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THE PUZZLE OF WORLD ECONOMY & THE LABYRINTH OF EP ELECTIONS
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL GAP BETWEEN EAST & WEST TRENDS
WHY ASIA’S FUTURE IS FEMALE
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WEBER:
''EUROPE IS NOT ABOUT BUDGETS BUT MOST OF ALL ABOUT PEOPLE''
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A pall has descended over the global economyâ&#x20AC;Ś
Europe: The psychological gap between East and West
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Manfred Weber exclusive interview
Dr. George Patoulis
The puzzle of world economy
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Why Asia's future is female
Christos K. Trikoukis Editor in Chief
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Koert Debeuf, Hans Izaak Kriek, Giles Merritt, Alexandra Papaisidorou, Martin Banks, Sharan Burrow, Eirini Sotiropoulou, John Hontelez, Radu Magdin, Niels Schreuder, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen Correspondents
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By N. Peter Kramer, Editor-in-chief EBR
A pall has descended over the global economy… A pall has descended over the global economy. Threats appear more pressing. Activity has slowed almost everywhere. And markets have been febrile. Some belief this is just a soft path but there are also reasons to be concerned about it. The possibility that recent data indicate just a temporary dip has not reassured influential voices. Christine Lagarde, MD of IMF, warned leaders not to assume that the rapid growth of 2017 will return soon. Across the world ‘risks are beginning to materialise’, she said. Growing concern among many economists stems from their failure this year to foresee the weakening economic figures. The third quarter was worse than expected almost everywhere. The German economy went down with 0,2 percent, the first contraction in Europe’s largest economy since 2015. Japan’s GDP dropped 0,3 percent. Admittedly, some other leading economies grew, most activity rates were worse than expected. The Eurozone growth rate of 0,2 percent in the third quarter was the slowest since 2014. The Chinese growth rate fell to its lowest level for a decade. Even in the US, where GDP rose 0,9 percent aided by tax cuts, this was slower than the second quarter rate of 1 percent. For the full 2018 calendar year, forecasts have been scaled back by the leading economies after a heady start to the year when the momentum of 2017 was guiding the outlook. The global growth rate peaked late 2017, but since than there has been a noticeable reversion. Equity price is volatility; falls in global stock prices in October took more than 9 percent off the MSCI World Index. A sudden drop in oil prices cut the costs if a barrel of Brent crude from $86 to $67 over one month. Also monetary policy, especially in the US and UK, is credited with causing a part of the slowdown. With these signals that spending and activity growth is slowing, forecasts for the global economy in 2019 are being marked down. World leaders were warned, but without a real crisis on their hands, they looked unlikely to change global economic policy during their G20 summit in Buenos Aires. In the meantime, the EU is wrapped up in a dispute between the Italian government and the Commission over the degree to which Rome should loosen fiscal policy. France President Macron, the ‘European hero’ in ‘Brussels’ ,but more and more unpopular in his own country, is facing a ‘street revolution’ about rising fuel prices. The biggest German political party, CDU, is changing its leadership after the ‘almighty’ Merkel stepped down. What will be the future direction of the party? Important for Germany, for the EU and even for the world. It is not surprising that with all these uncertainties, there has been a chill in confidence of voters and the business across the world.
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Europe: The psychological gap between East and West The rift between Western and Central Europe runs deep. It is the result of different definitions of what the EU is and what it should be by Koert Debeuf*
n 2006 I joined official meetings in Warsaw between the Belgian prime minister and the two Kaczynski brothers.
The first meeting was with Lech Kaczynski, then president of Poland, who died in a plane crash in 2010; the second was with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, then prime minister of Poland, who is still the leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (or PiS) today. I remember well how both the Belgian and the Polish delegations did not seem to understand each other. On the Belgian side, we were surprised to hear how much the Kaczynski’s were rambling on about the Russian and the German dangers. The Polish side, on the other hand, didn’t understand why we Belgians were pleading for more European integration, once again. Today, some twelve years later, this perhaps personal misunderstanding has transformed into an open rift be-
tween Western and Eastern (or Central) Europe. This divide was made abundantly clear in the European Parliament in September, when many Eastern European parties voted against sanctioning the Hungarian government, led by Viktor Orban, for rule-of-law breaches. Many Western Europeans couldn’t understand this support for what Orban himself calls “illiberal democracy.” At the same time, many Eastern Europeans considered the sanctions unhelpful and certainly one step too far. Where does this mutual misunderstanding come from? Some would argue it is the result of Europe’s so-called refugee crisis of 2015, when Western European countries tried to push all EU member states to accept and integrate a percentage of the refugees. The refusal by the East frustrated the West. But I believe that the EU’s East-West rift is much older and more fundamental.
