European Business Review (EBR)

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ISSUE 4-2017 / YEAR 21st - PRICE 10,00 € / $12,00

EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel:


The World

Special Report










Konstantinos C. Trikoukis Chairman

Athanase Papandropoulos Publisher



The moral duty of the elites

How EU can end corporate shorttermism and create sustainable financial system



The EU-China relationship characterised by ineffective political action and lack of trust

Ghana’s first satellite launched to Space: exclusive interview with the three Engineers of this initiative



Is the EU able to become a global digital leader? Or will China and the US go on in pole position?

Upgrading today’s capitalism



The Rise of Digital Workers

Greek PM Tsipras and French President Macron agree on fundamental changes in the EU

Christos K. Trikoukis Editor in Chief

N. Peter Kramer Editorial Consultant

Anthi Louka Trikouki Issue Contributors

Dirk Helbing, Jaap Hoeksma, Filip Gregor, Dr. Paul Irwin Crookes, Alexandra Papaisidorou, Margarita Chrysaki, Mariya Gabriel, Uri Dromi, Hans Izaak Kriek, Radu Magdin, Steven Hill, Maxim Buur Correspondents

Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, Athens, Helsinki, Rome, Prague Public Relations

Margarita Mertiri Financial Consultant

Theodoros Vlassopoulos Published by:

EMG STRATEGIC CONSULTING LTD. 19 Leyden Street, E1 7LE London, United Kingdom

ISSUE 4/2017 / SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2017, YEAR 21st 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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n her speech in Florence (Italy) at the end of September, UK Prime Minister May made clear that Britain will not leave the EU on March 30 2019, the date that the EU Withdrawal Bill will be enacted and the UK membership will be terminated officially. But she worked hard to reassure all those who voted to Leave that there will be a ‘strictly time-limited implementation’ period of two years. Instead of a grand, detailed vision with her personal stamp upon it, to some extent she tried pleasing all sides. What else could she have done in Florence at that moment? Mrs May was not aiming to get Britain through the next four years but the next five or six months. And in doing so, to unblock negotiations which have stalled, she had to play many trump cards. Her Florence speech confirmed the UK’s intention to adopt a status quo transition, where the UK continues to operate under ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations', for around two years after March 2019. Mrs May also said that no member state would have to pay more, or receive less from the EU budget until 2020, the end of the current multiannual budget period. Did she make too many concessions? Impossible to answer. Everything will be forgotten when there is a bold, flexible final deal. The Prime Minister, much too vaguely, tried to outline one in her speech. And do not overlook that she repeated: better no deal than a bad deal. Anyhow, Mrs May made a reasonable offer and the EU must respond. The question now whether the EU will be reasonable as well. Not many EU watchers outside the Brussels bubble are expecting that. The ‘war’ will go on. It looks as though the EU negotiators don’t want to negotiate at all. Under the guise of negotiations, Barnier and his team want to force May to give, unconditionally, everything that Brussels wants. After that, they, perhaps, might be willing to hear what she wants…






It is the moral duty of the elite to avert global disaster by Dirk Helbing *

Faced with climate change, financial, economic and spending crisis, mass migration, terrorism, wars and cyber threats, it appears we are very close to global emergency. Given this state of affairs, we are running out of time to fix the problems of our planet. Here, we present what should be decided during the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2017 and a reflexive preamble. We acknowledge your efforts to improve the quality of life. However, these efforts have also caused a further increase in the consumption of resources and energy. It appears that this is now driving our planet to the edge: Climate change affects the global water system, agriculture and the basis of the lives of billions of people. It causes environmental disasters, mass migration and armed conflicts. Moreover, it is estimated to threaten about one-sixth of all species on our planet. THERE IS STILL TIME Nevertheless, global disaster is not inevitable — if we re-organize the world in a suitable way, as discussed below. The lives of billions of people are at risk. It is the moral duty of politicians, religious, cultural, scientific and business leaders – in short: the elite – to avert likely disasters, humanitarian crises and ethical dilemmas as much as possible.


This requires bringing about the necessary changes of society on the way in a timely manner. With the aim to “save the planet,” many have urged the world community to reduce carbon emissions drastically by 2030 and almost completely by the end of the century. However, given that the world population has grown roughly proportional to global oil and gas consumption, such a drop would largely reduce the carrying capacity of the Earth for people — unless the reduction in carbon-based energy can be replaced by renewable energy in a timely manner. NEW SOLUTIONS NEEDED New solutions are needed not only for heating and transportation, but also for the chemical industry, because the production of plastic and fertilizer currently depends on oil. Altogether, a radical re-organization of major parts of our economy appears to be urgently necessary. Even though philanthropy and engagement in responsible innovation have increased, this urgent transformation has not taken place to the required extent. To a considerable degree, this is because those who have “vested interests” in the old system have often obstructed change. However, “vested interests” are no excuse for inaction


or delays. Property and power imply responsibility. If this responsibility is not adequately exercised, power lacks legitimacy. If people have to pay with their lives for “vested interests”, these interests clearly undermine the very basis of societies. Human dignity, which underpins many fundamental values and human rights, is the imperative that all individual, political and economic action should be oriented at. It is the key value and central pillar of many modern societies and, according to many constitutions, must be actively protected by all means. A FINAL CALL TO ACTION If humanity wants to bring a positive future or even a “Golden Age of Prosperity and Peace” on the way, we need to dramatically reform our basic societal institutions, e.g. the present financial and monetary system, our economy and society. Even though it seems that the current organizational principles of our world have served us well for a long time, they are now often failing to deliver the right solutions early enough. Within the current framework, time and again we got trapped in suboptimal solutions to complex coordination games, “tragedies of the commons” and problems of collective inaction. In our highly networked cyber-physical world, linear thinking (the assumption that effects are proportional to their causes) and the ethics of small-group, face-toface interactions in relatively simple settings are often leading us astray. Fundamental change is inevitable. It seems that what needs to take center stage now is not how much money or power someone can accumulate, but how much he or she is benefitting others and the world. Apparently, our societies have largely lost track of this basic guiding principle.

Also, the attempt to revive historical forms of societal organization, empowered by Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, does not seem to work, as the recent experiences in various countries with technocratic Smart Cities approaches have shown. However, if innovation within the current system is not sufficient, the system itself has to be reinvented and changed. It seems paradoxical that – in times of an abundance of data and the best technology ever – centralized control attempts failed to boost our most advanced economies and societies to a new level of satisfaction and prosperity, sustainability and resilience. The reason for this lies in the complexity of hyperconnected systems, in which processing power cannot keep up with data volumes and those cannot keep up with the combinatorial increase in complexity. Such networked systems often behave in unexpected and counter-intuitive ways: Rather than the intended effects, one will frequently find side effects, feedback effects and cascading effects. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS NOT ENOUGH Given these circumstances, centralized control attempts perform often poorly. Even the most powerful artificial intelligence systems will not be able to manage the overly complex and often quickly changing systems of our globalized world well enough. As a consequence, a new, decentralized control paradigm is needed, which implies the need for modular designs, diverse solutions, and participatory opportunities. Therefore, we need new ways of participatory decisionmaking as well as new designs of the monetary, financial and economic system. In the new framework we propose, co-creation, co-ordination, co-evolution and collective intelligence are the main underlying success principles.

A LACK OF IMAGINATION Claiming that our problem is overpopulation of the planet reveals lack of imagination. By now it is obvious that all traditional problemsolving approaches have failed to work.

* Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and affiliate of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich.




There is no point in governing an organisation of democratic states in an undemocratic manner by Jaap Hoeksma * Ever since the foundation of the European Union in 1992, the question has been whether it is possible for the Union to function on a democratic footing. In the political debate, the EU has been portrayed by its opponents as a bureaucratic monster, as a modern Leviathan, or as the embodiment of the Fourth Reich. According to academic critics, the EU cannot survive in its present form as it is neither a sovereign state nor a union of sovereign states. Pursuing this line of thought, Joseph Weiler, the President of the European University Institute, argued in 2012 that democracy is not in the legal DNA of the EU. He even compared the Union to the 17th century Golem of Prague, who destroyed his own creators. The claim that the EU and democracy are two irreconcilable concepts has been exploited by the adversaries of the Union in various member states. In the hands of Nigel Farage, it has proven to be one of the most effective weapons in the campaign to leave


the EU. In other member states, such as Austria and the Netherlands, it continues to be the Achilles’ heel of pro-European parties. Although the future of the EU seems to be somewhat brighter after the elections in France, it remains imperative for the Union to develop a theory with which the imputation of its opponents can be dismissed out of hand. The lesson of Brexit is that the EU shall either be democratic or cease to exist. The debate about the State of the Union will provide the European Commission and the European Parliament with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that the lesson of Brexit has been learned. So far, the signs are not too encouraging. The position of the Commission seems to be somewhat ambiguous. It prides the EU on being the largest union of democratic states on the globe, but fails to submit proposals for improving the democratic character of the EU as such. Instead, it suggests a discussion about various modes of cooperation between the member


states. The implication of this suggestion is that there is no direct relation between the Commission and the citizens of the Union. This impression is corroborated by the reply that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave to parliamentary questions and in which he referred to “the 28 Member States which constitute the Union and which represent indirectly their national citizens in the Council, and directly in the European Parliament”. It seems incomprehensible that the President of the European Commission would make such an elementary mistake. As the guardian of the treaties the Commission has a special obligation to ensure their proper interpretation. Article 10 (2) of the Treaty on European Union unequivocally states that “citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament”. The suggestion that “the Member States directly represent their citizens in the European Parliament” is almost absurd. As the essence of the European Parliament is at stake in this statement, MEPs should use the debate about the State of the Union to correct the Commission. Each of them has been directly elected by the citizens of the Union and not through intermediary of any national government. During the debate MEPs could also point out that it will be impossible to restore the trust of the citizens in the Union without taking their perspective and interests into account.

