranging from AIRBUS Defence and Space Geo to MAN Trucks and from ERP heavy-hitter SAP to Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and the Greek ports of Thessaloniki and Volos, who booked their first independent Posidonia participation. An important highlight will be the Greek pavilions; the first one organised by the Association of Hellenic Ma-




rine Equipment Manufacturers (HEMEXPO), covering some 400 sqm, and the second one by the Worldwide Industrial & Marine Association (WIMA). Both pavilions represent Greek companies active in the fields of ship construction, ship spare parts & supplies, ship technical and general services and marine equipment manufacturing. Another very important new participant is the Greek utility company Gastrade, backed by Gaslog Ltd, which will manage the Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System. Indicative of the exhibition’s importance is also the fact that Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Saudi Aramco, and its partners Lamprell, the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) and Hyundai Heavy Industries, have chosen Posidonia 2018 for the global unveiling of its International Maritime Industries (IMI) joint venture, created to develop one of the world’s largest full-service maritime facilities. And of course, more than 60 Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies will put the future of the shipping industry –from fully-automated ports to unmanned smart ships and from far more reliable location-specific weather forecast to cloud gathering and processing of ship data– on a prolific display at the Athens Metropolitan Expo. EBR: WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF THIS YEAR’S EVENT, GIVEN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS AND THE DIFFICULTIES THAT STEM FROM THE FINANCIAL CRISIS? T.V.: The global shipping industry is going through a transformational period, as a result of new environmental regulations and challenges and continuous technological breakthroughs, which lead the shipping industry to new investments and new ways of doing business. The industry is on track to be one of the most competitive, environmentally friendly and streamlined industries globally and Posidonia highlights exactly this fact. Things change as we speak and the recent IMO agreement to curb GHG emissions by 50% until 2050 and by 100% until the end of the century will for sure stimulate further discussions at Posidonia, as this industry decision will result in additional R&D for the future. The over 40 conferences and seminars in this year’s program underline exactly the fact that a wide range of topics are currently being debated and Posidonia will provide the platform for these discussions to go further and culminate in decisions. As for the difficulties from the financial crisis, I must stress that this year's Posidonia growth signals that


Greece is slowly recovering from its 7 year adventure and is again open for business. Greece's improved global image makes it easier for exhibitors from all around the world to participate in Posidonia, as the country is again being considered a safe place to invest and do business. At the same time, continuous investment by the Greek fleet is the result of global economic recovery and increased global trade volumes and Posidonia is the place to meet the Greek owners, keen to evaluate new technologies, source equipment and develop partnerships for their demanding fleet expansion and renewal programmes. Posidonia provides direct access to Greek shipping and the owners of the largest fleet under the control of any one national group, dominating the newbuildingorderbook and S&P market. So Posidonia exhibitors are positioned at the heart of this multi-billion market, face to face with buyers ready to do business! EBR: DO YOU THINK THAT THE EXHIBITION HAS THE POTENTIAL TO INFLUENCE IN A POSITIVE WAY THE IMAGE OF THE COUNTRY ABROAD? HOW IMPORTANT IS EXHIBITION TOURISM FOR GREECE AND WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES? T.V.: There is no doubt that such a high-quality event taking place in Athens projects a positive image of Greece to the world and promotes Greece –and the city itself– as an ideal destination for major international trade events, contributing to the future development of the MICE sector in the country. Posidonia is an event that has always contributed strongly to the Greek economy, with its thousands of visitors and exhibitors boosting the tourism industry and related sectors. More than 10,000 people visit the country for the exhibition every two years and it is estimated that some €60 million in revenues are generated throughout Posidonia week by exhibitor and visitor spending on hotels, restaurants, business meetings, hospitality events, stand constructions, transportations, customs clearance and movement of exhibits etc. Events like Posidonia, which guarantee income for the tourism industry over a prolonged time at fixed dates, enable investors to make realistic business plans and decide whether to invest into the tourism industry of Greece, which is currently booming as we can witness by the number of new hotels opening in Athens. And of course, over 20,000 business visitors spreading the word of mouth, after Posidonia, that Greece is again a place to do business, equals a multibillion promotion-


