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14 PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 Trends




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The EU is looking to Ukraine through steamed up glasses

Angela Merkel’s Second Decade



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Anthi Louka Trikouki Issue Contributors

Judy Dempsey, Mark Dawson, Mike Baab, Gilles Merritt, Panos Economides, Jonathan Woetzel, Philippe Vanrie, Vassilios Makios, Jorge-A. Sanchez-P, Nikos Vogiatzis, Antonio Fatas, Thanos Niforos, Dave Parro, Peter Cappelli, Alexandra Papaisidorou, Vesna Pusić Correspondents

Will Cameron get what he wants and will it matter if he does?

“Brussels” must break its silence on tackling terrorist threats



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New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs

Investing for Impact: Capital Fusion for Social and Environmental Good



What It Really Takes to Attract Top Talent

The changes essential to the EU’s Future

ISSUE 4 / NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2015, YEAR 19th Published bimonthly under the license of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review trademark is a property of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review is strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without official permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. Every case is taken in compiling the contents of that magazine, but we assume no responsibility for the affects arising therefrom. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher nor of the European Business Review magazine.

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THE EU IS LOOKING UKRAINE THROUGH STEAMED UP GLASSES By N. Peter Kramer The European Court of Justice annulled sanctions against a Ukrainian oligarch, critisising the evidence relied on by the European Council and delivering a blow to the EU’s sanctions regime. The Court struck down a Council decision that froze the assets of Andriy Portnov and imposed an EU travel ban. The judges blasted the Council for relying solely on accusations from the Ukrainian Public Prosecutor’s Office. While the letter from the prosecutor failed ‘to provide any details concerning either the facts alleged against Mr. Portnov or his responsibility in that regard’. The Council had justified Portnov by describing him as ‘subject to criminal proceedings in Ukraine… in connection with the embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds and their illegal transfer outside Ukraine’. The Court concluded Portnov was at the time only the subjectof a preliminary investigation and putting him on the blacklist was based on flimsy accusations. This ECJ ruling will certainly have consequences on the pending cases of other blacklisted oligarchs which have also appealed to EU court, complaining they have been sanctioned solely based on recommendation from Ukraine’s public prosecutor. The recent local elections took place in some parts of Ukraine. reported that ‘there was vote rigging, criminality, dodgy candidates, violence, widespread voter apathy and buckwheat handouts, and one set of elections even had to be canceled after it was ‘discovered’ late in the day that the printers used for producing ballot papers belonged to the oligarch bankrolling one of the candidates’. Strange to read in a press release of the office of EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini that ‘the elections (in Ukraine) were competitive, well organised overall and the campaign generally showed respect for the democratic process.’ The glasses are seriously steamed up in the EU palaces around Rondpoint Schuman in Brussels. Or is it just the usual prejudice…



ANGELA MERKEL’S SECOND DECADE By Judy Dempsey* Angela Merkel spent the beginning of her eleventh year as German chancellor in the Bavarian capital, Munich. By all accounts, it was not a very pleasant occasion. Europe’s most powerful leader had to endure snide remarks and criticism from the Christian Social Union, a regional party that just happens to rely on Merkel’s popularity to remain in power as part of Germany’s governing coalition.




he party’s leader, Horst Seehofer, has done everything possible to undermine Merkel as she faces the biggest challenge in her political career: a refugee crisis that has pitted Merkel against her own conservative bloc and against several EU countries. Seehofer, however, seems more interested in posing as a possible challenger to Merkel than in helping her cope with hundreds of thousands of refugees—or with the terrorist threat facing Europe. Both issues could define Merkel’s role in Europe. More than ever before, Merkel needs Europe and vice versa. Merkel needs a stronger and more integrated Europe to deal with the conflicts and wars raging in its Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods. The wretched response by most EU countries to the refugee crisis not only shows a lack of humanity in face of the suffering of so many people. It also reveals an EU that does not function as a bloc willing to take and share responsibility. Several EU leaders argue that the refugee crisis and its causes have nothing to do with Europe. Yet the EU’s mishandling of, if not indifference to, the huge refugee crisis in Lebanon and Jordan—not to mention its complete lack of strategy in dealing with the aftermath of the Arab Spring—implicates Europe, whether some leaders want to admit it not. A handful of EU countries, led by Germany, are now picking up the pieces of that shortsightedness. Merkel could use the refugee crisis to push for more Europe. Her inclination to lean on the intergovernmental approach, with an emphasis on the EU’s member states rather than its institutions, has been one of her main weaknesses. In retrospect, Merkel could not have relied on the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to steer the union through the euro crisis. She could not have relied on the commission to take the lead in imposing sanctions on Russia after its annexation of Crimea and its invasion of eastern Ukraine. And she has seen how, despite his best intentions, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has no powers to implement any decisions setting out how refugees should be shared out among the member states. The refugee crisis has shown that the EU does not work when it should; that nation-states take precedence on what is a Europe-wide issue. Recent terrorist attacks in Europe are another indictment of how member states refuse to recognize the need for a united and strong response. In this context, Merkel could change the German narrative. If Merkel has so far been strong enough to rally EU countries to impose sanctions on Russia, she should be strong and confident enough to turn the EU from

a soft-power bloc into one that is willing to use hard power to defend its values and its citizens. As it is, there is not even a handful of EU countries willing to use hard power. It has fallen to France to use this approach. The attack on a luxury hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, on November 20—a week after the Paris attacks—showed how France has to pay the price for using hard power. In 2013–2014, France launched a military operation in Mali to oust Islamic militants in the north of the country. But when did soft power alone achieve its goals or protect citizens? Would Iran’s leadership have sat down to negotiate a deal over the future of its nuclear program without the threat of hard power or the knowledge that the international sanctions against it would continue? Germany cannot duck these issues, and not just because of the terrorist attacks. It is also because Berlin and the rest of Europe are witnessing the fraying of the transatlantic alliance. NATO has been passive over the refugee crisis when it could have helped the Western Balkan countries in providing security and assistance to the refugees. NATO has been passive too over the terrorist attacks. It has shown no willingness to become involved in confronting the so-called Islamic State. This is understandable. NATO’s record in dealing with the day after an intervention has been far from stellar—all the more reason for the alliance to ask what its raison d’être is in the twenty-first century and how it should deal with real threats facing Europe. European leaders, particularly Merkel, should realize that Europe needs a strong security and defense policy. Relying on one or a few member states to use hard power is not enough. Europe needs a security policy anchored to a panoply of hard- and soft-power tools. This is not only about intelligence sharing and coordination, the lack of which has been known for some time by heads of the intelligence services in London, Paris, and other capitals. It is also about Europe thinking strategically. And for that to happen, it is time for EU governments to consider a security doctrine. It will require a major shift by Merkel to make that happen. It could define her second decade in power.

*Judy Dempsey is non-resident senior associate at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of Strategic Europe





fter several months of reluctance to play his hand, David Cameron has now released his list of demands to ensure that the UK government supports Britain remaining in the EU. With his fellow EU leaders demanding a detailed list, the government’s main avenues of negotiation are now relatively clear. His speech, and accompanying letter to the President of the European Council, set out four main objectives for re-negotiation:

between Euro and non-Euro countries.

Objective 1: Protect the single market for Britain and others outside the Eurozone. What I mean by that is a set of binding principles that guarantee fairness

Objective 4: Tackle abuses of the right to free movement, and enable us to control migration from the European Union, in line with our manifesto.


Objective 2: Write competitiveness into the DNA of the whole European Union. And this includes cutting the total burden on business. Objective 3: Exempt Britain from an ‘ever closer union’ and bolster national parliaments. Not through warm words but through legally binding and irreversible changes.


Within these objectives are a number of detailed proposals. The government has clarified for example that in respect of objective 3, it wishes to re-visit the powers of the European Court of Justice (the EU’s highest Court) to create ‘new rights’ for citizens, as well as give greater veto powers for national Parliaments to block EU laws. In respect of objective 4, the government has insisted on a 4 year qualification period for access to in-work benefits for migrants from the EU currently working in the UK. There are few surprises in this last (bar perhaps the Court proposal, which echoes similar concerns about the authority of Strasbourg’s European Court of Human Rights). The political incentive for the Prime Minister is to talk up the significance of these changes. Throughout his Chatham speech, the Prime Minister had a tendency – with a view to Euro-sceptic opposition within the UK - to talk-up the ambition of his demands. He also – with a view to his EU counter-parts – talked up the possibility of recommending UK withdrawal if his demands were not satisfied: ‘I am not saying for one moment that Britain couldn’t survive outside the European Union.’ The Prime Minister has been keen throughout his tenure to talk the UK up as a trading nation whose links to the Commonwealth, the US and the wider world can compensate for increasing estrangement from its European partners. In truth, this is a list of demands that EU leaders will have little difficulty in accepting. This is so for two reasons: firstly, many demands relate to rights which the UK already has; secondly, many demands relate to purely symbolic changes, the acceptance of which will lead to little or no costs to other EU members. Examples of the former abound. While the negotiation list asks for example for guarantees to protect nonEurozone countries within the EU’s internal market, the UK has already won a series of concessions to this effect. In 2013, when the EU was negotiating a Banking Union, the UK won opt-outs from EU measures allowing central supervision and resolution of national banks by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. The UK also won agreement on a ‘double-majority’ voting system for new banking rules, allowing non-Eurozone members to block measures agreed by the Eurozone. A further example concerns national parliaments. National parliaments already have the power to demand that the European Commission reviews proposals infringing national competences. On the two occasions where this power was used by parliaments, the Commission was effectively halted from advancing its proposal. The introduction of a veto is unlikely to make any practical difference (and therefore unlikely to worry Brussels). The final and ultimate symbolic sacrificial lamb may be the EU’s commitment to an ‘ever closer union’. While this phrase may have loosely inspired the case-law of