The theory of democratic integration offers a suitable model for undertaking this endeavour. It holds that if two or more democratic countries agree to share the exercise of sovereignty in a number of fields in order to attain common goals, the organisation they set up for this should be democratic too. In consequence, the EU should not only pride itself on being the largest union of democratic states on the globe, but it should also aspire to function as a constitutional democracy of its own. Obviously, the transition of the EU from an organisation of democratic states to a democratic polity of states and citizens requires time, patience and perseverance. It can, however, not be done without purpose and determination. Fortunately, the new theory reveals the intrinsic driving force behind the process. There is no point in governing an organisation of democratic states in an undemocratic manner. Indeed, the wisdom of the aphorism that the EU shall either be democratic or cease to exist might materialise sooner than we think. * Jaap Hoeksma is philosopher of law, director of Euroknow

** First published in




The notion of corporate governance must be revised to protect us from shortterm shareholder interests and ensure we make the long-term investments vital to our future by Filip Gregor * Climate change and other systemic risks, such as growing inequality, are spurring the debate on the role of the financial sector in the economy. The HighLevel Expert Group on Sustainable Finance presented its interim recommendations last month on the subject of directing investments towards sustainable projects and transforming the financial system into a sustainable one.


The group, established by the European Commission, included in its interim report potentially far-reaching reforms to the governance of financial institutions and public corporations. It is a now-or-never moment to tackle the short-termism that is deeply entrenched in the functioning of capital markets, but will the EU muster the strength to break away from the orthodoxies that have dominated this area for so long?


Corporate governance defines how corporations are structured and managed, by whom and for what purpose. As corporations form the fabric of contemporary economies, corporate governance systems are central to the way economies function and are of paramount importance in addressing the complex challenges we face today. From the 1970s onwards, mainstream corporate governance models have narrowed, pushing corporations to focus on maximising shareholder value. This has proven to be a self-defeating strategy as it has led to a myopic vision of the purpose of the corporation that focuses solely on increasing share prices at the expense of the corporation’s ability to properly consider risks, long-term development and the interests of society. This model takes the focus away from investment in R&D and innovation, as well as from human and social capital. More broadly, it contributes to rising inequality within firms and society at large, and prevents companies from being socially responsible – at least genuinely so. Besides the aforementioned, a recent study on the top performing FTSE 100 and ASX 100 listed companies showed how maximising shareholder value strategies actually harm shareholders’ interests. It revealed that a significant proportion of the wealth created for shareholders came from increasing the sustainability of those businesses rather than from short-term measures meant to boost the share price. The Expert Group noted that one of the main reasons for this dysfunctionality is that “ the time horizon in finance is typically much shorter than the time horizon needed to address society’s pressing challenges; and the conception of risk in finance is typically much narrower than one that effectively captures economic, social and environmental sustainability ”. The interim report also acknowledged that moving on from short-termism is not a simple task that can be solved with a single parameter. However, progress can be made through (a) continued emphasis by policymakers on long-term finance; (b) a review of regulation and market practices to foster long-term decisionmaking; and (c) the protection of those who take longterm investment decisions in the face of short-term pressures from financial markets. Amongst other recommendations, the Expert Group provided direction for several corporate governance

reforms which will be further developed after receiving input from a public consultation (deadline 20 September). Firstly, the report reflects the common misinterpretation of the fiduciary duty of institutional investors as a principle that focuses solely on the maximisation of short-term financial returns. The term ‘fiduciary duty’ refers to an obligation based on trust to act in the best interest of another person. There are two separate forms of fiduciary duties that are relevant for improving corporate governance: (a) those of institutional investors and (b) those of corporate directors. The Expert Group therefore recommends the formation of a single set of principles relating to fiduciary duty and the associated concepts of loyalty to beneficiary interests and prudence in handling money. These principles should integrate sustainability factors and assist in establishing them across the investment and lending chain. Secondly, the Expert Group recommends defining European directors’ duties as well as developing a set of European corporate governance and stewardship principles that address long-term value creation and sustainability. In this respect, it is important to note that the law recognises that directors’ duties are owed to the company as a separate legal entity rather than to the shareholders, a point confirmed by a recent study



funded by the European Commission. However, in practice, company directors are often expected to put shareholders’ interests first. This is a key opportunity to protect companies from the pressure to maximise short-term shareholder value and encourage a focus on sustainable long-term strategies. Thirdly, in line with the previous two points, the Expert Group suggests strengthening the disclosure of material information relating to sustainability issues by both firms and financial institutions. This can be achieved by harmonising metrics and converging financial and sustainability information, promoting the use of integrated reporting and developing associated accounting standards. Financial institutions should then disclose how sustainability factors are taken into account when investing clients’ and beneficiaries’ money (for example, through mechanisms as seen in recent French legislation – Energy Transition Law, Article 173). In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards responsible investing. This reallocation of capital to much needed transformational investments in sustainability is critical. The activism of responsible investors may also assist in improving the corporate approach in addressing some specific, well-defined social and environmental impacts.


However, any solution to short-termism must, in addition to expanding and broadening an investor’s horizon, recognise that companies need to be protected from the pressure to maximise short-term shareholder value. This is only possible if the policy is built on the recognition that shareholders do not run or own companies. An over-reliance on their role increases the pressure on company managers to put the interests of shareholders first, and therefore sustainability, ESG and any other factors second — irrespective of their importance for the company’s longevity and success. The Expert Group began mapping out how policy could align the interests of investors, companies and society. Delivering on its objectives will require courage and imagination to fundamentally rethink how capital markets and corporations interact.

* Filip Gregor is head of Responsible Companies at Frank Bold, a law firm with offices in the Czech Republic, Belgium and Poland.

** First published in


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THE EU-CHINA RELATIONSHIP CHARACTERISED BY INEFFECTIVE POLITICAL ACTION AND LACK OF TRUST The EU-China economic relationship appears to be in troubled waters by Dr. Paul Irwin Crookes * Battered by policy tensions and hamstrung by political obstacles inhibiting progress, it is necessary to look behind the smiles of summit leaders and beyond the ever-increasing value of goods traded between the economies to try to understand why there continue to be problems. By analysing the context of the key areas of this relationship, it becomes clearer why its potential is not being fully realised. What emerges as the best description for the current state of relations is that there is now a palpable crisis of mutual trust. Real disquiet is emerging in European circles over China’s direction of travel over promised economic reforms, especially in respect of the continuing visibility of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in key industrial sectors. Also linked are concerns about Chinese fairness and openness in economic relations with the European Union, given a trade deficit of €174.5bn for 2016 (despite bilateral goods trade of more than €1.5bn per


day) as well as product dumping and over-capacity in Chinese industrial sectors such as steel. A particular frustration is the poor showing of services in the economic partnership, struggling to reach more than ten per cent of the value of goods traded – even though EU member states include some of the leading services-based economies in the world. Whilst outward foreign direct investment (FDI) from China into the EU soared by 77% to a record €35bn in 2016, the same year actually saw a noticeable decline in European investment flows into China, reflecting a more troubled regulatory picture, whilst the accelerating pace of technology acquisitions by China in some EU member states (such as Germany) has promoted sharply negative political commentary about relinquishing Europe’s competitive advantage. Even the issue of whether to create a pan-EU FDI monitoring regime – akin to a European version of the United States’ – appears to be back on the table with China in its sights, albeit as yet with no final decision having been made.


All of this is explained in European circles by pointing to the continuing absence of reciprocity in market access in China linked to suspicions of a nationalist edge to economic policy priorities where the promotion and subsidy of national champions is seen as more important for the Chinese than fulfilling their World Trade Organization commitments. EU business groups point to the persistence of issues such as compulsory local content requirements in key sectors, unfair procurement tendering rules in the absence of China’s membership of the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, required disclosure of business-sensitive information to support collaborative projects, and enforced joint venture creation as a precursor to knowledge transfer to domestic Chinese firms who then become competitors. Concerns have also been expressed about the persistent instrumentalism underpinning the application of law in China’s economy, such as in intellectual property enforcement cases or through anti-monopoly investigations aimed particularly against foreign firms. Perhaps most worrying is that European businesses in China report growing negative sentiment about the future. Yet, of course, trust works both ways. The Chinese reject the EU’s focus on anti-dumping measures as unhelpful protectionism and argue that European criticism of government subsidies misunderstands how China’s financial system works while also failing to recognise the progress already made. China is growing more confident in challenging the EU’s application of trade defence measures, most recently at the WTO where the Chinese launched a formal complaint against the EU over the continuing refusal to grant China market economy status. The Chinese maintain this is a clear breach of faith in the commitments made by European economies at the time of China’s accession in 2001. Moreover, the Chinese point out that they have offered trenchant support for the euro in recent times of crisis and that China’s investments across Europe bring direct benefits to local businesses and communities while also showcasing technology for infrastructure and utilities that bring considerable value to EU economies. Finding political solutions to these tensions should be a priority for both sides but is actually very difficult as each faces internal political challenges to overcome. In China, there is an ongoing debate about the direction of reform linked to divergent views over whether to

prioritise supply-side or demand-side adjustments whilst ensuring the continuing economic stability and social cohesion that underpins the ruling Communist Party’s power. Leadership manoeuvres ahead of the 19th Party Congress in the autumn of 2017 make radical action politically unpalatable and therefore unlikely. Yet a renewed mandate for Chinese President Xi Jinping could offer a platform to relaunch reforms in more far-reaching directions, although whether these moves would overlap with EU demands is of course a completely different matter. For the EU, some measure of coherence in policy management towards China is desperately needed. A zero-sum mentality between member states undermines the credibility of the Union and can be exploited by global powers. There is at present a fractured response from across the EU to China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, ranging from overt enthusiasm to lukewarm consideration. Divisions over trade defence instrument reform need to be addressed at the EU Council to find a balance between supporting the consumer and protecting the producer without unfairly penalising a particular trade partner. But the variable geometry with which the EU exercises power can make finding an agreed pathway problematic. None of these steps are easy to deliver politically for either side and current evidence suggests no early resolution to these tensions is likely – and it is not due to lack of opportunities. * Dr. Paul Irwin Crookes Director of Graduate Studies, School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies; Departmental Lecturer in the International Relations of China at the University of Oxford