al budget to achieve the same result. EBR: SHIPPING IS A KEY AREA FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE ECONOMY. OF COURSE, THE VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTION OF THE SHIPPING COMMUNITY HAS PLAYED AN INSTRUMENTAL ROLE IN THIS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE SECTOR IN THE NEAR FUTURE? T.V.: As I have mentioned before, the Greek-owned fleet is the largest in the world, with Greek shipping companies managing some 20% of the global fleet and dominating the newbuildingorderbook and S&P market. This results in shipping being one of the two major pillars of the Greek economy, contributing close to 5% of the annual national GDP but also promoting the country’s image abroad. Greek shipping contributed some €136 billion to the national services balance of payments in the period 2007-2016, while according to data from Central Bank of Greece, revenues from transportation services increased from January to November

2017 by 17,6%. The Greek shipping industry provides highly paid jobs to almost 200,000 people and, according to the Union of Greek Shipowners, this number can increase, generating new opportunities for young people who are in search of jobs in a very competitive international environment. The above facts highlight the contribution of the Greek shipping industry to the national economy. But of course, these achievements do not come without equally big challenges that have to be met by the Greek shipowners. First of all, they have to remain competitive in an ever more demanding environment and keep up to date with constant new regulations and technology developments. And this is quite dependent on the need for access to finance in a very difficult financial environment. But their long standing track record, credibility and sound business decisions have allowed them to look for sources of finance outside the traditional banking sector, with great success. Another big challenge is to manage the transition from family owned traditional businesses to global enterprises. This is not an easy task, since for most of them the flexibility of being family businesses is also their competitive advantage, which allows them to immediately take advantage and reap benefits of market opportunities as they arise. All in all, I would say that the biggest challenge for the Greek shipping industry is to maintain its entrepreneurial spirit and operational flexibility while adapting to a global business environment with new requirements. And as Greek shipowners are currently coping with the new challenges in an exceptional manner, we have every reason to be optimistic for the future of the industry.

TheodorosVokos joined Posidonia Exhibitions S.A. in 2003 and is the company’s Executive Director since 2012. He is responsible for the international shipping exhibition Posidonia and launched in 2011 the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, which has become the most important event for the Sea Tourism industry in the East Med region. Mr. Vokos holds an M.A. in International Relations & European Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury, and prior to joining Posidonia Exhibitions served as a Special Adviser to the Secretary General for Industry at the Ministry of Development and as the Public Relations Manager at Unisystems S.A. Information Technology. Mr. Vokos was also the co-organiser of the first “Panorama of Entrepreneurship and Career Development” exhibition and conference in 2008, at ZappeionMegaron, in cooperation with the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB).



Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Andros: An exclusive interview with the Director Dr. Kiriakos Koutsomallis EBR's 'Extrait de Culture' winds up the cultural wealth of an island museum of great admiration in Andros. MOCA transports you to the culture, history and knowledge of the art through the pure efforts towards the love of arts. by Alexandra Papaisidorou




he Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, was founded in 1979. Apart from the work of the Andriot sculptor M. Tombros, which constitutes the nucleus of the collection, the Museum includes works of the most important Greek artists. Alongside the Greek collection, which is being constantly enriched, a collection of works by great foreign artists is being put together. In July 1986, the new wing of the Museum was inaugurated, where, to date, international exhibitions of works of Picasso, Kypka, Matisse, Kandinsky, Balthus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Paul Klee have been held, as well as exhibitions of works by the well-known Greek artists Bouzianis and Galanis and also, in cooperation with the National Gallery of Athens, K. N. Karagatsis, N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, D. Mytaras, A. Fassianos, G. Gaitis, and O. Zouni. The yearly exhibitions of the museum are a must visit attraction on this blue island in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Dr. Kiriakos Koutsomallis responds vividly to EBR's questionnaire and reminds that art needs to be tender and passionate. An interview that erases our imagination and craving to visit Andros and MOCA, an experience of a lifetime. THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ANDROS HAS MANY PERMANENT EXHIBITIONS OF A GREAT SUCCESS. “APPROACHING SURREALISM”- ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PAST EXHIBITIONS - WAS MY FIRST