the Court of Justice, it is totally unclear how it has any bearing on the EU’s political process or how amending it would halt or advance any concrete legislative or other proposal. Other EU leaders may be perfectly happy for Mr Cameron to opt-out of abstract ideas so long as core rights protected under EU law remain unaffected. The likely major sticking point remains Mr Cameron’s fourth objective. While a number of member states have restricted access to social benefits for non-nationals (and even been sanctioned by the EU Courts in doing so), in-work benefits are a different story. In so far as in-work benefits are related to the free movement of workers, they constitute an integral part of the EU treaties and one that EU leaders are unlikely to give up without a fight. Even if EU leaders were to agree to relax free movement rules, any agreement would likely be over-turned by the EU Courts unless included in a general EU treaty change. Like any good negotiator, this point may be being offered in the expectation of ‘win some, lose some’. As he pointed out in his speech, Mr Cameron is no novice on EU affairs. While his speech presents negotiating demands as sine qua nons, every political indication is that the Prime Minister will support Britain’s continued EU membership, regardless of the outcome. The main reason is Mr Cameron’s appreciation for the dearth of available alternatives. As our video explains, the alternatives to EU membership for Britain seem to either deprive the UK of the necessary benefits of EU trade or subject the UK to trade agreements even less respectful of UK sovereignty. As he well knows, the best guarantee for UK sovereignty in the type of globalised economic environment Mr Cameron favours may be precisely Britain’s membership of today’s European Union.

*Mark Dawson is Professor of European Law and Governance at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Mike Baab is a writer, animator and human rights consultant. **First published at







While Chinese comments were positive about the ‘historic meeting’ between Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou and mainland China’s leader Xi Jinping, November 7 in Singapore, reactions in Taiwan were decidedly mixed. Polls in Taiwan have generally found support for meetings between the two sides but have also indicated wariness about Ma’s intentions.


uring his 2 terms in office, President Ma has pushed for closer relations and reached more than 20 agreements on trade and tourism. However in Taiwan many people are worrying that Beijing wants to use the growing economic ties between the two sides to help foster its goal of unification. But still Mainland China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory that must eventually be unified and has threatened the use of force if Taiwan pursues formal independence. Mr. Ma said on his way back home, that he was not convinced by Mr. Xi’s assertion that the Chinese missiles arrayed along the Taiwan Strait were not targeting the island of Taiwan. President Ma and his KMT, started a dialogue with Beijing that resulted in the 2010 signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) boosting tourism and trade (though not yet in all sectors).

other side of Taiwan Strait, Mainland China (Peoples Republic of China), is the main point of difference between the two major parties. KMT’s presidential candidate Eric Chu stated during his official visit to the US that his party, the KMT, is better prepared to handle relations with China. Chu is only since October 17 KMT’s Presidential candidate. On that date a special Kuomintang Congress decided to replace its candidate Ms Hung Hsiu-chu by Party Chairman and New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu. This move was made after Ms Hung’s slumping poll numbers. Doubts over the suitability of her cross-strait policy also played a significant role in the change.

Polls in Taiwan have generally found support for the Ma-Xi meeting. A United Daily News poll shows that approximately 37.1 percent of respondents were satisfied with President Ma’s performance in Singapore, while 33.8 percent where unsatisfied. Mrs Tsai Ing-wen, leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and front-runner in the race to succeed Mr. Ma in the presidential elections January 2016, was very clear. In her reaction on Facebook she wrote that during the meeting ‘there was no sign the Republic of China was existing’, using the official name of Taiwan. Meanwhile, concerning which of the three candidates in Taiwan’s 2016 presidential election are most capable of maintaining stable cross-strait relations, Eric Chu, candidate of President Ma’s party Kuomintang (KMT), received the most public support at 28.2 percent. Chu was trailed by DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen at 22.3 percent and People First Party’s James Soong at 19.2 percent. Remarkable was, that in the event of the DPP chairwoman winning the January election, 67 percent are in favor of a potential meeting between Tsai and her mainland Chinese counterpart. Ms Tsai’s (DPP) party does not want any rapprochement with the Mainland. Views on ‘cross-strait policy’, the relationship between the island nation Taiwan and its huge neighbour on the

Beijing and Taipei exchange spies! Just before the historic summit of November 7 between the Taiwanese and the Chinese presidents, Beijing and Taipei exchanged spies. Beijing released Chu Kunghsun and Hsu Chang-kuo, high-ranking officers who were accused of spying and had been detained since 2006, said Taiwanese intelligence agencies.They were exchanged against a Chinese double agent, Li Zhihhao, sentenced to life imprisonment by the Taiwanese justice and who was in prison for 16 years. Taiwanese authorities announced Monday that the process for the first time with China to exchange imprisoned spies new sign of rapprochement between the two parties.Taiwan and China spy on each other since their split in 1949.







he tragic events in Paris on the evening of November 13 have once again shown that Europe has no concerted counter-terrorism plan.

Had one been put together in the ten months since January’s “Charlie Hebdo” attacks in Paris, it could have been outlined to defence and security experts from across the EU meeting in Brussels on November 16 for the annual conference of the European Defence Agency (EDA). Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg both addressed the meeting, but apart from expressing their shock and sympathy refrained from getting into detail on possible policy responses. The EDA is, of course, concerned with defence industry cooperation rather than security. But the assembled high-level military and political players as well as journalists offered a perfect opportunity to discuss the measures needed to deter future terrorist attacks by jihadists or others.


proposed Passenger Name Records (PNR) Directive on air travellers’ data has been frozen since 2011 by concerns in the European Parliament over data privacy. That opposition was unblocked following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, so the signs are it will go through sometime next year, in much the same way that the 2010 EU-U.S. Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme finally did. What is needed now is for the EU policymakers to highlight a far more coherent approach to combatting terrorist attacks. The European public must be reassured that in the security sector “more Europe” is essential. The EU has a range of instruments at its disposal, but these need to be sharpened and publicised as deterrents. As well as the Europol policing and information-sharing organisation based in The Hague there’s the little-known EU Intelligence Analysis

So far, there has been only disarray between European governments over whether and how to retaliate against the Islamic State, or Daesh, leaders who claimed responsibility for the attacks. Yet while it’s difficult to fashion concrete policies for dealing with their ‘hybrid warfare’ tactics, it is nevertheless essential that the EU should do so. The tired old argument that unveiling anti-terrorism plans only forewarns the terrorists is no longer valid, and probably never was. On the contrary, the young men who have been radicalised to the point of becoming suicide attackers will best be deterred by the knowledge that their efforts are certain to fail. Right now, they and their sponsors in Syria or Iraq are well aware that EU countries’ counter-terrorism arrangements are patchy at best. As with earlier outrages like the Madrid and London bombings in 2005, attacks in Belgium or January’s shootings in Paris, postattack investigation reveals alarming weaknesses in the machinery of cooperation between national police and intelligence-gathering authorities. The EU has been able to claim it has had a counterterrorism strategy since 2005, which it put together in the wake of the attacks on Madrid and London. Its review then of the steps to be taken led in 2007 to the appointment of a “coordinator” whose role is to pull together the different strands of national and EU-level policies. But as with so many well-intentioned EU efforts, the counter-terrorism one has been under-funded and lacks genuine powers. It has also found itself buffeted by political winds from different directions. The

Centre that’s part of the EEAS – the EU’s ‘diplomatic service’ – whose task is to provide early warning of terrorist attacks. It is hard to tell how effective these arrangements have been. Security officials are traditionally reluctant to speak of their successes in foiling attacks, but it’s a discretion that should be questioned and reviewed. Driving home to global public opinion that Europe is well-prepared and capable of neutralising terrorist assaults is as important as taking the steps to do so. What the EU cannot afford, meanwhile, is the sorry spectacle of governments and European institutions that are yet again caught unawares and unable to convey a convincingly coherent message. For Europe’s citizens, the value of EU integration and unity must surely include greater security against terrorist attacks. But in the clamour of voices over the week-end following the Paris massacres, it was Brussels’ silence that was the most notable. *Giles Merritt Editor-in-chief of Europe’s World and Secretary General of Friends of Europe



DOES EUROPE HAVE A SOUL? By Panos Economides* “If in the next ten years we haven’t managed to give a soul to Europe, to give it spirituality and meaning, the game will be up,” pronounced several years ago Jacques Delors, then President of the European Council.