An Interview with Lefteris Kretsos, General Secretary for Media and Communication, Athens by Alexandra Papaisidorou HOW IS THE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL SITUATION IN GREECE NOW? There are still numerous challenges to confront, but Greece is turning the page day by day. We are back to economic growth and political stability, but we need to keep the momentum of reforms that promote economic transparency, decent jobs and deliver a greater sense of economic and social justice. GREECE RECENTLY PASSED A LAW THAT PROVIDES FUNDING AND ASSISTANCE TO AUDIOVISUAL PRODUCTIONS INCLUDING ANIMATION AND VIDEO GAMES. WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS THAT DROVE THIS INITIATIVE? The Greek government is strongly interested in promoting audiovisual and cultural, creative industries along with respective investments in faster connectivity, NGAs and digital economy. Our ambition to make Greece a «film friendly» country is firm and strong for a number of reasons. Film and television productions are drivers of other industries, including tourism. Investments in audiovisual works are associated with significant employment and skills


generation benefits. In general, focusing on media and entertainment industry makes strong sense from a business and policy-making perspective. BUT IS IT ALL ABOUT MONEY AND MAKING BUSINESS? Absolutely not, media and entertainment industry are strongly associated with market disruptions and technological advancement.TV and the film industry can prove to be environments that spark creativity and inspiration for many young people. Greeks are an active, educated,English-fluentpopulation with a proven track of skills in the arts and technology. It is hard to find a prestigious university in the world that does not employsomeone speaking Greek. There are thousands of talented graduates in the area of information and communication technology who could easily deliver the most demanding Hollywood postproduction projects. CASH-REBATES, TAX SHELTERS AND OTHER SUPPORTIVE POLICIES FOR FILMING EXIST IN MANY COUNTRIES. WHAT MAKES GREECE SEXY FOR HOSTING THE PRODUC-


TION OF A FEATURE FILM? Every place in the world is unique and interesting and it deserves the attention of the media and entertainment community. In our case, several investors feature Greece as a key and ideal location. Greece is full of attractive locations for film and high-end TV drama producers.To name a few: striking classical and byzantine sites and antiquities, thousands of islands, numerous forests and mountains, driving distance of sometimes less than an hour-long from mountainous to coastal areas and a unique set of creative communities.Plus a long lasting summer, along with plenty of snow in winterand a variety of choices of all tourist facilities' types. It’s all here,under a special “Greek light” and more than 300 days of Mediterranean sunshine per year. Finally, do not underestimate our much tasteful cuisine. Sometimes this may prove dangerous though; there are thousand ways to get biggerin Greece (laughing). IT SOUNDS AS A DANGEROUS PLACE TO VISIT IF YOU ARE ON A DIET. It depends on your own drives! You can easily opt for a very healthy diet based onorganic products, if this is your wish. But above all Greeceis a safe and interesting place to visit.Besides there are thousands of kilometers of seashores and mountains and nature parksfor outdoor workout. Personally,I prefer being outdoors, enjoying a cup ofcoffee and engaging inlively discussions around the city corners. There are so many places to have fun in Athens. People here like to talk, share and interact if you offer them the space for that. The urge to find joy in storytelling and communicating emotions and ideas or share experiences with others is something natural for people in Greece. IT IS HARD FOR SOMEONE TO DISAGREE ON THIS, BUT I GUESS THERE ARE MANY MEDITERRANEAN DESTINATIONS WITH MUCH THE SAME MERITS. Are there (laughing)? No doubt about this, Southern Europe is an amazing place to be. I am in love with Southern Europe. Greece remains a much inspiring place to people interested in storytelling. It is the birthplace of storytelling,let’s not forget that. And perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that there are no better places in the world to find inspiration, other than Parthenon, Epidaurus Theatre, Olympus Mountain or by the sunset view in Santorini and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. SO IN GREECE IT ALL COMES TO THE PAST TO GET INSPIRATION THEN? I strongly disagree with this point.Greece has been used as a test-bed of political experimentation for years. Our

government and people offer an alternative narrative of resistance and strength to the global community. The images told incredible stories by capturing the daily activities of impoverished people. Various global discourses, name it globalization, neoliberalism, uncontrolled globalized markets and inequality or modern geopolitical antagonisms, were redefined and mediated by what happened in the streets of Athens since 2010. Greece for several reasons has been the epicenter of global issues such as the economic and the refugee crisis. DOES THIS MAKE GREECE SEXY FOR FILM-MAKERS? Storytellers and big producers are interested in global issues and treat well the hidden or mythical views of history. So Greece is definitely a much inspiring place to be if you work in the movie and creative industry. WHAT ABOUT THE CASH-REBATE SCHEME YOU RECENTLY ENACTED? HOW IT WORKS? It is very simple. There is aFast Track approval mechanismthat provides a cash rebate scheme of up to 5 million euros per project. Applications must be submitted electronically to the Ministry of Economic Development website. They are evaluated in terms of eligibility by the National Center for Audioviduals (ΕΚΟΜΕ) team within 15 days. As soon as the application is deemed eligible, the candidate beneficiary has to provide all necessary documents for approval within 60 days. ΕΚΟΜΕ shall give its approval within 30 days. WHAT THE ELIGIBLE COSTS CAN BE? The eligible costs of the audiovisual production may amount to up to 80% of the total cost of it. They include scriptwriting, soundtrack, staff hiring, equipment rental, accommodation and living expenses, post production, supplies, digital games’ software development and royalties. The minimum funding of the eligible costs shall be 100.000 euros. WHO CAN THE BENEFICIARY BE? Cash rebate audiovisual beneficiaries can be companies based or disposing a branch in Greece. WHEN ARE YOU PLANNING TO LAUNCH THE NEW INITIATIVE? We need to get done first with some preparatory steps for the implementation of the recently enacted legislation. We are working hard in order to be ready to fully expose ourselves to the global community of filmmakers in a matter of few months from now.



GHANA’S FIRST SATELLITE LAUNCHED TO SPACE: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE THREE ENGINEERS OF THIS INITIATIVE Ghana gained independence in 1957 the same year when the Soviet Union launched the earth's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I by Margarita Chrysaki * Interestingly enough, after 60 years of human activity in Space, Ghana through a private institution known as All Nations University College became the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to launch an educational satellite, Ghanasat-1, into earth orbit on Friday 7 July 2017! EBR had the opportunity to interview the three engineers and designers of this satellite who managed to put Ghana on the international map of Space activities: Benjamin Bonsu the Project Manager and a PhD student in Applied Science for System Engineering, Joseph Quansah and Ernest Teye Matey of the All Nations University College (ANUC**), Koforidua. The team was, also, first in the history of Ghana and Sub-Saharan-Africa to successfully communicate with the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014 after


developing the first amateur ground station in Ghana. GHANASAT-1 PROJECT: THE STORY (OCTOBER 2015 – JANUARY 2017) The Ghanasat-1 project started in October 2015 and was fully sponsored by management of All Nations University. Ghanasat-1 is a collaborative project under the Birds Project initiated by the management of Laboratory of Spacecraft Environment Interaction Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology (LaSEINE, Kyutech) in Japan. Birds Project was established to provide hands-on training for students from non-space faring countries. The purpose was to learn about the whole satellite development process from satellite mission planning to satellite disposal. Moreover, the project also serves as catalyst to create


an international human network to help develop and sustain indigenous space program in the different nations taking part in this initiative. Ghanasat-1 CubeSat was developed by the three engineers and was fully sponsored by the management of ANUC. The Ghanasat-1 project started on October 2015 and completed all development phases on January 2017. The development phases of the satellite were reviewed by JAXA safety and management teams as well as Kyutech peers in satellite engineering to ensure the Ghanasat-1 satisfies both launch and space environment requirements. A cost of 500,000 US dollars has been invested in the Ghanasat-1 and all other ANU-SSTL1 projects by the All Nations University management. BENEFITS FOR GHANAIAN SOCIETY The team employed a low and a high resolution camera on board to take pictures from the coastal borders of Ghana while the satellite orbits 400km (248 miles) above the earth. This data will be used for security purposes as till now the government had to buy high cost data from many countries. Having their own satellite allows them to get this data for free and share it with the other agencies in Ghana. ‘We want also to set the pace for Space technology by telling young people to build capacity and train themselves in this kind of technology. We encourage the government under the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education to add a Space Science course in the high school curriculum. In this way, we will train children on how to become the future engineers and therefore constitute a powerful staff for our Space agencies’ said Bonsu.

nation, Ghanasat-1 will also contribute significantly to the scientific research. This will benefit the next missions as it will improve the various commercial satellite components and test them in Space. FUTURE PROJECT GHANASAT-2: ILLEGAL MINING OF GOLD AND FOOD SECURITY ‘Most African countries have been blessed with natural resources such as gold. Gold is easily accessible in many areas of Ghana such as Denkyira-Obuasi, Tarkwa and Sefwi Bekwai etc. The youth of these areas go in search of Gold for quick money due to high rate of unemployment’, said Quansah. However the use of mercury and other illegal means in gold processing cause environmental constraints such as water and air pollution. In order to get the gold, you have to pass through the right process and be regulated by the government which is not always the case. For this reason, one of the purposes of the next satellite to be launched from Ghana, Ghanasat-2, will be to monitor these illegal activities. But how can a satellite detect illegal mining activities? ‘The higher you go, the more clearly you see’ said Bonsu. Indeed having a satellite orbiting the earth helps you get a wider view to assess something. Every satellite has an attitude control which includes a lot of ‘trackers’ aligned with it. This will allow the satellite to detect a particular region while it is in orbit. Even more, a satellite with a high resolution camera less than 2-metres, is able to zoom particular regions and send the information in real time to the environmental protection agencies to deal adequately with the situation on the ground.