THOUGHT OVER THAT, COULD YOU PLEASE SPECIFY A FEW POINTS ABOUT THE CRITERIA OF CHOOSING COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITS AND WHAT FACTORS MAKE SOME OF THEM TO BE SOME REMARKABLE? The Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros has a long list of remarkable exhibitions, from our beginning in 1986, exhibiting great artists, such as: Henri Matisse, Wasilly Kandinsky, Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, Paul Klee, Giorgio De Chirico, Auguste Rodin, Camille Claudel, Henry Moore, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Joan Miró, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, André Masson, Paul Delvaux, Isamu Noguchi, Man Ray, and others of great note. The Museum aims towards either presenting artists that are not easily accessible to the people of Greece without having them to travel abroad or to bring a new viewing in artists already known. HOW HAS YOUR LOVE FOR ART BEEN ORIGINATED? We are on a journey commenced by Basil and Elise Goulandris, the Founders of the “Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation”. They were art lovers and collectors. Their prime directive was to bring the world of art closer to the Greek audience through their Museums. Following their passing, the Board of Trustees, consistently con-



tinue their vision, and stay true to their ethos. HOW CAN THE SEPARATE UNITS OF THEMATIC AREAS INTO THE MUSEUM INFLUENCE THE VISITORS’ PREFERENCES? FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ARE SOME EXHIBITIONS OR COLLECTIONS MORE POPULAR THAN OTHERS, HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT? All temporary exhibitions are carefully selected and hold their ground as an important artistic event. There is a relatively stable number of visitors each year which shows trust in our choices. If I had to mention specifics, on the whole there have been a stable number of visitors across all of our exhibitions, but an increased influx has been noted for the more widely known artists. WHAT IS WORTH VISITING THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ANDROS FOR THE CURRENT PERIOD? Artworks from the permanent collection of the Museum, by Greek and foreign artists are on display, until the end of May. On the 1st of July 2018, an exhibition dedicated to the recently departed Greek painter Dimitris Mytaras shall be inaugurated. Apart from the above, the Museum is situated in a picturesque location next to the sea. Our visitors have stated that this is another reason for visiting our museum in Andros.


WHAT ARE THE FUTURE GOALS FOR MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ANDROS? FURTHERMORE, COULD YOU PLEASE, INFORM US ABOUT THE NEW OPENING OF MOCA CHATTER IN ATHENS? The Museum in Andros shall continue to present important exhibitions with an emphasis in contemporary Greek artists. Simultaneously the new Goulandris Museum in Athens is about to open its doors, hosting the Basil and Elise Goulandris collection which shall exhibit works by Greek and foreign artists. Some indicative names are those of: Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gaugin, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, to mention a few. Apart from the permanent collection, the Museum will also host temporary exhibitions as well as educational programs, lectures, presentations and numerous other events in the state-of-the-art areas, specifically designed for these purposes. HOW CAN VISITORS BE MORE UPDATED ON MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ANDROS NEWS? We make sure that each year we communicate our events via press releases, advertisement in magazines (which are available on the mainland), television spots,


radio advertisements, and via the social media, our website as well as posters and leaflets which are also available in shops and hotels of the island. We have significant third-party exposure from media coverage and articles. UNDER WHICH EFFORTS AND FUNDS CAN LARGE EXHIBITIONS BE DEVELOPED? All exhibitions are realized via our own financing. DO YOU HAVE MANY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS? COULD YOU MAKE US A BRIEF DESCRIPTION?

the above responses. WHAT IS THE PROMOTION OF THE MUSEUM ABROAD? The power of social media knows no borders. Our museums have been visited by almost all nationalities of this world. HOW COULD MUSEUMS CONSIST THE TOOLBOX OF THE PROMOTION TARGETING IN CULTURAL TOURISM FOR GREECE?