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It is the result of different histories and different views of what Europe is or should be. In other words, Eastern and Western Europe don’t share the same political psychology. The European Union was built on the trauma of the Second World War. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the French and German political leadership understood that only close cooperation could avoid a new conflict and total devastation of the European continent. They also agreed that they had to neutralise the causes of war: fascism and nationalism. For the EU’s founding states—Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands—the European project was one of ever more cooperation and democracy and ever less borders. It must also be said that European integration was often pushed forward as a reaction to the tightening of the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe. Only a united, liberal-democratic Europe would be able
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to stand against the aggressive Communist bloc. It is no accident that the Treaty of Rome, the EU’s founding document, was signed only one year after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. In Eastern Europe the wounds of the Second World War were quickly followed by a new trauma: the Warsaw Pact, or the forced vassalship to the Communist Soviet Union. Indeed, in 1956 Moscow made clear what this “membership” meant by invading Hungary and smashing the revolt of the Hungarians. Five years later the Berlin Wall was built, symbolising the fact that there was no way out. Then, in 1968, the Soviets sent another message in Prague: no country of the Warsaw Pact can decide its own politics. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, each one of the Eastern European countries could finally pursue their dream of being the boss of their own state and deciding their
own future. The only way to protect this dream from a new Russian invasion was to become members of the European Union and NATO, as soon as possible. In short, for the Western European countries, the EU is a guarantee against war and fascism (or the cause of war.) For the Eastern European member states, the EU is a guarantee against Russian occupation and political vassalship.
Czech Republic alone there are 2,500 people organised in 90 home guard groups or militias who patrol the streets, ostensibly to stop refugees and “Roma crime.” The same is happening in Slovakia and Slovenia. In 2017 the Czech Republic granted asylum to 145 people, Slovenia to 152, and Slovakia to 60. In comparison, in the same year Belgium granted asylum to nearly 13,000 people. For most Eastern European countries the refugee crisis is an imagined problem, but one with dangerous political consequences.
However, in order to understand the refugee rift, we must consider another historical fact. From the 1950s on, Western Europe organised immigration from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey (as well as from Italy) Oddly, illiberal groups and parties in Western and Eastto do its dirty labor. ern Europe are knocking at the door of their former Even though not one of these archenemy: Moscow. countries in Europe handled the influx well, Western EuWhere the Right and the Farropeans did get used to workRight once saw Communist European Union always ing and living with people of Russia as the main reason for has been and still is a different origins. European cooperation, they now see the king of illiberal liberal democratic project. The situation in Eastern Eudemocracy, Vladimir Putin, as Unfortunately, it has turned rope was the opposite: since the an ally against the same Eurointo a defensive project in 1950s, people have been trying pean cooperation. which liberal democracy is to leave these countries. only being defended and They find that Europe has beWestern Europe has a history come too liberal and insisting sometimes even imposed. It’s of immigration, while Eastern too much on building open sothe latter that irks the Visegrad Europe has one of emigration. cieties. And they seem happy countries. This historical-psychological that Moscow is helping them analysis is not new. But it to halt this effort, so far not seems to be too easily forgotentirely unsuccessfully. ten. Despite all that, the European Union always has been Since the 1950s Western Europe has also become used and still is a liberal-democratic project. Unfortunately, to the Franco-German axis. If Paris and Berlin agree on it has turned into a defensive project in which liberal something, then the EU moves forward with it. democracy is only being defended and sometimes even imposed. It’s the latter that irks the Visegrad countries. If they don’t, then nothing happens. The Benelux usually plays the role of launching ideas and trying to conImposing values is not the way forward. If the European vince the two big sister countries. liberal-democratic project wants to become attractive again, it will have to come with new ideas. Putting all Many new EU member states, however, see the Franhope on the classic Franco-German axis is a recipe for co-German axis as a central power from which they are failure. too easily excluded. It’s time for a new understanding between Eastern and Brexit exacerbates these perceptions, which is why BerWestern Europe and for a new dialogue, which takes lin, Paris, and the other “old European” member states into account where the psychology of each country is should try and incorporate the Visegrad Four (which coming from. Only then will Europe be able to move consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and forward again. Slovakia) into projects and ideas about the EU’s future. If they don’t, Europe’s East will grow even more apart from Europe’s West. When we see the political evolution *Koert Debeuf towards illiberal tendencies in Eastern Europe, there are is director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Europe & already enough reasons to be very worried. former advisor, speechwriter, and spokesperson of the prime minister of
These include the militarisation of societies. In the