After the launch of Ghanasat-1, the team continues to educate young students through the ‘outreach programme’ where they visit high school students in Ghana and use demonstrations showing how a satellite communicates: ‘By 2018 every Ghanian student will be able to define what a satellite is’ indicated Matey. The launch of the satellite sets up business to build more satellites. This will create a lot of new job opportunities for the young graduates. The establishment of companies will benefit Ghanaian society as it opens a wide range of new job positions for the locals. Some examples of these companies are: GOMspace from Denmark, AM Technology from Switzerland and New Space Systems from South Africa. As the main goal is to make Ghana a Space-faring



According to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations*** report, agriculture contributes 54% of Ghana's GDP and accounts for over 40% of export earnings while at the same time is providing over 90% of the food needs of the country. Ghana's agriculture is predominantly small holder, traditional and rain-fed. ‘Especially in rural areas people depend on their crops of coco, yam and plantains even on a day-to-day level and still, there is a big challenge of food insecurity’ reported to EBR, Jovana Savic, an Education Programs Coordinator at Ghana Health and Education Initiative based in Humjibre, a small village close to Sefwi Bekwai in the Western Region of Ghana. The team acknowledges that agriculture carries the major economic aspect in Ghana and agrees that Ghanasat-2 will also be able to map the facility environment with particular sensors and offer solutions towards more food security in rural areas of Ghana. As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Agriculture has seen the benefits of how this satellite can benefit the society and he already stated to the government that Ghanasat-2 has to be funded by the state. ‘After the successful launch of Ghanasat-1, we do have the support of the government for our next project. However we need to keep in mind that the satellite business requires further investments and sustainable policies need to be implemented everytime by the state and the agencies’ highlighted Bonsu.


Undoubtedly, the 7th July 2017 is a historical moment for Ghana. Ghanaians are excited for their first satellite as well as Sub-Saharan Africa for its first educational satellite. Though weighting just 1kg, Ghanasat-1 with an almost 2-years lifespan marks a new beginning for the Ghana society, the country and the whole continent as it will hopefully become a role model for other countries. * Margarita Chrysaki is a Brussels-based Scientific Journalist. She has BSc and a MA in Political Sciences and she was recently been admitted for the Master of Space Studies in KU Leuven.

** ANUC The Space Science Technology Laboratory of All Nations University College formerly known as Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory (ISSL), was established in February 2012 following a sensitization workshop held by the University. This workshop organized as part of ANU’s celebration of a decade of innovation, excellence and quality higher education, was the first of its kind in Ghana and attracted University scholars, researchers, government workers and among many others. The mission of ANU-SSTL is to promote and build human capacity in the area of Space Science and Satellite Technology through innovative research and development of educative projects to impact Ghanaian society and Africa as a whole.

*** United Nations


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IS THE EU ABLE TO BECOME A GLOBAL DIGITAL LEADER? OR WILL CHINA AND THE US GO ON IN POLE POSITION? by N. Peter Kramer * Interesting questions. Read in this EBR special report the response of the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel, and the top of DIGITALEUROPE, President Markus Borchert and Director-General Cecilia Bohnefeld-Dahl. Their conclusion is that no further legislative action is necessary but implementation in the member states; and a push for better acceptance of digital technologies.

* N. Peter Kramer Editor-in-Chief EBR



DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL MODERN INNOVATIVE ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES by Mariya Gabriel * The world's economies have been radically transformed by computers, the Internet, smartphones and the sharing economy in the last few decades. Digital technologies alone have contributed to around one third of GDP growth in the EU over the last decade. The EU's single market must be adapted to fit the digital age with strong and digital policies to make the most of the opportunities and address challenges that digital transformation brings. We must overcome regulatory barriers and effectively merge 28 national markets into a single one. A fully functioning Digital Single Market would enable European businesses, particularly small and mediumsized enterprises, to access a market of more than 500 million potential customers and citizens. It would contribute €415Bn annually to our economy, and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Through its 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission adopted more than 35 initiatives to close gaps, to harmonize, and to make Europe a global digital leader. We are now working closely with the European Parliament and Council to make sure that necessary legislation is adopted quickly. But to reach the full potential of Europe, all of us, young and old, need to acquire new skills – especially digital skills that complement the increased use of technology.

Today there is a worrying gap in digital skills within Europe. 44% of Europeans – 169 million people – do not have basic digital skills, of which 77 million do not have any digital skills at all. They don't know how to look for information on the internet cannot send emails or pay their bills online. There are even more people who don't know how to use the web in a safe and responsible way. In today's digitised world, these skills are as important as being able to read and write and a basic requirement that is indispensable in the present day society. Europe is also lacking high level digital skills. Despite increased levels of unemployment in Europe, 40% of enterprises looking to fill ICT specialist jobs have difficulties in finding suitable people as young people are not ready for the workplace right after they complete their education. This situation is of serious concern, which is why improving Europeans digital skills is one of my priorities as European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. I want everyone in Europe to have the digital skills they need to thrive in the digital economy. * Ms Mariya Gabriel European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society



DIGITALEUROPE DG BONEFELD-DAHL CALLS FOR EU LEADERS TO SPEEDUP EUROPE’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION by N. Peter Kramer The Tallinn Digital Summit on 29 September 2017 will bring together EU heads of state and government for discussions on plans for digital innovation. The results of the summit should enable the EU to get ahead of the technological curve and become a digital leader in the world in the years to come. European Business Review met on the eve of the Digital Summit with Ms Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director-General of DIGITALEUROPE since April of this year. This association represents some of the world’s largest


IT, telecoms and consumer electronic companies and 40 national technology associations from every part of Europe, representing in total more than 25.000 companies. Before her appointment she was the President of the Danish trade association, and already an Executive Board member of DIGITALEUROPE where she served as a member of the association’s high level Digital Advisory Council. Ms. Bonefeld-Dahl unfolds a clear vision of what must be done in the near future by the association. Besides


the crucial policy work with the European Commission and the European Parliament, another priority must be the strengthening of national associations in the EU member states: «here, in the Brussels’ bubble, DIGITALEUROPE is, often successful, focussed on the realisation of digital industrial policies. But let’s not forget, what the next step is: the results must be implemented in national laws and rules. For me, it is very important that our national associations are strengthened to be able to have more influence and enabling them to support National leaders to take the pulse of the ongoing digital transformation, to collaborate and align, in the end we need one way of doing things not 28» She continues saying that ‘it is a new task, but of course we will not neglect our policy work in Brussels. We have to find the perfect balance!’ This balancing shows Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl is experienced at international level in positions for IBM and Oracle, and having founded a Cloud SME herself, she also knows quite well what is going on at national level. She has served as board member of the Danish Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Board of the Danish ICT association (ITB). She continues «Further we need to expand our membership to other industries and we are building vertical focus on digitalisation of Industries, starting with amongst others a focus on Health, Government, Transportation, Banking and Energy sector. The digital transformation affects all sectors». In Juncker’s recent State of the Union, the need for a strong digital industrial EU policy was mentioned. ‘Elaborating the use of the digital technology and the creation of new jobs, are the aims’, DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General says. ‘Let’s be clear, we know that the effect of the development of digital technology is also a loss of certain ‘traditional’ jobs, but as in every other industrial revolution new jobs will be created, and we need policy-makers to get focused at the skills and initiatives of the future not the past, the world is already digital so the question is will our children be creators or just passive users of digital products and services. That means that we have, for that reason too, a huge responsibility to create new jobs; to start education for young people so that they obtain the right skills for their future’. She believes that more can be done by our political leaders too. ‘Too often I see that ‘old industries’ are strongly protected and attention to ‘digital’ is not always adequate’. Ms Bonefeld-Dahl is therefore wel-

coming the initiative of the Estonian EU Presidency to organise the Tallinn Digital Summit, which will bring together the EU Heads of State and Government for a proper discussion about the digital future of the EU. The question is whether the EU is able to get ahead of the technological curve and become a digital leader in the world in the years to come. Or will China and the US go on in pole position? DIGITALEUROPE’s DG is looking forward to working with the European institutions and with the new European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Ms Mariya Gabriel. According to Ms Bonefeld-Dahl, the new Commissioner will bring energy and reinforce the dynamism around the ideas of industry digitisation and the empowerment of European citizens and SMEs through a more inclusive and transformative digitalisation process. These are steps that DIGITALEUROPE promotes and support. «We know that 75% of value creation in the traditional industries come from Digitalisation – Digital is not for ICT companies, they are enablers for the digitalisation of citizens, governments and companies.»