Every August we have specially designed children's programs which are interactive and motivational. These are always connected with the artist been exhibited.

As a private foundation, we undertake all our exhibitions utilizing our own means. All of our events has attracted significant international attention. We have no hard statistics to supply, but the proof of this lies with the international visitors to our museums.


In addition, our interactions and lending programs with other museums based in Europe and the United States of America attest to this.

All facets of Greek life have been adversely affected by the global crisis. Andros is no exception. WHICH ARE THE REASONS FOR SOMEONE TO VISIT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN ANDROS? We believe that this has already been answered from

IS THERE A EUROPEAN CULTURE, IN YOUR OPINION? European artists have directly transformed the European culture. This has been ongoing for centuries, spanning from the foundations of Europe till today.



Artist Nelly Rapti: Faith to Greek Tomorrow Paintings that hymne Greek beauty consist the new concept of the worldwide fame artist’s work by Alexandra Papaisidorou


ature is what moves us. Greek beauty welcomes our spirit and refresh our mind. And we're not alone in this feeling. Humans have longed to create since the beginning of their existence, and have always drawn inspiration from nature in some way, shape, or form — whether as cavemen drawing animals on walls or modern performance artists making a statement about physiolatry. Nature is the greatest inspiration to see beauty in the world, and draw attention to some of the most pressing matters in human and environmental affairs. With art as a lens, we can learn to change the world. The Greek artist Nelly Rapti fills up our heart with so many special feelings from her vibrant contemporary art, craft, design, and inspiring stories behind it. Her works of art consist a hymn to Greek natural scene and culture by seducing the Asian and European world and numbering many public exhibitions all around the five continents. Her current exhibition is concentrated on the Greek landscapes. Nelly Rapti characterises her work as a travel in time into traditional Greek neighbourhoods and memories-moments that touch our soul full of love for one of the most ancient civilisations. Nell Rapti replies to EBR’s questionaire by giving an emphasis on the balance made by the two tendencies that of realism and symbolism which compose their works of art. She points out that her own experience travelling around Greece and the nostalgia emerged by the loss of Greek power


and status due to financial crisis and a general social-ethical crisis our country faces up. The artist outlines that through her paintings would like to send her own message that of support and sensitiveness to harsh Greek reality. Greek icons series mark a peak point of Nelly's Rapti artistic work as it consists the content of her painting place of interest for the years to come as well as for the current time. She drastically renewed his pictorial vocabulary to better serve the subject matter of his paintings. She tries to remain independent by depicting the typical authentic Hellenic nation through her palettes of homeland love. She introduces realism with bold symbolism in terms of form and colour and symbolic references. The exhibition will be presented in the capital-heart of Greece in Athens on the occasion of the 4th AISDD Athens International Symposium on 6th -7th July 2018 in Athens Hilton hotel. It trace the artist’s journey to the path of Greek beauties by showcasing sketches and preliminary drawings of her final works. It will also examine the beginning of his artistic inspiration of the theme, starting from her father's adoration for his homeland as during his childhood he was about to face up the Greek war and the German Resistance. Through her art she tries to capture the beat of Greek civilisation and give a more optimistic aspect, that of remaining stable here ready to fight for our values.


18 meeting rooms, all with natural day light! Hi-tech AV equipment and an excellent fiber optic WiFi are at your disposal.