The civil society initiative, A Soul for Europe, brings together policy-makers and representatives from the business world and cultural sector with a political and intellectual interest in the European process. Every year, in the vicinity of the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Conference is made possible with the financial support of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, aiming for a new understanding of citizenship: the European identity involves creating a Europe of the Europeans, rooted in the soul of the citizens, rather than a Europe of legal systems and economics. This year’s conference was held on November 9, marking 27 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. “German reunification initiated the process of integration of former Socialist countries in 2004. Since then no further clarification has happened on how we want to shape a united Europe,” the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz said in his keynote address. “The time has come to fight for the basic European values solidarity, respect and tolerance—the soul of Europe. And it’s time to fight against those who are in favor of renationalization and desolidarisation.” In his intervention, the Greek author, Gianni Skaragas, focused on the various elements that will help create a new European narrative. “Europe has two souls. One is all those precious acts of empathy we will never find any names for, and the other is the little faith built


on the corners of our darkest moments when nothing makes sense.” Donald Tusk’s address was expected with great interest. The idea of having a Polish politician, the President of the European Council, deliver a rousing speech on November 9 at the Brandenburg Gate attracted a large, appreciative audience. The unprecedented scale of migrants flowing to Europe was among the topics covered in his speech. “We need a policy of protecting Europe not against refugees, because they are only victims who need our help, but against those, who have caused this exodus and want to make use of it for their own interests.” The undertones of the soul metaphor at the Berlin Conference conveyed the need for the European Union to acquire a political and cultural character beyond market and currency unification, but Germany is expected to take in the lion’s share of the three million refugees predicted to arrive in Europe by the end of 2017. “Closed borders under Communism used to be one of my toughest experiences,” Mr. Tusk said. “[But] let us not fool ourselves; the fall of the Berlin Wall did not automatically abolish the need for borders as such, the borders which define the area of our European freedom.” 19


14 PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 FROM THE BIGHEST MINDS IN FINANCE Some of the top financial experts spoke to Bloomberg and warned of recessions and crisis, while others shared their tips for finding yield. 1. Watch for a Worldwide Recession Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets equity and global macro, Morgan Stanley Investment Management: “We are now just one big shock away from a global downturn, and the next one seems most likely to originate in China, where heavy debt, excessive investment, and population decline are combining to undermine growth, while relatively low-debt countries from Eastern Europe to South Asia look better positioned to weather the inevitable next turn in the cycle.” 2. Fixed Income Faces a Rocky Road Dan Fuss, vice chairman at Loomis Sayles & Co. and co–portfolio manager of the $20 billion Loomis Sayles Bond Fund: Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note will likely rise to 2.6 percent to 2.8 percent by the end of 2016, Fuss says, although he cautions that the current geopolitical turmoil makes forecasting especially difficult. For investors with a bond portfolio in these rocky times, Fuss recommends a mix of Treasuries, investment-grade corporates (with maturities of five to 12 years), and high-yield debt has the best chance of success in 2016. And you’ll need to be especially picky when it comes to high-yield bonds instead of relying on an index fund, he says. “It’s quite clear that high yield has the best value relative to stocks, but there’s a lot more scatter there.”



3. Know Which Equities to Watch

6. Unicorns Will Have Their Moment—or Not

Thomas J. Lee, managing partner at Fundstrat Global Advisors:

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft Partners:

“Equities are going to do really well in 2016, especially banks and blue-chip businesses. Banks will benefit from the Fed tightening and will boost their returns on equity as the economy expands. And when you look at blue chips, they’re going to have the ability to generate stronger returns as the economy picks up.” 4. The EU Faces Its Biggest Challenge Yet Rebecca Patterson, chief investment officer of Bessemer Trust, which oversees more than $100 billion in assets: The biggest risk for Europe in the year? “It’s the refugee crisis,” says Patterson. “I think it’s the biggest challenge to the European Union yet. The horrible terrorist attacks in Paris increased the risk that the refugee crisis could result in a political and/or policy shift, or simply lead consumers to change their spending patterns. Either could weigh on sentiment around European growth and corporate profits.” Patterson is on alert for any such changes but remains overweight European equities and positioned for a weaker Euro, she says. “The Paris attacks sadly shone a light on the European refugee crisis; I assume more investors globally now are thinking more about what millions of immigrants can mean for an economy and respective markets. However, I am still not sure that investors globally have adequately thought through what market spillovers the European refugee crisis could trigger over the coming year.” 5. Expect a Lift Jim Caron, a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management: “I believe inflation risk premia will return to the markets. This should provide upward lift for 30-year Treasury yields, possibly toward 3.75 percent. The markets may also be surprised by how slowly the Fed hikes rates in the face of what we think will be an improving economic climate.”

“I am concerned about the overexuberance in financing of startups. There are just too many at the moment, and there isn’t enough money to sustain them. I think inevitably we’re going to see more of these unicorns”— startups valued at more than $1 billion—“try the public market, and that will finally tell us whether they can support themselves. By the way, I don’t think there’s enough money around to sustain all of them. We’re going to find out which unicorns can make it.” 7. The Search for Yield Will Intensify Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager: “The Fed is going to be less important in 2016,” says Koesterich, who expects Janet Yellen & Co. to raise interest rates incrementally. He predicts global growth will stay sluggish, increasing the thirst for higheryielding assets. Investors who have relied on highcoupon bonds they bought before the financial crisis are running out of those securities, he says—and there’s little to replace them that are a slam dunk. “You won’t be able to find income without risk. Asset classes from [master limited partnerships] to high-yield bonds each have their own risks—and none of them are cheap. You’re going to have to have a multi-asset-class, diversified-yield play.” 8. Get Energised Barbara Byrne, vice chairman of investment banking at Barclays Capital: “We will begin to see a recovery in the prices of natural resources for largely—and critically important— political reasons. We’re beginning to see sovereign wealth funds decline—Norway, Saudi Arabia. I think we’ll see a reversal on that; countries will not be able to afford fluctuations in their reserves. We’ll probably move to a more stable oil price, which I would say is $60 per barrel. And I think energy assets that are investing in sustainability at the same time that they’re focusing on meeting the needs of the current demands will probably do well.”



9. Study Latin America

12. China Will Be Just Fine

Tulio Vera, chief global investment strategist for the J.P. Morgan Latin American Private Bank:

Yang Zhao, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings, which cut its 2016 GDP forecast to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent on Oct. 6:

“There’s a ray of sunshine from Argentina,” says Vera. “That’s not only important for the country but also for the region.” While Vera says the investment landscape in Brazil remains uncertain, he sees Mexico continuing to benefit from the U.S. economic recovery, especially in the auto industry. “There will be some very interesting entry points in Latin American assets between now and the end of next year,” he says. “We are getting closer to a re-entry moment for some of these markets.” 10. Growth Is Coming … in 2017 Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank: “I’ve got growth accelerating a bit because it seems like there are reasons that the economy should get better, but it’s concerning that 2010 was the best year for growth since before the recession. As I look forward, the message is ‘more of the same,’ with maybe some optimism into 2017 that whoever the U.S. elects president will pursue growth policies, since this economy hasn’t done well.” 11. Impact Investing Will Target Cancer Mark Haefele, global chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management: “The world’s populations are aging, and demand for cancer treatments will only increase,” says Haefele. “Yet the supply of capital for the riskiest stages of development is limited.” Health-care companies tend to focus on later-stage research, providing an opportunity for earlier-stage investors to earn an attractive long-term return—and benefit society. “This type of practice”—known as impact investing—“is likely to become more popular as investors seek to align their portfolios with their social values as well as generating a return,” says Haefele.


“Is there going to be a hard landing in China? I don’t think so. The labor market remains largely balanced; even with 5.8 percent GDP growth, the economy will create jobs, especially in the labor-intensive services sector. And it’s unlikely that China’s financial industry is headed for a crisis because most of the country’s institutions are backed by the government. Should any systematically important financial institutions have any problems, we believe that the government will step up to rescue them.” 13. Think like a Millennial Katie Koch, a managing director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which oversees almost $100 billion in global stocks: “The rise of the millennials will have long-term investment implications,” Koch says. “Their spending trajectory is getting steeper and increasing compared to baby boomers, which are decreasing their spending as they retire.” In 2016, Koch is especially keen on Netflix, Nike, H&M, and PChome Online, a Taiwanese e-commerce company, because they prioritise instant information, quick consumption, and healthy living— themes that resonate with the 2 billion people worldwide born from 1980 to 2000. 14. More of ‘Whatever It Takes’ From the ECB Erik Nielsen, chief economist at UniCredit: “Expect further divergence between the Fed and the ECB, with the former hiking rates a couple of times next year and the latter expanding its balance sheet more than it has presently announced.”




widely held Western view of China is that its stunning economic success contains the seeds of imminent collapse. This is a kind of anchoring bias,1 which colors academic and thinktank views of the country, as well as stories in the media. In this analysis, China appears to have an economy unlike others—the normal rules of development haven’t been followed, and behavior is irrational at best, criminal at worst. There’s no question, of course, that China’s slowdown is both real and important for the global economy. But news events like this year’s stock-market plunge and the yuan’s devaluation versus the dollar reinforce the refrain, among a chorus of China watchers, that the country’s long flirtation with disaster has finally ended, as predicted, in tears. Meanwhile, Chinese officials, worried about political blowback, are said to ignore advice from outside experts on heading off further turmoil and to be paranoid about criticism. My experience working and living in China for the past three decades suggests that this onedimensional view is far from reality. Doubts about China’s future regularly ebb and flow. In what follows, I challenge five common assumptions.