In an Interview with Markus Borchert, President DIGITALEUROPE and Senior Vice-President Market Europe, Nokia, EBR asked him:

WHAT THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSOCIATION ARE? Europe needs tobuild, attract and sustain the world’s best technology companies if it wants to grow a strong digital economy. DIGITALEUROPE keeps its members abreast of legislative and regulatory developments in Brussels and we work with the European institutions to make sure that we build a truly Digital Single Market and that theregulatory and businessenvironmentstimulates the rollout of digital infrastructures, the digitiszation of vertical industriesand government, the development of digital skills as well as innovation in new technologies and business models. It is not enough to be pro-innovation and pro-competition. Businesses and consumers need simple and flexible rules that respond to the concerns of all interested partieswhile adequately recognising the global nature of digital and the need to remain open to free trade. We also need to push for greater acceptance of digital technologies and focus on providing digital skills and an entrepreneurial mindset to our workforce. DO YOU THINK THAT THE COMMISSION IS ON THE RIGHT LINES, FOR INSTANCE CON-


CERNING DATA PRIVACY? I don’t think we need any further legislative actionin this area as we have the new framework based on the General European Data Protection Regulation. It is important now that it gets applied in a uniform manner across the EU. Data Protection Authorities need to find solutions to risks inherent in the new law, as for instance providing a joint approach towards sanctions and fines. It is of great importance to avoid introducing further restrictions and limitations through the upcoming e-Privacy Regulation. Neither the private and public sectors (example smart city applications), nor the user will benefit from an overly burdensome and restrictive “all-consent”-based regime. AND WHAT ABOUT SECURITY? Cybersecurity is a concern to all of us. The IoT environment will lead to a new, much higher level of exposure to security threats. Increased investments in security are required. Regulatory intervention should remain truly lighttouch though. Multi-national cooperation is key – international cooperation efforts should be increased to


combat and prevent negative effects of cyberattacks directed at the European market. AND A LAST QUESTION, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE? Advanced connectivity and computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence, automation and robotics are transforming products, processes and business models in all sectors. The fourth industrial revolution is at our doorstep. Europe will benefit greatly if we master the challenges and embrace digitalization. Much will depend on the development and timely rollout of the necessarydigital infrastructure: high-capacity fixed broadband and 5G for fast, reliable and close to zero latencymobile connections that can connect billions of devices equipped with sensors. DIGITALEUROPE wants to see truly future-prooflegislation that stimulates investments in Europe. The upcoming telecom framework for instance risks not being good enough. Drafts

and proposals being discussed in the EU legislative process are far too conservative and interventionist; and we all know that under the current framework, Europe fell far behind the USA, Japan, Korea and large parts of China in terms of infrastructure investments. Another important example is the need for a real European approach to spectrum. If Europe is not capable to act as one on this precious resource, there will not be a DSM! Without a true EU spectrum strategy and spectrum releases, the deployment of 5G for instance will not be consistent and Europe will continue to suffer from its fragmentation and fail again to be a sustainable first mover! Europe’s competitiveness in both the medium and long-term dependsonit being able to ride this digital wave with confidence to make sure all European businesses and consumers can reap its full benefits.



DIGITALEUROPE is the leading trade association representing the digital technology industry in Europe. DIGITALEUROPE members include some of the world’s largest IT, telecom and consumer electronic companies from across Europe. DIGITALEUROPE’s membership include in total 25,000 ICT companies that are represented by over 60 Corporate Members and more than 30 National Trade Associations in Europe. As part of DIGITALEUROPE’s core business, we ensure industry participation in the development and implementation of European policies. DIGITALEUROPE’s vision is to create a European Union that nurtures and supports the digital technology industries. It is essential to oversee the necessity for European businesses and citizens to fully benefit from digitalisation, resulting in innovation and growth of


industries, prosperous jobs in a society equipped with digital skills, a robust digital infrastructure boosting connectivity and the European digital economy and a safe and secure cyberspace. DIGITALEUROPE’s mission is to foster, on behalf of DIGITALEUROPE’s Members, a business, policy and regulatory environment that allows for Europe to accelerate the digital transformation and become global leaders in the digital economy. DIGITALEUROPE is governed by an Executive Board composed of 20 individuals, including a President, Markus Borchert (NOKIA),and a Vice-President, Ventura Pobre (AMETIC – Spain), elected by the General Assembly. Within the 20 Executive Board Members, 10 representatives are from the corporate members and


10 other representatives are from the National Trade Associations. The Executive Board sets future priorities and adopts pro-active plans by co-coordinating the work of policy groups and working groups. The management of DIGITALEUROPE is undertaken by a team of public affairs professionals based in Brussels andled by the Director-General, Mrs Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl. DIGITALEUROPE is engaged in many policy areas touching upon a wide range of industry policies including the environment, trade, technical and regulatory, Cybersecurity, innovation and the digital economy. HISTORY OF DIGITALEUROPE In 1999, the European Information and Communications Technology Industry Association (EICTA) was formed by the merge of two former organisations, ECTEL and EUROBIT, which represented the information and telecommunication industries. EICTA then expanded its scope to include consumer electronics as part of the industry representation, resulting in the merge between EICTA and the European Association of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers (EACEM). The new joint association changed its name to the European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Association, but kept its original acronym, EICTA.

Finally, EICTA re-branded as DIGITALEUROPE in March 2009 to better reflect the importance of the consumer electronic sectors in Europe, with a catchy slogan back then, “Building Digital Europe”. Ever since, DIGITALEUROPE succeeded in many areas including the release of the “Ultra HD” logo to certify companies that meet technical requirements of displays, supporting DIGITALEUROPE members by connecting industries with policy makers for a smoother digitalisation in Europe, empowering European society with digital skills through collaboration with the European Institutions and becoming the leading voice for many tech companies in Europe. Digitalisation is offering European society a tremendous opportunity for growth and jobs. DIGITALEUROPE works hard in setting priorities for Europe to seize the opportunity by convening all European public and private stakeholders to launch and achieve digital infrastructure, digital competences, regulatory and business projects to reposition Europe at the forefront of the international digital leadership. We can only find solutions to the digital challenges if all relevant parties worked together.




When President Donald Trump landed at Ben Gurion International Airport in May, a sensitive microphone on the tarmac picked up the conversation between Sarah Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s wife, and American first lady Melania Trump by Uri Dromi * “You know, in Israel, all the people like us,” the prime minister’s wife told the first lady. “The media hate us but the people love us. Like you.” To which the first lady responded, “We have a lot in common.” There was no need for a sensitive microphone to record the thoughts of their respective husbands on the media, because Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu say it loud and clear in public rallies. On Aug. 22, President Trump incited a crowd in Phoenix against those “dishonest people,” as he pointed to the news media representatives covering the event. And on


Aug. 30, Netanyahu used a Likud gathering for Rosh Hashanah to vilify the “dishonesty” of the “arrogant” media, which he claimed saw all of its efforts as kosher in scheming to topple him from power, disregarding the will of the people. Such acrimonious relationships between people in power and the press are not new. A very famous — or notorious — case was that of Vice President Spiro Agnew, with his immortal address to the California Republican state convention on Sept. 11, 1970: “In the United States today, we have more than our share of


the nattering nabobs of negativism.” Agnew wasn’t known for his high language. His usual talk was more like, “Some newspapers are fit only to line the bottom of bird cages.” So, I wondered where he got this kind of lofty phrase, only to discover, much to my dismay, that it was written for him by White House speechwriter William Safire, who later became a New York Times columnist and the author of “On Language.” Oy vey, “those who laid you waste depart from you.” At the time, Agnew’s ranting against the media could have been dismissed. Indeed, in 1972, when Gallup started polling Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly,” trust in the media was at its highest point ever — 72 percent. Today, only 32 percent say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust (September 2016). In Israel, according to the 2016 Democracy index of the Israel Democracy Institute, Israelis’ trust in the media dropped to 26 percent today from 48 percent in 2004. While that decline can be explained by the divisiveness of politics, Gallup doesn’t exonerate the media: “With the explosion of the mass media in recent years, especially the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media, perhaps Americans decry lower standards for journalism. When opinion-driven writing becomes something like the norm, Americans may be wary of placing trust on the work of media institutions that have less rigorous reporting criteria than in the past.”

Although the media indeed have to check themselves, attacks from the leaders only keep deepening the mistrust of citizens in both countries regarding one of the main pillars of democracy. Thomas Jefferson is often quoted as saying that “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Although, as president, he became embittered of the press, “Jefferson also knew that our democracy could only flourish with a free press that would keep an eye on people in power and help protect our freedoms,” Ken Paulson, president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, told The Washington Post (Feb. 18). Compare that to President Trump tweeting about his wrestling “CNN” to the ground. As for Netanyahu, he could have borrowed a page from Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founding father of Beitar, forerunner of Likud. Jabotinsky was a talented journalist, who in 1932 wrote: “What a great thing is the newspaper; no profession is more sublime than that of a journalist.” Netanyahu surely knows that: His father was the personal secretary of Jabotinsky. Instead, he chooses to viciously attack the media, thus undermining democracy. I served under a totally different leader, Yitzhak Rabin. When he saw in the morning a damning story or commentary, he would just shrug and say: “They have their job to do, and I have mine.” During his first term as prime minister, in 1977, Dan Margalit, the correspondent for Haaretz in the United States, exposed that Rabin’s wife, Leah, had kept a U.S. dollar bank account in Washington, D.C., which was then illegal. Yitzhak Rabin took responsibility and resigned. Much later, in 1994, when Rabin again was prime minister, we flew to Aqaba, Jordan, for a joint press conference with King Hussein. Now guess who the moderator was: None other than Dan Margalit, who later joined us during the helicopter ride back home. I’ll never forget the picture of Rabin chatting casually with the journalist who had once brought him down. Gone are the days. * Uri Dromi former spokesperson of the Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres governments, is the director general of the Jerusalem Press Club.

** Originally published in The Jewish Journal




Capitalism in its current form is neither fair nor sustainable by Dirk Helbing * As today’s form of capitalism is not compatible with our social and cultural value system, sooner or later it will be damaging to the foundations of societies and the values they are built on.

We are quite far from having made it a place where all people can live in dignity and unfold their talents.

Therefore, capitalism must be upgraded in a way that is compatible with societal and cultural values and with the fairness principle to provide equal opportunities.

For this and a number of other reasons, the monetary system needs urgent reform. The current system is not fair and creates serious distortions. It further promotes inequality, which creates political instability.