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How Corporate Governance brings financing? by Dr. Venetia Koussia*


ccording to SAFE 2016 survey most SMEs are facing difficulties in accessing financing and consequently their sustainable growth is at stake. In particular, one out of four SMEs in Greece faces such a reality today. When a company wishes to shift away from dependence of the founding entrepreneur, governance processes are needed to ensure business continuity and success re-enforcing the efforts of founder. Improved leadership, decision making and strategic vision make it easier to monitor and manage the various risks a company may face as it grows in size and complexity. New sources of funding are sought after by smaller entities in their demanding journey to finance their expansion and growth. Banks, venture capitalists and private equity investors need an explicit governance framework to assure them that their investment will be well managed. A well-prepared pitch brochure as well as an effective comprehensive Annual Report are necessary not only to comply with new laws and regulations and avoid heavy fines, but will be used for showcasing that the company operates with high professionalism and sustained commitment in its operations. In particular, the new regulations in Greece require companies within scope to disclose, to the extent necessary for an understanding of the company’s development, performance, position and impact of its activity, information relating to environmental, employee, social, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery matters. A company is also required to describe, where relevant and proportionate, the business relationships, products and services which are likely to cause adverse impacts relating to the principal risks identified above. Companies following standards such as the IFRS standards for financials can easily understand the importance and comply with GRI Standards or being members of the UN Global Compact can easily measure and report their performance. This has been proven useful both to the internal and external community. Given the importance of above companies seek the ser-

vices of professional providers. Not only the big four but also a small range of boutique consultancies can cover the needs and develop bespoke solutions. Public opinion does not pay much attention to the listing or not of a company, but rather to the practices applied. Sometimes unlisted companies are considered as having something to hide due to their lower levels of transparency in comparison to listed ones. External shareholders, such as customers, employees, local communities are heavily influenced in terms of respect from the existence of a good governance as potential financiers do. When company behavior does not full fill the expectations of society, even if it is not breaking any formal laws it may be operationally affected by the negative perception of stakeholders. Banks and institutional investors do not stop repeating that they are not any more interested in collaterals; they are interested in company’s mission and strategic plans presented by a reliable and driven team. The governance of companies in today’s globalized economy is of utmost importance and growing public scrutiny of corporate behavior is here to stay. The public demand for improved corporate accountability and transparency has grown and is not limited to financials but it is expanding to non-financials which need to be explicitly explained. Does any company still have the “luxury” to abstain from establishing a corporate governance framework? * Dr. Venetia Koussia During her longstanding career, Dr Venetia Koussia has acquired senior management positions in companies of various fields, leading them through highly volatile market conditions and emerging socio-economic challenges by creating and implementing socially responsible growth strategies. Currently she is a Member of the Board of the AmericanHellenic Chamber of Commerce and Employment Committee Chair and leads her own exclusive advisory agency focusing at transforming companies through Effectively Governed Boards.



New consumer standards and behavior of the Global Consumer by Dr. Antonis Zairis *


ooking back a few years ago at the dawn of the 21st century, we will observe the enormous changes that have occurred in the daily lives of global consumers. Then 30% of people in developing countries lived in extreme poverty. Today this 30% has become 15%. Mobile phone owners were only 12%-today they have reached 65%- while Facebook now has 1.5 billion users. These and many other developments have changed the way the consumer thinks and behaves, the way the individual chooses the products that he/she wants to buy, even the way of living. Technology is relentless, transcends geographical boundaries and cultures, the speed of convergence of countries around the world with technology factor is either a determinant transition factor in another era, or a failed approach because of a failure to adapt. Rapid adaptation of countries to new technological challenges (connectivity-Internet-Robotics) is indicative of even overcoming the crisis with technology flagship countries to lead the way in advances by making proud the consumers.


E-commerce, widespread use of smart devices as a means of facilitating daily tasks, rapid updating and optimization of consumer buying experience at a individualized level, multiple channels of contact with potential users andcustomer-driven added value, affect the retail industry and business behavior in the design and strategic analysis as well as marketing of new consumer products. Based on new consumption standards and the influence of technological developments, the Consumer is changing, constantly changing. The experience one seeks will outweigh the value and price of the product as a key factor in brand differentiation. Beingengaged consumers, they want to spend more and more, they always seek higher levels of satisfaction and constantly improve their living standards. The modern consumers are transformed into experienced persons that askfor specific satisfaction of their needs, personalization, individuation of behavior, they compare similar products and they have increased total customer satisfactory. The modern consumers -