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The next economic crisis could cause a global conflict. Here's why The next economic crisis is closer than you think. But what you should really worry about is what comes after: in the current social, political, and technological landscape, a prolonged economic crisis could well escalate into a major global military conflict by Qian Liu*
he response to the 2008 economic crisis has relied far too much on monetary stimulus, in the form of quantitative easing and near-zero (or even negative) interest rates, and included far too little structural reform. This means that the next crisis could come soon â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and pave the way for a large-scale military conflict. The next economic crisis is closer than you think. But what you should really worry about is what comes after: in the current social, political, and technological landscape, a prolonged economic crisis, combined with rising income inequality, could well escalate into a major global military conflict. The 2008-09 global financial
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crisis almost bankrupted governments and caused systemic collapse. Policymakers managed to pull the global economy back from the brink, using massive monetary stimulus, including quantitative easing and near-zero (or even negative) interest rates. But monetary stimulus is like an adrenaline shot to jump-start an arrested heart; it can revive the patient, but it does nothing to cure the disease. Treating a sick economy requires structural reforms, which can cover everything from financial and labor markets to tax systems, fertility patterns, and education policies. Policymakers have utterly failed to pursue such reforms,
despite promising to do so. Instead, they have remained preoccupied with politics. From Italy to Germany, forming and sustaining governments now seems to take more time than actual governing. And Greece, for example, has relied on money from international creditors to keep its head (barely) above water, rather than genuinely reforming its pension system or improving its business environment. The lack of structural reform has meant that the unprecedented excess liquidity that central banks injected into their economies was not allocated to its most efficient uses. Instead, it raised global asset prices to levels even higher than those prevailing before 2008. In the United States, housing prices are now 8% higher than they were at the peak of the property bubble in 2006, according to the property website Zillow. The price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio, which measures whether stock-market prices are within a reasonable range, is now higher than it was both in 2008 and at the start of the Great Depression in 1929. As monetary tightening reveals the vulnerabilities in the real economy, the collapse of asset-price bubbles will trigger another economic crisis – one that could be even more severe than the last, because we have built up a tolerance to our strongest macroeconomic medications. A decade of regular adrenaline shots, in the form of ultra-low interest rates and unconventional monetary policies, has severely depleted their power to stabilise and stimulate the economy.
titude of factors; there is no standard path to war. But there is reason to believe that high levels of inequality can play a significant role in stoking conflict. According to research by the economist Thomas Piketty, a spike in income inequality is often followed by a great crisis. Income inequality then declines for a while, before rising again, until a new peak – and a new disaster. Though causality has yet to be proven, given the limited number of data points, this correlation should not be taken lightly, especially with wealth and income inequality at historically high levels. This is all the more worrying in view of the numerous other factors stoking social unrest and diplomatic tension, including technological disruption, a record-breaking migration crisis, anxiety over globalization, political polarisation, and rising nationalism. All are symptoms of failed policies that could turn out to be trigger points for a future crisis.
Voters have good reason to be frustrated, but the emotionally appealing populists to whom they are increasingly giving their support are offering ill-advised solutions that will only make matters The next economic crisis is worse. For example, despite closer than you think. But the world’s unprecedented what you should really interconnectedness, multilatworry about is what comes eralism is increasingly being after: in the current social, eschewed, as countries – most notably, Donald Trump’s US political, and technological – pursue unilateral, isolationlandscape, a prolonged ist policies. Meanwhile, proxy economic crisis, combined wars are raging in Syria and with rising income Yemen.
inequality, could well escalate into a major global military conflict.
If history is any guide, the consequences of this mistake could extend far beyond the economy. According to Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman, prolonged periods of economic distress have been characterized also by public antipathy toward minority groups or foreign countries – attitudes that can help to fuel unrest, terrorism, or even war. For example, during the Great Depression, US President Herbert Hoover signed the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, intended to protect American workers and farmers from foreign competition. In the subsequent five years, global trade shrank by two-thirds. Within a decade, World War II had begun. To be sure, WWII, like World War I, was caused by a mul-
Against this background, we must take seriously the possibility that the next economic crisis could lead to a largescale military confrontation. By the logic of the political scientist Samuel Huntington, considering such a scenario could help us avoid it, because it would force us to take action. In this case, the key will be for policymakers to pursue the structural reforms that they have long promised, while replacing finger-pointing and antagonism with a sensible and respectful global dialogue. The alternative may well be global conflagration.