Since a change of the world’s carrying capacity by 1% effectively decides over the lives and deaths of about 80 million people, it is unacceptable that innovations are obstructed or restricted to those that are compatible with current business models. The survival of billions of people will depend on our ability to drastically increase innovation rates and to generate more pluralistic innovations. In other words, it is morally imperative to enable mass innovation, as neither venture capitalism nor philanthropy nor other standard means of supporting innovation were sufficient to solve the existential problems of our planet.



In fact, it tends to undermine the very basis of democracy and other institutions. The current monetary system implies existential and political dependence, which constrains individual and collective development. Therefore, in the future, everyone shall have equal opportunities to unfold their talents and engagement. This shall also include the right to benefit from money generation. From a legal point of view, everyone should be equal, and hence this should also apply to money creation.


DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM Benefitting from money creation can no longer be the privilege of a few private persons and banks. Moreover, in times of digital, ecological and societal transformation, everyone should be able to experiment and discover new solutions. Therefore, everyone shall soon get a universal investment premium. This money will not be provided from taxes, but by money generation. The overall amount of money in circulation shall be kept at bay by a negative interest rate. The underlying idea is to take money out of the system that is not being used, because it is desirable for the economy and society that money is being invested. The investment premium shall not be kept or spent by the person who receives it. It should rather be invested into the best ideas and projects engaging for social and environmental affairs, new technologies, improved neighbourhoods, etc. CROWD FUNDING FOR ALL This “crowd funding for all” may be realized by a new kind of money. Its height shall make sure that the better half (or at least a third) of proposed projects can be realized. People will be able to earn an additional income by winning projects and contributing to their realization, such that there is a mechanism encouraging innovation and engagement. Project results realized with these investment premiums shall become open source and Creative Commons after a two-year time period, such that combinatorial innovation and as well as a participatory information, innovation, product and service system can emerge and thrive. EVERYONE WILL BENEFIT Note that everyone would benefit from this approach, and it is not expected that this will be to the disadvantage of large companies. The above described measures are intended to boost the massive, pluralistic innovation that will now be needed to solve the world’s existential problems collectively as soon as possible.

Within just a few years, half of the economy will have to be reinvented to make it sustainable and create new jobs in the wake of automation that it is now driven by Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. This requires existential security, experimental opportunities and access to innovative and productive means. If the above reforms are made, a redistribution of property from the rich to the poor may be avoidable – otherwise it will be inevitable. In any case, property that is not actively used by the owner(s) for more than a year should be made accessible for use through a sharing economy platform that provides fair access to anyone who is qualified for use. Private property that is not publicly registered shall be administered by the region where the property is located. Likewise, services and products that have been discontinued, patents or business models that are not being used, shall become Creative Commons within two years’ time. * Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and affiliate of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich.




Join Hillary Rodham Clinton as she travels the United States this fall. She’ll connect with audience with a story that’s personal, raw, detailed and surprisingly funny by Hans Izaak Kriek * She’ll take you with her on her journey and talk about What Happened, what’s next, and what’s on your mind. What you’ll see will be her story – Live. Her story of resilience, how to get back up after a loss, and how we can all look ahead. It’s about Hillary’s experience as a woman in politics – she lets loose on this topic, and others, in a way she never has before. This announcement she made on her internet side Hillary Clinton live. Under her picture she wrote: “In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public. Like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” Her book tour starts September 18, 2017 in Washington D.C. and is going to Canada, Florida, California, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, Georgia, Massachusetts, Washington and Oregon. People who are interested can buy tickets for going to an event.


It means big business For Hillary Clinton. She’s ready to talk about “what happened.” But if you want to hear her speak about it in person, you may have to spend some serious dough. Starting this month, the former Democratic presidential nominee embarks on a tour across the United States and Canada to promote ‘What Happened’, her memoir about running against Donald Trump for president. And the price for access is a throwback to campaign fundraisers. For $2,375.95 (or $3,000 in Canadian dollars), Clinton fans in Toronto can obtain a “VIP platinum ticket” for her Sept. 28 talk. That ticket includes two front-row seats, a photo with Clinton backstage and a signed book. For Clinton’s November 1 event in New York, VIP tickets are going for $ 750. In the last 15 years Bill and Hillary Clinton earns millions of dollars for speeches and books, totally $153 million.


What Happened reveals what she really thinking at Trump debate. She’s now the unvarnished candidate Democrats needed in their primary and the country needed when Trump became the GOP presidential nominee. With approval numbers lower than Donald Trump, the most unpopular president in history at this point in a presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton has nowhere to go but up. Her new book, What Happened, seems to support precisely that. The book, the fact of it and the timing are interesting, but Clinton’s book tour and conversation with America are infinitely more so. A more apt title of the memoir and accompanying tour would be Hillary Clinton, Unplugged. Nothing left to lose. Direct, unvarnished, gossipy, honest, in your face, tell it like it is — she’s the Hillary Clinton the Democrats needed in their primary and the country needed when Trump became the GOP presidential nominee, courtesy of the ratings-hungry media. Where was this person in 2016, the one who on Wednesday on NBC's Today called out Donald Trump Jr. for the "absurd lie" that he met with Russians last year to learn about her "fitness" for office?

into U.S. elections is on point. So is her assertion that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ vicious attacks on her harmed her with Democrats, many of whom stayed home on Election Day. She's also right that then-FBI Director James Comey torpedoed her campaign in its final days by suddenly publicly announcing he was reopening the investigation into her emails and private server, while keeping the far more serious investigation of Trump’s collusion with Russia under wraps. Had any one of these situations been effectively dealt with, Hillary Clinton would be president.

For years and years — decades, even — we’ve been told by close friends and associates of Hillary Clinton that if we knew her as they did, we would all love her to the moon and back. So where was she hiding? While it’s true the establishment Democrats would like her to shut up and exit stage left, this woman who won the popular vote and received more votes than any white man in our nation’s long history of electing white men, with one notable exception, has every right to step up and tell her story. And she should. Wincing Democrats can take some small comfort in that she is appropriating a bit of their limelight early, well in advance of the 2018 midterms. As well, she’s addressing some tough truths about what happened in her own party. Nothing new is revealed that hasn’t already been hashed over by political analysts, but Democrats seem to take issue with the fact that it’s Clinton joining in the discussion. Taking the medicine is unpleasant and somewhat painful, yet what some might view as self-indulgent naval gazing will ultimately prove valuable to Democrats hoping to take the majority in Congress in 2018 and the White House in 2020, regardless of whether Trump is still president then. Clinton’s assertion that President Obama should have done more regarding Vladimir Putin’s interference

But it’s her uncharacteristic acceptance of personal blame that catches the eye of longtime Clinton watchers. It’s humanizing. It’s also a bit tardy, sadly, and appears to be something she considers so risky that it can come only after one’s political career is over. “I felt like I had let everybody down," and “I am done with being a candidate. But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake,” she told Jane Pauley on CBS on Sunday. Which means, ironically, that though this woman has been in American public life for decades, we are only now getting to see and know the most authentic, human version of this two-time presidential candidate, former secretary of State, former U.S. senator and former first lady. *Hans Izaak Kriek is international political commentator and journalist for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media




From West to East and North to South, global power structures and mechanisms are shifting, confirming the premises of a fast emerging world order by Radu Magdin * This affects everyone, from politicians with regional or global vision and ambitions, to transnational business players. Consequently, tycoons and other strong individual power players should pay due attention to current global trends and opportunities, while minimizing threats to their business and interests. This includes a need for quick adjustment in terms if strategy and skills, this article being dedicated to a set of commandments for a successful transition to the new world order:


1. FOCUS IN TERMS OF STRATEGY AND COMMS ON ONE BIG COMMAND: REFORM. Reform is good to embrace and great to be seen doing: everyone likes a caring reformer eager to help modernize his country or business, including investing in the community. In times where reputations crash and burn in a matter of days, talking the talk and walking the walk in terms of modernization is essential for moral ascendency. This is particularly relevant for oligarchs


who are publicly involved in politics as party leaders (formally or in the shadow) or as state officials - positions from which pushing reforms is not only possible, but also highly desirable and expected. 2. MAKE NO GRAVEN IMAGE OF YOURSELF. Too much power -or the perception of exagerated power- is dangerous and so is the cult of personality. Stay periodically under the radar, since hunting season is full on in a complex, interconnected world. Handling communication wisely and projecting power only in key moments are the secrets your “yes (wo)men” won’t tell you: get a competent "nay" advocate in your strategy team asap. Economic and political power in the hands of one person, regardless of his or her intentions, is, unless you play your cards strategically, too much to take for the people and an endless source of criticism coming from the opposition. So, manage expectations wisely: there is peril, not just opportunity, in crisis

times. This year could be glorious, next year could spell disaster, in case you pick the wrong fights. 3. DO NOT TAKE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE IN VAIN. Always remember the people. They vote, pay their taxes and, naturally, have growing expectations, particularly if they have internet access and are exposed to varied networks and multiple sources of information. Ignoring legitimate citizen needs for reform amid their access to information will empower your opponents and, hey, by the way, people may grow to increasingly hate you.. Instead, you can empower people: listen, communicate, deliver. This is not whitewashing, it's smart policy: if you want a legacy and not just millions

in your accounts, grow with due care for sustainability. 4. GET A VARIED A TEAM, KEEP THEM CLOSE. A tycoon, or any other power player in fact, without a faithful team of varied professionals is vulnerable and might not be able to stay influent in the years to come. Changes happen with unprecedented speed, you need people to tell you which wave is wise to ride. Money and positions are not forever, but the people you cultivate will be there for you, should you treat them right and listen to their advice. Smart advice: cultivate smart people. While trust is important, it's better to have somebody also competent on board; as the saying goes, "rather than a dum friend, go for a smart opponent" - so why not invest in a wise friend? 5. HONOUR YOUR POLITICAL MENTS AND PATRONS.