1. China has been faking it A key tenet of the China-meltdown thesis is that the country has simply not established the basis for a sustainable economy. It is said to lack a competitive, dynamic private-enterprise structure and to have captured most of the value possible from cheap labor and heavy foreign investment already. Clearly, China lacks some elements of a modern market economy—for example, the legal system falls short of the support for property rights in advanced countries.2 Nonetheless, as China-economy scholar Nicholas Lardy recently pointed out, the private sector is vibrant and tracing an upward trend line. The share of stateowned enterprises in industrial output continues to drop steadily, from 78 percent in 1978 to 26 percent in 2011.3 Private industries far outstrips the value added in the state sector, and lending to private players is growing rapidly. In fact, much of China’s development model mirrors that of other industrializing and urbanizing economies in Asia and elsewhere. The high savings rate, initial investments in heavy industries and manufacturing, and efforts to guide and stabilize a rapidly industrializing and urbanizing economy, for example, resemble the policies that Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan followed at a similar stage of their development. This investmentled model can lead to its own problems, as Japan’s experience over the past 20 years indicates. Still, a willingness to intervene pragmatically in the market doesn’t imply backwardness or economic management that’s heedless of its impact on neighboring economies and global partners. Furthermore, China’s reform initiatives4 since 2013 are direct responses to the structural changes in the economy. The new policies aim to spur higher-value exports, to target vibrant emerging markets, to open many sectors for private investors, and to promote consumption-led growth rooted in rising middle-class incomes. Today, consumption continues to go up faster than GDP, and investors have recently piled into sectors from water treatment to e-commerce. These reforms are continuing at the same time China is stepping up its anticorruption drive, and the government hasn’t resorted to massive investment spending (as it did in 2008). That shows just how important the reforms are.

2. China’s economy lacks the capacity to innovate Think tanks, academics, and journalists alike maintain that China has, at best, a weak capacity to innovate— the lifeblood of a modern economy. They usually argue as well that the educational system stomps out creativity. My work with multinationals keen on partnering with innovative Chinese companies suggests that there’s no 24

shortage of local players with a strong creative streak. A recent McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) study describes areas where innovation is flourishing here.5 Process innovations are propelling competitive advantage and growth for many manufacturers. Innovation is at the heart of the success of companies in sectors adapting to fast-changing consumer needs, so digital leaders like Alibaba (e-commerce) and Xiaomi (smartphones) are emerging as top global contenders. Heavy investment in R&D—China ranks number two globally in overall spending—and over a million science and engineering graduates a year are helping to establish important beachheads in science- and engineering-based innovation. (See “Gauging the strength of Chinese innovation.”)

3. China’s environmental degradation is at the point of no return To believe this, you need to think that the Chinese are content with a dirty environment and lack the financial muscle to clean things up. OK, they got things wrong in the first place, but so did most countries moving from an agrarian to an industrial economy. In fact, a lot that’s good is happening. Start with social activism. A documentary on China’s serious airpollution problems (Under the Dome), by Chai Jing—a former journalist at China Central Television (CCTV), the most important state-owned broadcaster—was viewed over 150 million times in the three days after it was posted online, in March 2015. True, the 140-minute video, which sharply criticizes regulators, state-owned energy companies, and steel and coal producers, was ultimately removed. But the People’s Daily interviewed Chai Jing, and she was praised by a top environmental minister. China is spending heavily on abatement efforts, as well. The nation’s Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, mandating reductions in coal use and emissions, has earmarked an estimated $277 billion to target regions with the heaviest pollution.6 That’s just one of several policy efforts to limit coal’s dominance


in the economy and to encourage cleaner energy supplies. My interactions with leaders of Chinese cities have shown me that many of them incorporate strict environmental targets into their economic master plans.

4. Unproductive investment and rising debt fuels China’s rapid growth To believe this, you would have to think, as many skeptics do, that the Chinese economy is fundamentally driven by overbuilding—too many roads, bridges, and buildings.7 In fact, as one economist has noted, this is a misperception created by the fact that the country is just very big. An eye-popping statistic is illustrative: in 2013, China consumed 25 times more cement than the US economy did, on average, from 1985 to 2010. But adjusted for per-capita consumption and global construction patterns, China’s use is pretty much in line with that of South Korea and Taiwan during their economic booms.8 China’s rising debt, of course, continues to raise alarms. In fact, rather than deleveraging since the onset of the financial crisis, China has seen its total debt quadruple, to $28.2 trillion last year, a recent MGI study found.9 Nearly half of the debt is directly or indirectly related to real estate (prices have risen by 60 percent since 2008). Local governments too have borrowed heavily in their rush to finance major infrastructure projects. While the borrowing does border on recklessness, China’s government has plenty of financial capacity to weather a crisis. According to MGI research, state debt hovers at only 55 percent of GDP, substantially lower than it is in much of the West. A recent analysis of China’s financial sector shows that even in the worst case—if credit write-offs reached unprecedented levels—only a fairly narrow segment of Chinese financial institutions would endure severe damage. And while growth would surely slow, in all likelihood the overall economy wouldn’t seize up.10 Finally, the stock-market slide is less significant than

the recent global hysteria suggests. The government holds 60 percent of the market cap of Chinese companies. Moreover, the stock market represents only a small portion of their capital funding. And remember, it went up by 150 percent before coming down by 40. Rumors drive the volatility on China’s stock exchange, often in anticipation of trading by state entities. The upshot is that the direct impact on the real economy will most likely be some reduction in consumer demand from people who have lost money trading in shares.

5. Social inequities and disenfranchised people threaten stability On this one, I agree with the bears, but it’s not just China that must worry about this problem. While economic growth has benefited the vast majority of the population, the gap between the countryside and the cities is increasing as urban wealth accelerates. There’s also a widening breach within urban areas—the rich are growing richer.11 Urban inequality and a lack of access to education and healthcare are not problems unique to China. People here and in the West may find fruitful opportunities to exchange ideas because the pattern across Western economies is similar. Leaders of the central government have suggested policies to improve income distribution and to create a fair and sustainable social-security system, though implementation remains a matter for localities and varies greatly among them. In short, China’s growth is slower, but weighing the evidence I have seen, the sky isn’t falling. Adjustment and reform are the hallmarks of a stable and responsive economy—particularly in volatile times. *Jonathan Woetzel is a director in McKinsey’s Shanghai office, as well as a director of the McKinsey Global Institute. A version of this article was previously published on, on October 5, 2015.





NEW FRONTIERS FOR INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS EBN is a 30 years success story of European intervention. EBN’s task was to coordinate the activities of business and innovation centres in Europe (EU|BIC’s), ensuring the best quality of service was delivered to start-ups and SME’s. Nowadays EBN is an international network of more than 250 EU|BIC’s, incubators, accelerators, clusters and entrepreneur support centres, not only in Europe but also beyond. The 2015 Annual Congress (28-30 October in Brussels) was focused on the many frontiers that start-ups and entrepreneurs, as well as business and support organisations face when developing innovative business. In this EBR Special Report an impression of the succesful EBN Congress, interviews with EBN CEO Philippe Vanrie and European Commissioner Corina Cretu; and an article about the Greek EBN member Corallia. This issue of EBR is the last one of 2015: a year that brought many difficulties and problems on various levels, national and international. A reason for us to choose for a success story for the special report of this issue. N. Peter Kramer Editor-in-chief European Business Review




AS THE ECONOMY BECOMES MORE GLOBAL THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL FACTORS INCREASE Corina Cretu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, shows from the beginning of her mandate a drive to enhance entrepreneurial initiatives in Europe. Philippe Vanrie, CEO of EBN, spoke with Mrs Cretu on the occasion of the EBN 2015 Annual Congress in Brussels at the end of October 2015.




n Mr. Vanrie’s first question how the Commissioner looks at her job, twelve months after taking office, Mrs Corina Cretu answered:

Regional policy is becoming more and more a centrepiece for the growth and jobs strategy of the European Commission. It is tailored to the citizens’ specific needs and capacities, and it actively involves our regions in paving the way for Europe’s future prosperity, thanks to smart specialisation and the pooling of resources to address common challenges. Regional policy is the EU’s main investment policy to deliver the Europe 2020 Strategy for a smart, sustain-able and inclusive growth. Therefore I’m very pleased with my mandate. First to make sure that the conditionality provisions of the Funds – included this smart specialisation conditionality - are respected and perform their role for effective investment decisions. In addition to that, the Funds contribute to the Commission’s priorities: Juncker’s Investment Plan for Europe; the Energy Union; the Digital Single Market. And most important: to ensure coherence and coordination between all funds covered by the Common Strategic Framework, maximising synergies between instruments available at EU level. PV: When you took office, you said the Cohesion policy was a modern investment policy, with many virtuous leverage effects, cross-thematic and crosssectorial, and thus impacting the real economy. This also requires better efficiency in the delivery of these policies, an area where substantial improvement is definitely possible. What is your ‘fil rouge’ to enable this? CC: Synergies! A modern investment policy has to take advantage of the many positive interdependencies in achieving an innovation-driven growth. This starts in the regions, building strong clusters that capitalise on the triple helix dynamics of cooperation. The Commission fully supports the efforts of the member states to foster these clusters and public-private


partnerships, in general, as motors of growth through co-investment in domains of competitive growth, transforming the economy and developing new value chains. But these transformations extend into European value chains. Several European funds aim to support a bottom-up driven cooperation in interregional value chains. There is where a substantial improvement in using synergies between these support mechanisms for innovation investments is feasible, to accelerate transformations and build European critical mass for global competitiveness. The support to interregional cooperation in new value chains based on smart specialisation investments for delivering growth and jobs in the EU priority domains will be the subject of a high-level event on implementation of RIS3 that I will organise mid-2016. PV: The shift in the method for elaborating and focussing the new regional funds (with the aim to enable the emergence of smart and specialised regional innovation strategies) has been appreciated as it was rather revolutionary. How do you think this will effectively accelerate the capability of local economies/entrepreneurs to surf across the new frontiers of business and wealth development? CC: We are witnessing a paradigm shift in our growth model. As the economy becomes more global the importance of local factors increase for localisation decisions. Local economies will become more resilient to fragmentation of global value chains if they can develop unique eco- systems to attract investment in specific domains where they build a comparative advantage. That is where regional innovation strategies for smart specialisation come in, for all regions. I firmly believe that a complementary exploitation of strengths in all regions through intelligent cooperation is the next frontier. Therefore I will tackle the primary mission of regional policy of promoting convergence in economic performance in a modern way, through smart specialisation as a bottom-up driven coordination 29