costumers want space (from market place to market space), different experience, emotion and sustainable competitive advantage. There is a change in the way they make their purchases. They stay at the store, using smartphone for price comparison, they want a product that affects them (authenticity) while being informed at the same time about product reviews. Of particular importance are the comments of friends, acquaintances, family and social media. CURRENT TRENDS IN RETAIL - THE RETAIL TRENDS New international trends in retail that affect not only consumers, but also retail businesses that they have to include them in their Strategic Redevelopment agenda are primarily concerned with: • The digital era in retailing with e-commerce to play a leading role in the development of global economy • The wider use of mobile retail for the purchase and replacement of products, quality and pricing comparisons etc.Today, 65% of the population has a mobile average phone and 90% of them have mobile internet access. • Mobilization of tourists as a dynamic growth market, because they are regarded as potential customers. One trillion of citizens visit different countries annually for many reasons – and not just for tourism. • Organizing natural retail outlets according to particular consumer needs, enabling consumers to make multiple purchases in an easy way. It should be noted that 51% of consumers want to contact the product through the physical store before they buy it, while 21% make multiple purchases (GFK July 14, 2017). • 58% of global consumers think that it is extremely important the same product to be offered to all countries at the same price, e.g. Brazil 69%, India 74% and Turkey 72%. With regard to purchases from an online store, 55% of buyers prefer this type of money-saving purchases (GFK July 14, 2017). • The convenience of consumers when they want to make their purchases, as convenience of purchase means saving time for the customer and profitability in retail. For example, the WHEELYS 247-MOBYMART, which is essentially an exposition places-self-riding supermarkets where it is searched for and found by the consumer through the mobile phone (it is open 24 hours a day, powered by solar energy, totally interactive, ventilated) scanning the products in need and charging the bill without waiting in the queue and without using cash.

• The buying experience that consumers want to feel when they visit a store in order to make their purchases. Based on a survey by GFK Research Firm, 4 out of 10 consumers (40%) would be interested in a retail store that would allow them to participate in the final product formulation ( ask about the final product form). The buying experience is absolutely connected to the modern consumer as a big "piece" of the product, in addition to covering the specific need, represents the feeling of joy, entertainment and the whole market experience offered by a modern retail store (retailtainment). In conclusion, we would suggest that there are two (2) key functions that need to be emphasized if we want to talk about the future of retail businesses globally; these are marketing and innovation. Kundera was the first to have mentioned it and Drucker then confirmed it. Technological innovation that involves creating an intelligent product and marketing that must be integrated into the business culture so as to reach new customers and new markets with a different approach and different methodology. Successful Business is the one that finally makes the difference for the Customer, the Consumer. It is the one who sees what is happening around, perceives upcoming events, draws useful information, knows how to process it and especially it has ease of adaptation to the rapid changing international environment. * Dr. Antonis Zairis Vice President at the Hellenic Retail Business Association



Three factors for happiness at work Consider these questions before you embark on a career by Annet Aris *


ucy Kellaway, everyones favourite acerbic Financial Times columnist, surprised the business community by leaving the paper after more than 30 years to retrain as a secondary school teacher.

you would like to join and why. Even at a large corporation, the question of which department you would like to join may surface.

She had a successful career marked by multiple accolades with a healthy paycheque. And she was very good at her job. Apparently other factors played an important role in her decision to switch roles.

Although professional choices are crucial for our well-being and success, we often make them far too carelessly. When an opportunity suddenly appears, we either accept or reject it without really taking the time to consider possible alternatives.

Many of us face decisions on how to best spend our time. It is not always as drastic as a change of career or job, but still very important with regards to how we feel and how much we learn, or other aspects of our professional lives. For example, when you are self-employed, your clients can make a big difference. Or when you work in a professional services firm as a lawyer, accountant or consultant, the type of projects you work on can make a major difference. As a supervisory board member, you have to decide which boards



We may be afraid that if we let this opportunity pass, no other will follow, so we make decisions based on this single offer and err on the side of safety. It is not a bad thing in itself to work in a more challenging, less than optimal situation where we might learn worthwhile lessons. In the long term, however, it will drain us: Not only is it highly likely that we will underperform, but it will take up so much extra energy that we might be tempted to throw in the towel.