On your way to the top, you probably made quite a few promises and commitments, you had political support or business patrons. Honour them with professionalism, promises need to be kept if you want long term success. Of course, you may say politicians are shallow and may not respond in kind, but it's a risk worth taking.. In times of uncertainty, promises kept are the best business card and at least a minimal guarantee that you will not be blacklisted as a priority in the context of power transitions. Build bridges across the aisle as a reasonable power-and-business player for continued success: everyone has favourites but it's ok to talk to political opponents since today's competitor may be tomorrow's ally. In backchannels you should trust. Instead of a conclusion, a last piece of advice, not a sense of any commandment: do not pursue power at any cost. Ambition is great and gets the engine going but strategy and moderation are key in 2017+’s power game, where the logic of polarization has taken over. Just watch global TV for one hour daily, you will see what I mean. Power at any cost now will become very pricey soon, as the new world order is rapidly in the making. No one can be too confident, since "heroes (of the day/month/year)" rise and fall faster than ever before in history. Prepare to burnout quickly unless proper "war rooms" and long term strategies are in place.

* Radu Magdin *International analyst, former Prime Ministerial advisor



AMBASSADOR DR. HARRY TSENG OPTIMISTIC ABOUT A TAIWAN-EU BILATERAL INVESTMENT AGREEMENT by N. Peter Kramer The Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, has recently appointed a new Representative to the EU and Belgium: Ambassador Dr. Tseng, an experienced and savvy diplomat with a strong academic background. He served as Deputy Secretary General in President Dr. Tsai Ing-wen’s office as well as in the National Security Council before he assumed his post in Brussels. Since Dr. Tsai’s election in January 2016, the official dialogue between Taiwan and mainland China (the People’s Republic of China) has been suspended. Beijing insisted she must accept the so-called “1992 Consensus” in order for the cross-Strait relations to be back on track. Unlike her predecessor Dr. Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency (2008-2016), Dr. Tsai has refused to accept


the so-called “1992 Consensus” due to that there is no written justification of the formula out of the meetings in 1992. The only thing we know for sure 25 years on is that there was indeed a gathering in 1992 in Hong Kong about the subject. Dr. Tsai has never mentioned the “1992 Consensus” during her presidential campaign, let alone accepting it after taking Presidency. Instead, she stated that the changing environments in the Asia-Pacific region over the past years have presented a “new situation” that both sides of the Taiwan Strait need to jointly face. The two sides need to jointly respond to a “new answer sheet” and jointly consider a “new model” conducive to peaceful and stable cross-Strait interaction.


Ambassador Harry Tseng emphasized that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait should sit down and talk about issues of common concern as soon as possible.” HOW IS MAINLAND CHINA REACTING TO PRESIDENT TSAI’S VIEW OF THE “1992 CONSENSUS”? Beijing interpreted it as a provocation and froze the ties made with Taiwan during President Ma’s years in office; negotiations about new deals have been suspended; Beijing unilaterally stopped the interactions; and is clearly antagonising Taiwan according to the Ambassador. He mentions a decrease of some 40% in the number of Chinese visitors to Taiwan, from 4,18 million in 2015 to 3,52 million in 2016. The reason for it, he tells us, is that Beijing has systematically discouraged its people to visit Taiwan. But there is more. The Ambassador points to mainland China’s poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. “Our allies are being picked off with economic incentives in a diplomatic game”. Since December last year Sao Tomé and Principe, and Panama have cut ties with Taiwan. The total number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies is now down to 20, including the Holy See. A third example of China’s current antagonism is cited by the Ambassador as the May 2017 events at the World Health Assembly (WHA). In the past eight years, Taiwan, as a non-WHO member, could participate as an observer to this important annual vent, a gathering of all member states of the WHO. It was only a modest but not unimportant step. Taiwan was allowed to participate in working groups and could meet representatives of other countries. “However, this year the WHO Secretariat, under pressure from Beijing, refused to invite Taiwan as an observer! Disease heeds no political borders. It is absurd that Taiwan, a country of 23.5 million people with comprehensive and advanced medical and health system and claiming high-level scientific expertise, was excluded”, Ambassador Tseng says.

cyber-security and defense issues. “Look at the confrontations in East Asia, the dangerous actions of North Korea not only threaten South Korea, Japan and the US, it threatens our civilisation. In a world where cyber space has connected every player, can the EU really stay outside of the crisis? If the situation in East Asia gets out of hand, there will also be serious repercussions also for the EU.” He also refers to common values of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law. ”Taiwan has many friends in the European Parliament. We very much appreciate the support extended to us by our friends in the European Parliament.” He continues, “A passage of supportive resolution may not be a big deal to many other countries, but it is in Taiwan. It helps boost our national morale. It shows that we are not alone on the path of righteousness.” BUT WHY IS THERE STILL NO TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EU AND TAIWAN? The Ambassador responds, “We are approaching this issue very carefully. It is moving slowly but surely. We hope it can be judged entirely from economic perspectives. It is not necessary at all to bring in too many political elements.” He concluded the interview with his expectation that a Taiwan-EU bilateral investment agreement is not far away. EBR’s conclusion is that to a like-minded and rational Taiwan, the EU should indeed render more help, not pulling its legs!

IS MAINLAND CHINA BLOCKING A TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EU AND TAIWAN BEHIND THE CURTAINS? THE EU SIGNED FTAS WITH MANY COUNTRIES THAT ARE LESS IMPORTANT THAN TAIWAN IN TERMS OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT FOR THE EU. Ambassador Tseng points out that the relationship between his country and the EU is more than an economic one. There are common concerns on security,




Byron Nicolaides, Founder, owner, and CEO of PEOPLECERT, a global leader in the assessment and certification of professional skills, is not an unknown name in informatics. He was just elected for the second time as the President of CEPIS (Council of European Professional Informatics Societies) and has thus become one of the most influential people in Europe. His deal with AXELOS, for the exclusive delivery of the AXELOS Global Best Practice portfolio, including ITIL, PRINCE2, and RESILIA is considered a game changer. The agreement came after a comprehensive, 9-monthlong tendering selection process. From January 1, 2018, PEOPLECERT will be responsible for certifying over 500,000 professionals’ annually in over 180 countries. “They had told me that a European company could not possibly rule the world in certifications. But we did it


and we will continue to do so in the future” he proudly says. His unique point? The understanding that technology, education, and certification move side by side. “PEOPLECERT is about giving the tools our partners need to respond to the ever-changing environment, with reliable secure and flexible certification services. It develops and delivers the leading examinations on


the market such as ECDL, IELTS, ITIL, PRINCE2@, LanguageCert, Lean Six Sigma and COBITS. We deliver exams across 165 countries, in 25 languages, enabling professionals to reach their full potential and realize their life ambitions through learning. We achieve all this through PEOPLECERT’s state–of–the art exam management platform, our award-winning online proctoring technology, and a revolutionary IOS app, all of which were developed entirely by our dedicated Research & Development team” he underlines. It is no accident that some of PEOPLECERT’s clients include people from prestigious companies, such as Barclays, Bank of America, VISA, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Vodafone, Dell, HP, Siemens, Morgan Stanley and NASA. Constantly evolving, Mr. Nicolaides introduced LanguageCert, the awarding organization dedicated to language skills assessment and certification, recognized by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), the independent authority that regulates qualifications, examinations, and assessments in England. For the delivery of its qualification exams, LanguageCert deploys state-of-the-art, innovative and flexible exam administration technologies and systems developed by PeopleCert. To date, LanguageCert delivers English Language Examinations exams through more than 120 test centers in over 25 countries. LanguageCert is also organizing the Spanish Language Certifications in more than 100 countries in cooperation with the world-known Salamanca University.

bad even when the odds are against us” he continues. “First of all please let me underline that the fact PEOPLECERT is now an international company based in the UK does not mean that we forget our roots. Many from our staff still work out of Athens and I am very active in finding solutions in helping my country overcome the crisis. For example my concern for the brain- drain Greece suffers, as a result of the crisis, has led me to get involved in the Alliance for Digital Employability through which - and with the help from the academia - IT programs are offered so as to minimize unemployment and retain young professionals in Greece” he says passionately .

Mr. Nicolaides is pushing ahead: “I am proud to say that our company now holds a leading position in the US market, reaching 50% in the field of ITSM certification (IT Service Management). It is no coincidence that we have embraced the view that Knowledge is acquired at universities, but this is never enough: it always needs certification. And that's what we do: Certify people!”

One can see in his eyes the seriousness and the determination when he confesses: “Our continued delivery of excellence in new markets, our focus on international growth, technological and service innovation helped us stay afloat. In retrospect, the path we chose seems evident, but that was not so at the time. Nor was implementing our strategy. This industry requires adaptation of the organization's entire corporate culture, mentality, and systems to operate successfully and compete globally”.

Up until today, Greek entrepreneurs were known for their success in Shipping. Not in education and surely not in Technology. So you can imagine our surprise to find such a success story by a Greek entrepreneur, exactly in the field of Education, Technology, and Certification. “If one wants to build a success story, one has to recognize that. I was lucky enough to see this very early in my career and lucky again to have been surrounded by a team which upheld its core values even to the toughest of times. Quality, innovation, passion, and integrity. Add “philotimo” to that mix and we had the recipe for success” he claims. “Philotimo is what I think differentiates us Greeks from others. It makes us continue to strive for the good and turn away from the

When we asked him what he has to say on his success he answered «is our journey so far a “success story”? Many people in our market think it is. And use the offer to enter the US Stock Exchange as an argument for their point of view. Our annual turnover is moving in the right direction, but it is not the only aspect that we have to consider to make a decision. Steve Jobs at Stanford Commencement said “you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you should trust the dots, being confident that will somehow connect in your future. You should trust your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever… This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”.