model. This requires a new strategic approach, an entrepreneurial, outward looking approach to discover opportunities for all. It requires speciďŹ c capacities for identifying these opportunities, speciďŹ c governance. That is what smart specialisation strategies are all about. Smart specialisation will mobilise all regions, including lagging regions, to contribute with their strengths to the com-mon future of Europe. PV: EU|BICs were initially invented and created by your Administration (DG RE-GIO) just 30 years ago as a pilot initiative aiming at stimulating and enhancing the emergence and growth of innovative entrepreneurs at local & regional levels. Thirty years later, thanks to the professionalization of their network (EBN),EU|BICs in their current avatar have in-spired a wide series of new players who now adopt the methodology. What was unique in this pioneering vision the EC had? Given its 30-years success, should the vision be re-energised by the EC, and if so how? CC: It was ground-breaking because it clearly identiďŹ ed what was missing in the regional innovation systems: incubation and support for startup companies to revitalise the local economies. This vision was inspired by a strategic approach towards the economic 30

development of the regions based on their own growth potential, nurturing start-ups and high-growth SMEs. What we need today in this world of global challenges is the development of new value chains and of industries as a whole, to make the transition to new growth regimes such as the digital economy or the circular economy. Many of the startup and growth services that are developed by EU|BICs should be functional at that level too, because these companies are part of the new value-chains. It needs a professional approach and training of facilitators and brokers to stimulate insertion in these value chains, linked to the smart specialisation strategies of the regions. Nowadays our new pioneering vision is the transformation of our economies driven by smart specialisation and seeking complementarities in value chains that deliver solutions to common challenges. Entrepreneurial opportunities lie where local strengths can be transformed in solutions for climate change, resource depletion or ageing. So we need instruments to enable companies in local clusters to engage in interregional cooperation at the level of value chains. We should build on the methodologies for business incubation but try to upscale these efforts. The Startup Europe Initiative goes in that direction: organising


matching events between innovative ICT start-ups in specific regional networks and established companies from other regions looking for innovation partners. PV: Recent reports (including an ECA one) said EU|BICs and incubators reach better results and have higher impact when they adopt sound quality, benchmarking and monitoring mechanisms, i.e. whenthey are EU-BIC certified. Do you think this type of qualitybased smart and specialized approach should be better promoted at the regional and local levels? Should/could certification became mandatory for all new publicly funded incubators, techno-parks, clusters... ? CC: We need certainly to consolidate the best practice approaches such as demonstrated by the EU|BICs methodology. Additional efforts are needed to benchmark between the incubators and related business development infrastructures the delivery of adequate business services to starters, high-growth companies and clusters. Still too many infrastructures are underused. But overall the numbers of starters and services in the present incubators are not meeting the needs for transformation in the regions. A certification methodology has a role to play to ensure the diffusion of best practices. It should of course be a dynamic methodology that consolidates good practices, but also looks at the future needs, e.g. for developing strategic capacities to perform matchmaking in value chains, in line with the RIS3 priorities. PV: EBN, the EU|BICs network are true success stories of the European innovation and regional policy; a success which would not have been possible without the support of the Commission. It is a non-governmental organisation which celebrated three decades of operations this year, and which is a proven carrier of the various values behind innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development policies. What are your expectations and recommendations for our next 30 years?


how it will evolve in the next thirty years though, but it is unlikely that it will be business as usual. Therefore the recommendation is to keep an open innovation mindset, as you demonstrate in the organisation of your Annual Conference on New Frontiers at the end of October. Often new thinking emerges at the crossroads of different domains that work on similar objectives. The scaling-up of the services that are delivered to starters for internationalisation of their strategies is already on your agenda. Linking this to the internationalisation of smart specialisation strategies in your regions might be a good breeding-ground for new approaches to turn challenges into opportunities for Europe. This would imply developing methods for a professional facilitation of interregional cooperation in European eco-systems for smart specialisation. PV: What is yourvision on what the new frontiers in regional economic and innovation policies will look like? CC: As I said before I see regional development and regional policy taking a central place in this new frontier of integrated approaches. Because the regional dimension is so close to the ‘human scale’ where all these new trends will be integrated into the daily life of citizens, and daily practices of entrepreneurs, workers, researchers. Our regions and cities will be the ‘living labs’ of new mobility, new energy, and new health regimes. The development of these new ideas and business models remains an important task. At the same time this transformation has an international dimension, therefore Regional policy has a role to play in the ‘upscaling’ of the innovative responses to challenges. Therefore I wish that the services for incubation and growth companies become part of European ecosystems to co-develop these new value propositions. The networks have to strengthen their services to companies and clusters for integration in value chains with an international dimension. This is necessary to mobilise all resources and promote excellence and competitiveness in all regions, especially the latent potential in lagging regions. EBN has a valuable professional expertise for capacity building in the regions.

CC: I think you can be proud of the results over these past thirty years. The network is clearly on the map. It is an asset for the future. It is impossible to foresee 31





hilippe Vanrie is CEO of EBN and has charted a course for innovation for over 15 years in Europe and beyond, building a network of entrepreneurship support mechanism and platforms that have won global recognition. EBR had an exclusive interview with him in his Brussels office. EBR: Thirty years ago, in 1985, EBN was created by the European Commission as a pilot initiative for stimulating local and regional entrepreneurs. Today EBN is a private, not for-profit association of EU|BICs across Europe and in the rest of the world. How could this successful development happen? Mr Vanrie: One of the reasons behind the decision by the European Commission to launch the EU|BIC programme in 1984 was the need to ‘act locally but think globally’. The objective was not just to boost the emergence of innovative activities rooted in the regions but also to encourage those initiatives to progress through interregional collaborations and to reach out to European markets and beyond. In October 1985 DG Regio decided to create an international nonprofit organisation to manage the activities of these centres. EBN was born! Now three decades later, EBN has gained much ground and credibility and the value of its network, its presence as the leading player in entrepreneurship support is now recognised and embraced. A special report on business incubators published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) says EU|BICs reach better results and have higher impact than other EU incubators; thanks to the use of sound quality, benchmarking and monitoring mechanisms.



EBR: The 24th EBN Congress, October 2015 in Brussels, was focused on the many frontiers that start-ups, entrepreneurs, and business and support organisations face when developing innovative business. What are these frontiers? The raison d’être of EU|BICs and other EBN members is to help entrepreneurs and innovators in their journey to the new frontiers of their business, pushing the boundaries, challenging crisis, rocking the business ecosystem designing innovative patterns, spotting opportunities, creating growth and wealth for their companies and, ultimately, generating a positive impact on society. An unprecedented wave of transformation is affecting the ecosystem in which we are operating and as a result a new number of frontiers are popping up. These frontiers are digital, creative, collaborative, open, bio, green, high tech, social, societal, political, financial, geographical of course, and above all behavioural!


concrete references, strong methodological background, a high-skilled team, a quality and self-assessment culture, and modern management practices. Last advice might be the most difficult to handle: the need for a clear political independence. This is an area where all players have to progress. Probably the best intermediaries are the ones capable of staying independent while being intelligently aligned with smart policies in their field. This means being perceived and identified as the most relevant, efficient, specialised, credible and useful intermediary by the public sector; without being politically compromised. EBR: The E of EBN stand for European. Looking at your membership and activities, your organisation is broader than European and looks more a global player. My question is, doesn’t this conflict the original initiative by the European Commission?

PV: First of all, the risk of disintermediation of business and innovation support is very real. With the ‘uberisation’ of established business, a danger can be that the historic role in the support supply chain might become obsolete if there is not enough attention to the value-add and absolute usefulness of the services. To limit that risk I advise to think smartly about specialties, core competences, unique skills; to attract attention of end-users and to differentiate the business. Don’t try to claim to be a specialist in too many fields, focus on a few capabilities.

PV: Europe will definitely remain EBN’s basecamp and specialisation but progressively open to become a global connector. The professional implementation of a unique certification system for innovation-based incubators, or EU|BIC’s, on behalf of the European Commission, gave EBN a strong institutional recognition at EU and regional/local level in Europe. Organisations have been granted the EU|BIC trademark that commits to respect the obligations described within the quality process. This trademark became a standard of reference. Even governmental bodies such as the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Space Agency, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Court of Auditors adopted the trademark.

My second advice is to search for a solid credibility with the ones who directly use your support: entrepreneurs, start-ups, spin-offs. SME’s, larger firms; but also the key-stakeholders, investors, RTDperformers, academic thought leaders, policy makers. Credibility should be built on real achievements,

This development attracted attention outside Europe to a large extends. The EU|BIC trademark is recognised now all over the world, in China, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Brazil, Chile, USA, Canada, Turkey, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Middle East.

EBR: What is your advice for the EBN members to challenge these frontiers?