For this reason it is important, even at the start of our career, to courageously look for the option that fits us best. The next challenge is to make the right judgement. Very often what we think is important is not important at all. A classic mistake I see is that we define our interests on the basis of criteria that are not very relevant. We are too eager to prioritise in terms of an exciting industry, a prestigious company or a high-status role. At first glance, these all seem to be valid criteria, but in practice they have little predictive value for professional happiness. Frequently, the most exciting projects or jobs are those from which we expect less fulfilment. I found this out, to my own surprise, during my career at McKinsey. Against all my expectations, a project on the reorganisation of public transport in Hanover was one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on, more so than defining the internet strategy of a flashy media company. Also with regards to the supervisory boards, neither the industry nor the size of the company have been the most determining factors for the satisfaction I gained from working on that board or the impact I had. THE QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ASKING So what makes a difference? I see three recurring factors. First, to what extent are you aligned with the key values of your company (or your current project)? For in-

stance, some companies have a more private equity mindset, focused on significant market value creation over a relatively short period. Other companies are concerned with (social) impact over the long term. Neither outlook is better, but they are different. The second question relates to how people treat each other in an organisation. For instance, the style might be open and direct (and thus occasionally confrontational) or it might be more diplomatic, which runs the risk of devolving into political games. The last, and perhaps the most significant question, concerns the people you will be dealing with. They play a crucial role: Are you looking forward to spending your days with them? And do they help you grow? HOW AND WHY INSTEAD OF WHAT AND WHERE In short: To remain motivated and inspired in the long term, we often attach too much importance to the what and where and too little to the how and why. Choosing the right criteria is even more important than the decision itself. * Annet Aris Adjunct Professor of Strategy at INSEAD. She is also a board member of Thomas Cook PLC in London, ASML Holding N.V. in Veldhoven, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE in Munich, ASR Nederland N.V. in Utrecht and Jungheinrich AG in Hamburg.





What will space exploration look like in the future? The process of assembling the International Space Station (ISS) started in 1998 and was completed in 2011, with five partners involved: Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States by Nayef Al-Rodhan *


t was initially planned to operate only until the year 2020, but in 2014 the US decided to extend its life until 2024. Since then Russia has proposed to extend further the life of the ISS to 2028, and the US space agency NASA seemed ready to accept this new extension. However, major space policy changes happened in the US in 2017, with the revival of a high-level White House body, the National Space Council (NSpC), chaired by the Vice President. The new priority of the White House is a return to the Moon in the 2020s, as a step towards Mars in the 2030s. In order to free funds for this new strategy, the NSpCfavours an end-of-life of the ISS in 2025. A compromise with Congress will likely lead to the decision for an orderly transition of the ISS after 2025, from its current configuration to a public-private partnership (PPP) model, reusing the existing elements totally or partially. At the end of this transition process, there may be one or many public-private stations, operating more or less commercially in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Such a scheme would also mean that the space agencies owning and operating the ISS today would be customers buying services on a public-private basis from private space stations. If this scheme was not viable economically, the ISS may be finally decommissioned. Its structure would be guided in a controlled manner into the Earth’s atmosphere, so that it burns up over large sections of ocean. In any case the ISS will leave an impressive legacy for research and international cooperation. At the beginning of 2018, the ongoing mission is Expedition 54, which constitutes the 54th rotation of the permanent ISS crew of six astronauts. NASA has an extensive list of experiments, which will benefit from extension of the life of the ISS for a few more years.