As more digital freelancers find work through online labor platforms, taxing their income will become increasingly difficult by Steven Hill * Digital freelancers are difficult to track. The “nano-ization” of their work, with short daily and weekly working hours, much of it part-time, is hard to capture statistically. Therefore, official numbers may be undercounting. A study by McKinsey Global Institute found that the percentage of Germans working “independent” of the traditional employer-employee relationship is nearly twice that of the government estimate. For example, the number of German clickworkers seeking gigs on the US-based platform Upwork grew by over 300% to over 59,000 in only the nine months before July 2017. Over 22,400 of those had earned income during July. That’s just one online labor platform, there are dozens of them. Various studies have found that anywhere from 1-2 million Germans (2.3%-4.6% of all workers) are earning income on them. Preliminary results from a recent survey commissioned


by the Federal Ministry of Labour found 3.1% of workers earned income on these platforms over the previous year. Still another survey found that 22% of German respondents tried to find work via online platforms during the past year, with 4% managing to find work at least once a week. Other studies have come up with different estimates, unleashing a confusing numbers game that makes policy design a challenge. TAX EVASION OF DIGITAL PLATFORMS Even more alarming, when these workers are hired by companies or individual clients located in other parts of the world, those clients often do not report to the German authorities how much income was paid to each worker. And the individual worker also likely is not reporting a lot of this “under the radar” income. In a report written for the European Commission,


Professor Gerhard Bäcker from the Universität Duisburg-Essen asked, “How can the incomes of clickworkers be recorded?” That’s a tough question to answer. One Germany company, called Clickworker, claims to have 900,000 digital workers all over the world. How many of them are Germans, and how many of those pay taxes on their income? How many of the non-Germans pay taxes to their own governments? Nobody really knows. UNDERMINING THE FUTURE By my calculation, approximately €4 billion in annual income from these workers is conceivably going untaxed in Germany alone, and €600 million is not being paid into the German health care fund. As more digital freelancers find work through these online platforms, that will further erode public funding for education, transportation, healthcare, the environment and more. This is serious money. I have used Germany as an example, but the same challenges apply across Europe and in the United States. A lot is at stake.

In addition, I have proposed creating a portable welfare net for all excluded freelancers. This could be enacted by expanding Germany’s “Hausgewerbetreibende” and “Künstlersozialkasse” programs. These were created to provide healthcare and social security for self-employed workers who perform certain types of jobs from home, or who are artists, musicians and journalists. As with regular workers, each business would pay its pro-rated share of social security costs, as would the worker. That money would be used to purchase the worker‘s safety net. A number of European member states have a version of these programs that could be expanded to make sure no types of workers fall through the cracks. By doing this, the developed economies would eliminate the “bogus self-employment” loophole, because if a business hires a freelancer it will no longer be able to evade paying its social security contribution. And people who like flexible work wouldn’t have to sacrifice their social security to have it, and vice versa. That would greatly help prepare the labor force and the developed economies for the Digital Age.

If the drift toward a more “part-time, freelance economy” is not managed carefully, it will undermine the future. It will not only drain taxes from the welfare state, it also will unravel the employer-employee relationship, and the delicate balance of solidarity and co-determination between the different economic sectors. And as more of the global economy moves into the online world, where Internet-based corporations can hide their transactions and control the massive amounts of big data that increasingly is becoming the “new currency” of the digital age, governments will be hard-pressed to enforce their laws regarding privacy, commerce, labor, taxes and worker surveillance against these global players. A PORTABLE SAFETY NET Germany, Europe, the United States and other developed economies must become better at collecting the data needed to track the activities of the companies, as well as the many different ways people are working today.

* Steven Hill Journalist, author




In late 2009 Greece plunged into a severe economic crisis. Ever since then it has been engaged in a lengthy track of recovery. Growth has returned this year, but there remains some way to go until the end of the tunnel. A Greek recovery is important for the future of the Eurozone. Helping Greece by fostering a new mentality is the goal of the Athens-based startup incubator Orange Grove. Greek startup founders are making a difference and American and European investors are starting to notice. by Maxim Buur A new generation of entrepreneurs is gaining selfconfidence in Greece. For generations, talented young Greeks preferred civil servants’ jobs, which are no longer available in large numbers. Since the beginning of the crisis, almost half a million well-educated young Greeks moved abroad in search of better opportunities, less bureaucracy and more meritocracy. Now the tide is starting to turn. Greece is discovering that economic recovery is not only a matter of Eurozone bail-out programs and macro-economic corrections. Those economies that recover best from an economic crisis are the ones that also pay attention to the micro-economic dimension, modernizing themselves through innovation and endorsing a new style of entrepreneurship. Creative young Greeks are now asserting themselves as startup entrepreneurs and the


social status of such business founders is on the rise. The first startup incubator in Greece came about in an unusual way: it was founded by an Embassy. Four years ago, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Athens decided it should do something unconventional to make Greeks take a different look at economic opportunity. It thus took the initiative to start an flexible co-working space on the ground floor of the Embassy building in central Athens. Since then, Orange Grove has grown into a fully-fledged incubator that offers training, boot camps, a network of mentors and many international contacts. It also has an Entrepreneur in Residence advising startups, currently a young Dutch entrepreneur who co-founded a company that was eventually acquired by eBay for 300 million dollar several years ago. Orange


Grove is, moreover, known for its many well-attended events. Each quarter it organizes a pitching competition, called the Squeeze, with a jury of entrepreneurs, investors and business representatives from all over the world picking the winners out of the participating startups, and with €25,000 of pre-seed funding as prize money. BROAD SUPPORT FOR A STARTUP INITIATIVE “By promoting early-stage entrepreneurship in such a concrete way, we try to provide a spark to the Greek economy and society”, says the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Greece, Caspar Veldkamp. “Greece needs a new mentality on the road to increased competitiveness. After all, as a Eurozone country, helping the Greek economy recover is in my own country’s interest.” To show one does not need to depend on government institutions to take such an initiative, no taxpayers’ money was actually used in Orange Grove’s founding, apart from working hours by Embassy staff. The Embassy indeed found private companies willing to fund the initiative. Dutch companies, such as Heineken, Philips, Friesland-Campina, Achmea, NN, Unilever, ABN-AMRO and Shell, have been funding it since, with the help of the Greek Stavros Niarchos and Bodossaki Foundations who joined later. “It is not just the funding, it is the broad support that matters”, says Ambassador Veldkamp. Politicians, representing different sides of the Greek political spectrum, have visited Orange Grove. In the Netherlands, startups provide jobs to a new generation. The YES!Delft incubator of the Delft University of Technology, with which Orange Grove cooperates, claims its 200 startups have generated 1,400 new jobs. But it is about more than just the jobs. Dutch corporations see startups as an integral part of their own environment, because young companies provide the creativity and innovation that their own established structures do not automatically generate. Frans van Houten, Philips Electronics’ worldwide CEO, recently made that point upon hs visit to Orange Grove.

of agriculture in the Netherlands, will take place there for startups in the food and agriculture sector. A COMPETITIVE FUTURE The Greek startup ecosystem is still in its early development. But there have already been several success stories and it has become clear that the level of human capital available in Greece is high. Some companies moved out of Orange Grove when they grew too big, such as JoinCargo, an online transport platform connecting businesses with cargo carriers, and other Greek startups made their exits. Foreign investors are starting to notice. Although the impact cannot yet easily be measured in monetary terms, there is proven foreign buyer interest. According to experts, Greek startups are still undervalued compared to their American and European counterparts. Early stage investors in Greek startups get a much larger stake in a company for the same money they would pay for a small percentage of a startup based in Boston, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv or London. The Greek startup scene is rapidly developing, its young entrepreneurs having gained valuable entrepreneurial skills and improved focus, often having learned things the hard way. “These young women and men are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones”, says Veldkamp. “They are showing the way by cultivating the innovative, creative and competitive mindset that Greece so desperately needs. In that sense, their significance is so much greater than the work they do for their own company. I see so much talent here. Success will not be easy, but it is certainly within reach.”

Several incubators have been founded in Greece since Orange Grove started, sometimes with the help of Orange Grove, such as OK!Thess in the northern city of Thessaloniki. Orange Grove itself has a branch in the western university town of Patras, where it is part of the Patras Science Park. This coming fall, a masterclass, organized by StartLife from the Wageningen university




Before introducing French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Greece last week, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stressed the need to promote a dialog for "a new democratic contract in Europe" to bring back solidarity and equality between states and between citizens by N. Peter Kramer "Europe needs to become an institution of economic solidarity. It is necessary to democratise the Eurozone and to limit the risks among the Eurozone". "The recent economic crisis evolved into a political crisis, widened inequalities between states and citizens and postponed decisions. We went from the Europe of citizens to a Europe of vested interests and technocrats," he said. Tsipras explained he is in favour of a strong common budget with strict rules that will be common for all countries, but he criticised countries with "huge surpluses" (read: Germany – EBR) which widen the gap between the north and south of Europe. "We need to redesign the future of Europe. It is a political obligation of our generation, Emmanuel," he said


addressing the French president. It became apparent in his introduction that the Greek PM has made a clear choice for the ideas recently set out by Macron on the future of the EU. In his speech President Macron stressed the need for a restart of Europe, with bold changes, whilst also speaking of a more democratic Europe and proposing a road map for its future. He warned that the EU would face its demise without a radical overhaul of its governance and institutions. “I believe in a European sovereignty that allows us to defend ourselves and exist”. Macron mentioned, as Tsipras did in his speech, the current generation. “Our generation can choose to (do this) … we must find the strength to rebuild Europe”.