EBN’s CEO, Philippe Vanrie, commenting on this audience stated: “the solid presence and support of the European Commission confirms our belief that local and regional actors should take up the EU|BIC model if they indeed want to cross new frontiers for - their innovative entrepreneurs. We hope the EBN Congress will continue to serve as a platform for international partnerships that allow our entrepreneurs to grow global, guarantying the best quality of support.”


ver 270 delegates, 25 start-ups and 100 speakers from over 34 countries, converged in Brussels for the 24th EBN Congress from 28 to 30 October at the Albert Hall.

This year’s traditional Welcome Cocktail took place at the Brussels Region Parliament and counted on welcoming speeches from EBN President Álvaro Simon de Blas and Jan-MikolajDzieciolowski, Cabinet Member of the European Commissioner for Regional Policy. The Gala Dinner was hosted at the Brussels Comic Strip Museum where the newly certified EU|BICs were handed out their certificates.

Entitled New Frontiers for Innovative Entrepreneurs, the event provided the delegates with insight on the latest trends in business and innovation support, while showcasing opportunities for the client companies of EBN member’s to grow their businesses global, through the network. Much valued networking moments were added to 17 content sessions that counted on the speeches from top experts including Microsoft, SAP, Altran, World Economic Forum, Euronext, Deloitte, Continental, Umicore, Amway, StarCube Accelerator, EIB Institute, ESA and Congress sponsors EUREKA Network, AWEX Agency, among others. Four parallel Special Interest Groups (SIG) meetings were organised for Internationalisation, Acceleration & Funding, Bioeconomy and Green Economy grouping over 50 EBN Members to discuss future joint opportunities and projects in these areas. On the 28th October the participants had the opportunity to sit in to the EU-Brazil CONNECT Final Conference. This was the final showcase of the CONNECT project that has been exchanging innovative entrepreneurs between Europe and Brazil, in the last two years. The European Commission, SPI, the Brazilian Representation to the EU and six entrepreneurs presented the results of this initiative. Among the Congress delegates from 34 countries around Europe and the world, there were two main delegations from China and Taiwan, as well as representatives from Brazil, USA, Canada, India, Russia, Lebanon, Colombia, Morocco, Indonesia and South Korea. The audience consisted of many EBN certified EU|BICs - incubators, accelerators, clusters – project partners, researchers, local and regional authorities, other European associations and many officials from the European Commission including Cabinet members and Directors from DG Grow, DG Connect, DG Regio, DG Research & Innovation, the JRC and the Executive Agency for SMEs.

Finally, two awards were given out during the Congress: the CommBeBiz award bridging bioeconomy to business with eight life changing research projects; and theACE award, presenting the Most Investor Ready, Best Living Lab Experience and Most Impressive International Growth, to three finalists of the over 120 ICT start-ups supported by the project. The event also sparked interested from the local media, with the presence of 15 journalists and over 1000 interactions on Twitter, making the #EBNCongresshashtag a trending topic in Belgium.

Next year’s EBN Congress in Guimarães, Portugal (28-30 September) Next year’s EBN Congress, the 25th of its kind, was officially announced to take place in Guimarães, Portugal on 28-30th of September 2016.




INSPIRING INNOVATION. DRIVING EXCELLENCE Prof. Vassilios Makios, Dr. Jorge-A. Sanchez-P, Dr. Nikos Vogiatzis*


orallia is a Unit of the Research and Innovation Centre Athena, established in Greece for the management and development of Innovation Clusters, in knowledge-intensive and exportsoriented technology segments, where Greece has the capacity to build sustainable innovation ecosystems. In those clusters, Corallia acts as Cluster Facilitator implementing targeted support actions. Corallia’s mission “to underpin and accelerate the development of cohesive and productive innovation ecosystems, within which actors operate in a coordinated manner, in specific sectors and regions of the country, and where a competitive advantage and export orientation exists”, was conceptualised in 2004, portraying its founders’ shared vision, namely, Prof. V. Makios, Dr. J.-A. Sanchez-P. and Dr. N. Vogiatzis. Corallia currently acts toward the diffusion of the existing know-how in high tech sectors and undertakes systematic efforts to build and further enhance the brand “Innovation Designed in Greece”. In 2013, Corallia joined the world-leading network EBN, and was later in 2014 awarded with the EU|BIC certificate and internationally recognised as a quality-certified business support organisation, which dedicates its efforts and resources to help entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to turn those ideas into viable, successful and sustainable businesses. Corallia being an EBN qualified Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) has access and closely collaborates with a


large Pan-European ecosystem of around 150 other quality-certified BICs and 100 more organisations that support the development and growth of innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. Corallia actively participates in two of EBN’s Special Interest Groups and has since the start engaged in various trainings and networking events through EBN. In October 2015, Dr. N. Vogiatzis shared Corallia’s experience and expertise with the rest of the EBN community, by speaking at the EBN Congress session focused on Creative and Digital frontiers. Corallia has supported, up to date, the development and facilitation of three highly-specialised Innovation Clusters with more than 152 members that collaborate towards the development and growth of the respective industries: the mi-Cluster (nano/microelectronics-based systems and applications cluster) the first innovation cluster in Greece; the si-Cluster (space technologies and applications cluster) aiming to develop Greece as a leading region for space technologies and applications; and the gi-Cluster (gaming and creative technologies & applications cluster) which displays state-of-the-art technology edge coupled with an extrovert, globalreaching entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, Corallia has performed preparatory actions and has contributed to the kick-off of clusters in other sectors. Corallia also pushes forward the hyper-concentration of industrial members of clusters in thematic Business Innovation Centres (BICs) in order to accelerate


synergies, the bonding of cluster members and establish reference points for the thematic sectors it supports. Corallia operates three EBN-qualified business and innovation centres.: the α1-innohub established in 2007; the π1-innohub in full operation since 2011; and the α2-innohub that opened its doors in 2014. Aiming at intensifying cluster and network collaboration across borders and sectoral boundaries Corallia is also one of the founding members of three European Strategic Cluster Partnerships in the fields of semiconductors, space and creative industries, that are established under an initiative supported by the European Commission. These partnerships, representing more than 2.000 companies and partner institutions including many SMEs, share a joint strategy to promote cross-sectoral cooperation and facilitate SME internationalisation in new “rising star” areas. In a strategic attempt to fuel the field of innovation with young entrepreneurs, Corallia implements a series of initiatives to stimulate and promote Youth Entrepreneurship with partners and donors in Greece and abroad, some of which are: the most prominent Accelerator currently operating in Greece, the egg – enter•grow•go that hosts more than 25 new startups every year in cooperation with Eurobank, the Educational Trip in cooperation with Greek student associations at highly acknowledged universities worldwide (Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Georgia Tech, UC San Diego), Career Days, Internships Days and Networking Days. Corallia has also implemented a significant number of successful projects regarding the support of businesses in the launch and commercialisation of high-tech products and services. In addition to that, it has facilitated “access to finance” activities in order for the companies to fund RTD activities and succeed in turning innovative ideas into products. Corallia is awarded with an ISO 9001:2008 certificate by TUV NORD CERT for the management programmes, measures and actions as final beneficiary of Operational Programmes, the design and maturing of programmes and projects, the schedule, implementation, monitoring, control and validation of project deliverables and the management of State Aid Programmes. Corallia was also awarded with the Bronze Label of Cluster Management Excellence for the mi-Cluster, si-Cluster and gi-Cluster. Corallia was selected as one of the 40 best European practices in 2008 in the priority area “Strengthening the dynamics of SMEs” by the European Commission, was hailed as a “Best Practice” by the EC within the


framework of the European Charter for Small Enterprises 2008 and Best Practice Selection among 151 cases from all over Europe in the category “Strengthening the technological capacity of small enterprises”; is referred as one of the most successful achievements of the EU cohesion policy, specifically mentioned in a report of the EC for European Cohesion Policy. Corallia was also mentioned among the organisations that have largely contributed to the technological development of the country by the European Commission in 2014.

*Prof. Vassilios Makios served from 1992 to 2005 as the Vice president of the research committee of the University of Patras. In 2003 he was appointed President of the Research Centre Athena, a position he held until 2005. From 2005 to 2008, he was Vice President of the Research Centre Athena. In 2006, he co-founded the Corallia Clusters Initiative. Dr. Jorge-A. Sanchez-P. Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Financial Officer at Corallia. He has more than 30 articles in journals and conferences and more than 50 invited speeches. He was research associate and consultant at various academic institutes (NTUA, ICCS, etc.) and enterprises (AT&T Bell Labs, OTE, GRNET, AlgoSystems, etc.) and served as an expert/consultant for the European Commission (DG CNECT, DG RTD, DG REGIO), Governments (Ireland, Greece), the European ICT Association (DIGITAL EUROPE), the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association (TERENA) and various telecom companies and VCs. Dr. Nikos Vogiatzis is the Co-founder and Chief Development & Operations Officer of Corallia. During his international career, he has held several positions in leading international corporations, including Bell Laboratories of AlcatelLucent Technologies, at the Forward Looking Work EMEA department in The Netherlands as a system designer and senior R&D Manager and has accumulated experience in managing complex technology and innovation projects as well as forming industrial and research clusters with private and public institutions.







t is coming up to eight years since the US Federal Reserve made the decision to bring its interest rate down to 0%. Other central banks have spent a similar (or in the case of Japan much longer) period stuck at the zero lower bound. Throughout the duration they have used all the tools at their disposal to lift inflation closer to their target and boost growth; with limited success. For eight years GDP gains have been weak or anemic, and there is very little hope that economies will ever go back to their pre-crisis trends. Some recent movements have challenged the traditional views held by academic economists and policy makers about how an economy works. Very few, for example, would have anticipated: - The idea that central banks could not lift inflation rates closer to their targets over such a long horizon. - That a crisis could be so persistent, and cyclical conditions have such large permanent effects on potential output. - Or that the natural tendency of the economy could be so slow (or fail) to adjust by itself to a new equilibrium.