For example, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, NASA’s particle physics detector, is researching dark matter in a setting that would not be possible on Earth. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE ISS? At the two-day International Symposium for Personal and Commercial spaceflight in October 2016, the decommissioning of the ISS was one of the major talking points. Charles Bolden, then head of NASA, announced that private companies would soon have the possibility of docking modules at the ISS, confirming an expectation that there will be a shift towards privately-funded ISS crews and missions, with the possible development of commercial space stations after decommissioning. In fact, the foundations for private actor involvement in space are quite established. Bigelow Aerospace, an American space technology company, has already developed habitat modules, or expandable habitats (the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM), which are able to provide radiation and thermal protection and serve as a facility in which astronauts can operate in space. The first launch was in April 2016, from SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft CRS-8 on a resupply mission to the ISS, which represented the first step private actors have made towards a replacement ‘station’ located in space. Other private corporations such as Orbital Sciences, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corp are all developing new technologies to be used on future missions, and Axiom Space is seeking to establish the world’s first private, international, commercial space station by 2020 – the Axiom International Commercial Space Station. Supporters of commercial space stations point to significant cost reductions for state space agencies. Space agencies would rather be able to lease an expandable orbiting habitat at a relatively affordable price – per-



developments constitute integral steps in achieving China’s plans to complete the space station by 2022. China was unable to cooperate on the ISS due to refusal by the US. Currently, China’s space station plans are among the most comprehensive of any nation and with a successful completion of the Tiangong Space Station, China could potentially challenge US dominance. The possible fragmentation of outer space research activities in the post-ISS period would constitute a break-up of an international alliance that has fostered unprecedented cooperation between engineers and scientists from rival geopolitical powers – aside from China. The ISS represents perhaps the pinnacle of postCold War cooperation and has allowed for the sharing and streamlining of work methods and differing norms. In a current period of tense relations, it is worrying that the US and Russia may be ending an important phase of cooperation.

haps at $1 million for a one to two month visit. While the ISS has cost over $100 billion to develop, BEAM was constructed for $17.8 million. Such cost reductions could increase the accessibility of space exploration for countries with less experience and financial resources. Private space stations could not only serve as a base for scientific research, but also a hub for those travelling to the moon or to Mars, or to support the activities of emerging space actors, such as asteroid mining companies. Public-private partnerships for space station cooperation are also likely to gain traction, due to the cost reduction benefits. Such concepts fit well within the new space policy framework setup by the US Federal Administration in 2017. But states are also preparing for life after the ISS. For example, Russia apparently considers the creation of its own space station, and after 2024 it may detach its ISS modules with the aim of constructing of a new Russian habitable space station – dubbed the Russian Orbital Station (ROS). Roscomos sees the creation of an autonomous space station as a necessary prerequisite for fulfilling its ambitions in space, including the establishment of a Moon base. In addition, China is planning its own permanent space station – the Tiangong Space Station. In October 2016, the Chinese space agency successfully launched two taikonauts (a term for Chinese astronauts) to board the experimental space laboratory (Tiangong 2). These


Nevertheless, Russia indicated its willingness to extend the life of the ISS beyond 2024, or possibly to become a partner in a follow-on project of NASA, called the Deep Space Gateway (a small ISS-like station in cislunar space) – fueling hopes of further outer space research. The International Spacecraft Working Group (ISCWG), made up of ISS colleagues from the US, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada, is tasked with mapping ideas and technical details for launching a new deep-space exploration program, expected in the 2020s. The European Space Agency (ESA) has expressed an interest in extending international cooperation, whatever the fate of the ISS. ESA envisages the construction of a moon base, comprising a collaborative community of both public and private organisations from around the world (the “Moon Village”). A lunar base – just four days from Earth – would allow scientists to research and test technologies which could facilitate explorations to farther destinations, such as Mars. As the ISS as we know it will likely no longer exist in a decade from now, the cooperation it initiated will hopefully persist and even attract other private and state players. In the future, it is likely that private actors will increasingly fill the void left behind by the ISS and that certain states will seek to establish their own space stations. However, there still appears to be a number of initiatives which can promote international cooperation in space, which is one of the main legacies of the ISS and perhaps its greatest achievement.

* Nayef Al-Rodhan Honorary Fellow, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University