The “lowflation” warning To be fair, some of these trends are not a complete surprise and correspond well to the description of depressed economies that have hit the zero lower bound level of interest rates due to deflation or “lowflation”. We were warned about them by those who studied the Japanese experience: Krugman and Bernanke, among others. However, at the time they were considered a unique example of incompetence among Japanese policy makers, and my guess is that even those who agreed with Krugman and Bernanke’s reading of the

Japanese economy would not have foreseen the same occurrence happening in other advanced economies. Since then we have learned that, either all central bankers are as incompetent as the Bank of Japan in the 90s or that, the phenomenon is a lot more natural and likely to be repeated in economies with low inflation; more so when natural real interest rates are very low. If this scenario is likely to recur going forward it might be time to rethink our economic policy framework. Some obvious propositions include raising the inflation target and considering “helicopter money” as a tool for central banks. Although neither of these proposals is getting a lot of traction.

A revolution in economic analysis My own sense is that the views held by academics and policy makers are not changing fast enough; some are just assuming that this is a one-time phenomenon that will not be repeated in the future (even if we are still not out of the current event!). The comparison with the 70s, when stagflation produced a considerable adjustment in the way academic and policy makers thought about their models and about the framework for monetary policy, is striking. During those years a high inflation and low growth environment created a revolution among academics (moving away from the simple Phillips Curve) and policy makers (switching to anti-inflationary and independent central banks). How many more years of zero interest rate will it take to witness a similar change in our economic analysis? *Antonio Fatas is a Professor of Economics at INSEAD.





n a world where addressing global social and environmental problems are still more prominent than ever, Impact Investing as an emerging asset class is the best new alternative for channeling large-scale private capital for social and environmental benefit. This is the new face of corporate social performance in the next wave of globalisation. Companies operating in emerging markets must address the challenges of serving low-income consumers and rural communities, and must adapt to the limitations that impede commerce. The global economy has reached a tipping point where emerging markets are no longer simply a rising force but are now taking center stage. Even companies with a strong existing market presence must grapple with how to expand their reach into new countries and segments, including second-tier markets and rural areas.



More than a million people in China die prematurely each year from air pollution. Throughout the developing world, water, sanitation, and hygiene are matters of life and death. Every 20 seconds, a child under five dies from a waterborne illness and eighty percent of diseases are related to contaminated water, and more than 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. The Impact Investing market Is now entering the mainstream and is emerging as an alternative asset class, forcing Investors to re-consider the nature of their portfolios and start looking afresh at the Idea of intersecting ‘money and meaning’. Impact Investing focuses on addressing major social and/or environmental challenges while generating financial returns. Impact Investing can be applied as a lens across an entire portfolio. Impact investing also refers to the component of portfolios that is most targeted on achieving environmental and social impacts. This may be in fixed income community loan funds or highly targeted environmental private equity funds. Even though, impact investing overlaps with many of other appropriate and invaluable practices such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Social Investing, Philanthropy, Mission and Program related Investments (MRI), Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), there is, however, an increasing need for well thoughtout and professional capital markets solutions to worryingly large social and economic disparities. Corporates’ actions are not philanthropy; they are key elements of the companies’ global business strategy. Major multinationals companies global revenues now comes from emerging markets and they cannot thrive as a business in a world where nearly 1 billion go to bed hungry every night, 2.8 billion are short of water and increasing numbers of people are excluded from the opportunity to work. In the future, companies with a global agenda should assume that impact investment strategies, nonprofits and philanthropies will be involved in helping to develop and adapt new operating models and technologies using a thoughtful and diversified investment strategy.

However, increasing private sector activity creates economic value but it is done with a variety of intentions. Impact investing only includes those investments made with the explicit intention of having a positive social or environmental impact, such as job creation for low-income people. The fact that an investment is made in a poor country is not sufficient to qualify it as an impact investment. A set of standardized metrics that can be used to describe an organisation’s social, environmental, and financial performance such as location in an underserved area, fostering entrepreneurs, creating jobs and economic dynamism, environment, education, skills, health and well-being and inspire further entrepreneurial activity. Impact investing requires not just the intention to affect a specific social change, but also the commitment to measure and report on that positive social change. Investors should see their self as a bridge between private capital markets and the increasingly important entrepreneurial sector in developing economies. There is a direct correlation between the growth of the low and middle classes and the profitable business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and service providers. It is estimated that 60-85% of the capital raised currently by private equity funds comes from Development Finance Institutions (“DFI”) and International Financial Institutions (“IFI”) where governments investing in funds that support economic development in poor areas. Relatively little international private capital has had access to this growing and profitable segment of the market and whatever name you give it, socially responsible investing, blended value, mission-driven investing, mission-related investing, triple-bottom line, social investing, values-based investing, program related investing, sustainable and responsible investing, responsible investing, ethical investing, environmental, social, and governance screening, Impact Investment growth is being fueled in the headlines and behind the scenes by such actors as:



• Prominent family offices for the world’s wealthiest individuals that actively seek to source, vet, and execute investments to address a range of challenges, from the perils of climate change to the suffering of people living in U.S. inner cities, African slums, or rural Indian villages. • Clients of leading private banks who call on their investment managers to provide them with more choices than just traditional investment and pure philanthropy. • Private foundations that partner with investment banks, development finance institutions, and other foundations to make investments in areas related to their social mission. • Private equity funds that aim to provide growth capital profitably to businesses that generate social and environmental returns. • Mutual funds that have dedicated a portion of their assets to emerging companies committed to generating social and environmental value or bond portfolios financing housing for low- and moderate-income families or other civic improvements. • Pension funds and sovereign wealth funds that are using their substantial resources to begin identifying how to deploy capital in ways that benefit the communities they serve and recognise the power of the capital they invest. • Corporations that find ways to materially improve the lives of the poor while creating products and services that generate a profit. Pioneers in microfinance, community development finance, and clean energy--to name a few of the arenas already full of activity--have been hard at work for decades. And some leaders in what is broadly called social investing have long been experimenting with going beyond “negative screening” to investing in companies actively doing good. On the basis of that all investments come with risk, investors look for organizations aligned with their mission of creating opportunity for people to improve their lives. They seek for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that use innovative, market-based approaches within their initiatives. Organisations that intend to develop new markets or industries, influence policy or practices among existing institutions, alter public perception, or demonstrate the power of business to create social and financial returns with significant growth potential, with the ability to scale operations and develop new markets. They ask for-profits to have the potential for a highly successful business model and nonprofits a path toward operational sustainability. They invest in management teams with a proven track record in their field of operation and an ability 42

to articulate a clear vision and strategy, reinforced by a viable business plan. The organisation must practice exemplary governance with operational efficiency and controls, transparent practices, and disciplined financial planning. They seek organizations that employ creative, entrepreneurial strategies to accomplish their goals. Investees may disrupt the status quo, establish a new business paradigm, or pioneer services for untapped market Indeed, The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (USSIF), in its 2014 Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, notes that nearly $7 trillion in U.S.-domiciled assets employ at least one socially-responsible investment (SRI) strategy. This up 40 percent from $3.74 trillion in 2012. Additionally, it reports that community investments combined with socially-responsible alternative investments -- private equity, hedge funds, property funds and other private market vehicles more likely to be impact investments targeting direct, measurable social impact -- have grown over 40 percent since 2012, to approximately $300 billion in 2014. Clearly that’s a lot of investment activity and Impact Investing has the potential to be a trillion-dollar market by 2020. Yet, a study by Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, which surveys over 10,000 equity mutual funds (over the last 7 years) makes the argument that sustainable investing funds have actually met or exceeded the median returns of traditional equity funds. They define sustainable investments as those which offer “competitive financial returns and also create a positive social/environmental impact”. Moreover, these funds had lower volatility. In fact, 72 percent of the companies surveyed with a sustainability mindset offered higher profitability. According to Morgan Stanley, $1 out of $9 in 2012 could be qualified as sustainable investments. In 2014, that ratio closed in to $1 out of $6, amounting to nearly $6.57 trillion in investments. Sustainable investment has been on the rise; impact investing is poised to change the trajectory of poverty, crime, homelessness, for education, green energy and much more. It just needs to be unleashed.

*Thanos Niforos Economist, Investment Management, Impact Investments, Renewable Energy




EOs typically operate with a high-level vision of the company, understanding the basics of each department without deep insight into day-to-day operations. So as your company’s leader, you may have signed off on the overall marketing strategy and budget, but you probably don’t have a true understanding of how the marketing team thinks and works on a daily basis. While it may not make sense for you to be involved in the daily operations of your marketing department, it is important to better understand how your marketing employees work best in order to truly help them succeed.


As part of its State of Marketing Technology 2016 study, Walker Sands Communications surveyed more than 300 marketers from entry-level employees to CMOs about the technology they use at work. The report finds marketers are incredibly tech-savvy, but they also feel they aren’t provided with the technology they need to do their jobs effectively. And in many cases, marketers are frustrated because they’re running into internal obstacles and a lack of executive buy-in for tech investment.


While your employees are smart and resourceful enough to get the job done with outdated technology, your marketing department as a whole will not reach its full potential without the tools it needs to be successful. As the CEO, it’s important for your to understand their needs and wants, and communicate with them in a way that acknowledges their concerns and values their priorities. So with that goal in mind, here are four things all CEOs should know about their marketing teams.

Marketers are tech-savvy In general, marketers are among the first to adopt the latest gadgets. When asked about the technology they use in their personal lives, 43 percent of marketers say they consider themselves innovators or early adopters. Only 18 percent consider themselves among the late majority or laggards. Whether it’s the latest iPhone app or the newest smartwatch, your marketing team has likely already incorporated it into their personal lives. Early tech adopters tend to bring this open-mindedness to work. This means that marketers are eager to try the latest tools and incorporate new technology into their day-to-day jobs. They’ll take the time to learn how new tools work and will probably actually be excited about it. Other departments within a typical business — like accounting or sales, for example — might not be as savvy. Keep this in mind when making new technology decisions for your business. Your marketing team expects to be on the cutting edge technology and will get frustrated by outdated tools.

Most think their companies don’t spend enough on martech When asked the same tech adoption question about their businesses, marketers responded with the opposite sentiment. Only 20 percent say their companies are innovators or early adopters, with 51 percent indicating that they consider their company a late adopter or laggard. Even more shockingly, 51 percent feel their company doesn’t invest in the right amount of technology, and 42 percent say the technology they currently use doesn’t allow them to do their jobs effectively. To keep your tech-savvy marketing teams happy and productive, it’s important that you provide them with the technology they need. Not only are they openminded when it comes to new tools, but they’re also unsatisfied with the technology they currently use. Become an early adopter to keep your best employees engaged.

They want to be involved in the decisionmaking process

When your business does invest in a new marketing tool, your marketing teams want to be involved in the decision-making process. According to the survey, 66 percent of marketers feel they are able to provide input into decisions about new technology purchases. While this number varies depending on the type of technology being purchased, businesses today involve more employees within technology purchase decisions than ever before. In fact, 57 percent of marketers say three to five people are typically involved in decision-making processes about new technology. And this includes 53 percent of entry-level employees and 55 percent of millennials. To truly make the best decisions when it comes to martech purchases, incorporate insight from all levels of the organization, especially marketers on the front lines who will be using the tools every day.

Some are too dependent on technology While it’s important to recognize your marketing team’s passion for technology both at work and in their personal lives, it’s also worth noting that marketers can sometimes become too attached to the tools they use. When this happens, creativity can be hindered and marketing strategies become stale. Invest in the right technology to keep your marketing teams engaged and productive, but also leave room for people to think on their own. Technology will not solve every single issue your marketing department is facing. Take time away from screens to challenge your marketing teams to think outside of the box and really take your business to the next level. Creative people combined with powerful technology can be the perfect recipe for a successful marketing strategy. Overall, CEOs should keep in mind that their marketing department is comprised of unique individuals who are not only tech-savvy personally, but they’re not afraid to change the status quo at work. Give them the tools they need to do their work effectively, the ability to provide input on technology and the freedom to be creative, and they’ll do their best work.

*Dave Parro Partner and account director at Walker Sands Communications. Dave leads the marketing and ad tech, retail and e-commerce, and enterprise software practice areas at Walker Sands.







emember the phrase “employer of choice” from the dot-com boom? It was a period of ridiculously low unemployment, a time when companies struggled not just to find exactly the right talent at the right price — but to find talent, period. So they did everything they could to woo applicants with a string of new perks: concierge services that would pick up your dry cleaning and help you do basic domestic tasks, free food at the office, foosball tables for recreation, casual dress codes, and so forth. Did those perks make them employers of choice? Not really. Once everyone offered them, they simply raised the table stakes for getting a good hire. How, then, do you create a more desirable workplace than your competitors? By outperforming them. That’s because people like being associated with a winner. It also doesn’t hurt to set a high bar for entry. At least part of the reason why so many young people apply for programs like Teach for America or jobs at Google is because of the perception that it is so hard to get those positions. Think about it from the perspective of those you’re recruiting. Companies that can offer workers identification with a famous or winning brand and bragging rights for holding a job others are dying to have don’t need to pay as much as everyone else or provide as many fancy benefits to attract droves of applicants. That said, remember what your goal is when you’re looking to fill a position: It’s to find one person who really fits your needs, not to get thousands to apply. All it usually takes is a few keystrokes to submit a resume, so most employers already have far too many (illsuited) candidates to consider, anyway. Because they can’t possibly look at them all, they filter them with software, and that still leaves too many to sort through carefully. Since you’re aiming for quality, not quantity, offering terms and conditions that are appealing to all applicants is unnecessary. Rather, you’ll want to figure out what kinds of candidates are a good fit and then meet their particular needs. If you want people with terrific pedigrees, you have to be willing to pay a lot — but do you really need those pedigrees? If you want candidates interested in staying for the long-term, you have to offer them good opportunities for advancing internally. Organisations rarely take a hard look at what they can give people, and so they are continually disappointed by their recruiting. Whittle down the list of attributes you want to those that you are willing to pay for, whether with money or with intangibles.

Also be up-front about the aspects of the job that might not appeal to everyone. It’s tempting — but a huge mistake — to downplay or withhold that information. Hires who learn about the less-desirable aspects after they start the job will certainly feel misled, possibly underperform as a result, and even quit if the deceit is bad enough. It’s much better to be honest from the outset. Scare away those who won’t fit — and establish positives that will attract the right candidates into the pool. Then focus on those upsides: what you can offer that most competitors can’t. Maybe it’s location, opportunities to acquire experience, or the flexibility to work remotely. None of those will suit everyone, but again, you don’t want to court everyone. Doing your employees’ laundry may get people to stay in the office longer, but if you don’t care where they get the work done, why bother? If there’s nothing distinctive you can offer to set your organisation apart, and you don’t want to pay enough to buy the talent you prefer, then just like any other shopper, you’ll have to start compromising on what you want. *Peter Cappelli is a professor of management at the Wharton School and the author of several books, including Will College Pay Off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make (PublicAffairs, 2015).




… the new Art exhibition by Nelly Rapti By Alexandra Papaisidorou



Greece is first word emerged after the first few minutes in discussion with Nelly Rapti, the artist of deep emotions around her origins, homeland and nation.


he artist of sensitivity about everything related to Greece both into our souls, mind, acts. “I adore my country and its perfumes”, she points out and then she keeps on analyzing her love, dedication and delicacy for her country. “All these years, I have been trying to transmit Greek ideals, thoughts and culture all around the world by being an Art Ambassador and sometimes donating lots of my works of art. My deepest concern is to be “heard” as a country, nation, and ensemble. Greeks must nowbe united, reconciled and like as in an alliance to face problems and difficulties that darken our days and harden our reality during these tough years”, adds Mrs. Rapti. Her studies on realism –with works of art in impressionism too- with hercreativemotivations revitalize the human mentality and give a spiritual relief and soul uplift through her works of art. ‘Art is here to stay despite crises, both ethical and financial’, Mrs. Rapti mentions and continues that Art and artists have only to offer.And it is about an offer that flows without making efforts.

In July 2016, another of her distinctive and successful exhibitions will take place in Athens, Greece at Hilton Hotel (who also sponsors the event). The title is “Perfumes of Greece’’ and many small but charming -as Mrs. Rapti characterized them- portraits of the unique Greek landscapes will be depicted in a really interesting series of typical Greek scenery ranging from picturesque villages, mountainous aspects and sea viewing along with island life. “It is a new project full of love that was born during a difficult period of my life. I was sentimentally charged by pain and personal sadness”, the artist explains. “This is, however, the target point; to relieve our body, soul and heart through Art.To think over the problem and surpass most of our concerns that poison our mind and discomfort our balance.”She desires that everyone gets benefitedby the curing benefits art offers. That is why she offers her work at affordable prices. “I do not care about commerce, I work for my soul”, Mrs. Rapticoncludes.




What’s needed for the future of the European Union was written into its very foundations as our common values of democracy, solidarity and the rule of law. The long-lasting financial crisis and now the refugee crisis have provided excuses for questioning the purpose of the European Union itself, with discussion extending to the need to preserve those fundamental European values versus attempts to shut them in behind the tightly locked doors of national borders. By pursuing the latter, we have effectively made these values contradict themselves. This refugee crisis is a test for Europe and all its members because it shows how hard it is to maintain our original values against populist xenophobia. There are very vocal movements in Europe today whose members use referenda to justify the discrimination of minorities or the persecution of certain groups in society. These new ideas have also increasingly begun to take hold in the European institutions, where one can hear highly discriminatory statements about foreigners, who have been described as potential aliens in our orderly European society.

*Vesna Pusić *First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia


Dealing with the crisis and coping with austerity together is understandably difficult for people, who in times like these are wont to turn increasingly inward and show much less generosity. Changing this will require real leaders, politicians who will not focus on narrow party interests or succumb to populism for a few additional votes. It takes visionaries like Jean Monnet and Robert Schuman who spoke of solidarity and union in a ravaged Europe. If they had the strength and courage to speak about those ideas in such sensitive circumstances, let us not fail to show the same qualities today. Besides, let us ask ourselves why refugees see their future with us, in Europe, and why their minds are not set on other continents. It is because they see in us a hope that their children will live in a place that respects democratic values and human and civil rights. Are they right?

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