*Qian Liu is Associate Professor, Institute of Anthropology, Renmin University of China ** first published in weforum.org
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“EUROCHAMBRES members still confident in economy but less so than last year…” by N. Peter Kramer
BR MET EUROCHAMBRES PRESIDENT DR CHRISTOPH LEITL IN HIS BRUSSELS OFFICE. MR LEITL HAS HAD AN INTENSE FIRST YEAR OF PRESIDENCY, WITH MANY TRIPS ACROSS EUROPE, ASIA AND ARGENTINA, WHERE HE PARTICIPATED IN THE B20 SUMMIT WHICH GAVE THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE G20 SUMMIT OF 30 NOVEMBER AND 1 DECEMBER. UPON OUR REQUEST, HE SHOWED A CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM ABOUT THE RESULTS OF THE G20, WHILST ALSO CLEARLY POINTING TO THE ALARMING ECONOMIC SITUATION AT THE MOMENT AFTER FIVE YEARS OF RECOVERY. The result of the 26th annual survey among the 45.000 EUROCHAMBRES members in 26 countries again showed general confidence in the current economic situation but this confidence has decreased when compared with 2017. ‘That doesn’t surprise me’, says President Leitl. ‘Look at political conflicts like with Russia; with an economic boycott, which is not only seriously bad for Russia but also for many important sectors on the EU side’. EUROPEAN VALUES Christoph Leitl is a European through and through. He is worrying about the more and more nationalistic approach by governments in many countries. Not only US President Trump, who Dr Leitl calls ‘a real businessman’; but especially across a growing number of EU member states. ‘This is not only weakening European integration within Europe; if the EU wants to play a role in the world, it has to cooperate strongly’. As a positive example he mentions Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to President Donald Trump to soften the announced US import restrictions for European cars. Several times during our talk, Dr Leitl refers to the European values. ‘These make us different from for instance a world power such as China. In Europe, democracy is a principle and is non- negotiable. Although also here this principle is under severe strain, nationalism, populism and protectionism are not the right answer. Europeans
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don’t understand always what their leaders do. Look at migration, a huge problem, a European solution seems not possible. Communication fails too often…. ‘ BUSINESS AND POLITICS Obviously with 100% respect for the primacy of politics, President Leitl has his view on the position of the business world. ‘Business is not making war’, he says. ‘Business is a necessity for a healthy society, it benefits people. Too often when talking about business, it is about big business and SME’s are forgotten. But SME’s in Europe offer more employment in total than does big entreprise. And most of the time, SME’s are close to people. It would be good if politicians paid more attention to that.’ Dr Leitl is a strong believer in the future of the circular economy. ‘I have seen it in practice, in China. In Europe, in many places where consumers take the initiative for it. It is time that more politicians and political parties are taking it seriously too’.
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Weber at EBR: Europe is not about budgets but most of all about people After taking over the chairmanship of the EPP Group in the European Parliament in 2014 and gaining precious first-hand experience in dealing with some of the EU’s major issues, Manfred Weberwas elected as Spitzenkandidat for the top office. As the campaign for the European Commission leadership is heating up, he talks in an exclusive interview at EBR about his political priorities and the future of Europe. by Eirini Sotiropoulou EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW:WHAT IS THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF YOUR CAMPAIGN AND YOUR PARTY’S KEY PRIORITIES ON THE NEXT DAY OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS? Manfred Weber: My priority will be to bring closer to the people. Too often, people feel that their concerns are not taken into account, that Brussels is governed by technocrats and elites. I want to change that. I want people to feel that Europe is their home and that they are at the core of the European project. We in the European People’s Party will present our project for the future of Europe in Spring 2019. I will make sure this campaign is truly European-wide. I want to identify a few topics for the campaign which all the EPP -member parties will use as priorities during their campaigns for the European elections. People need to know in advance what the men and women they vote for will do if they get elected. For example, I will say very clearly that if I become the President of the European Commission, I will put an end to the negotiations on the EU enlargement with Turkey.
M.W.: Reaching out to young Europeans and convincing them to contribute to the European project, to shape it, is key for the future of our continent. This will be a key aspect of my campaign. Too often, young people do not feel that their views matter, that decisions are made without them. I want to change that. As the Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament I have been fighting for the DiscoverEU project, which aims at giving 18 year-old Europeans a free Interrail ticket to travel throughout Europe. I will continue fighting for it, to ex. My goal is that some day, every 18 year-old European will receive a free Interrail ticket and will be able to discover the beauty and diversity of our continent. But more generally I want to give younger voters a positive message about all the opportunities that Europe creates for them. My priority will be to create the right environment for jobs and growth - and to fight youth unemployment in particular. In all 27 Member States, young Europeans should also hear the concerns of the young British, who voted against Brexit and feel now that their future is being taken away from them.
On migration also, our priority will be to make sure that the European Union’s external borders are safe. We need to know who is entering our continent. Only then can we grant asylum to those who really need our help.
EBR: HOW DO YOU SEE THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS AFTER THE TRADE CONFLICT WITH THE USA? IS THERE ANY SCOPE OF COOPERATION FROM NOW ON?
EBR: RECENT POLLS HAVE INDICATED THAT NOT ONLY PRO-EU SENTIMENT IS GROWING, BUT ALSO THAT THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS REMAIN MORE RELUCTANT TO PARTICIPATE. WHAT TYPE OF STRATEGY COULD EUROPE EMPLOY IN ORDER TO ATTRACT THE YOUNGER VOTERS?
M.W.:Europe does not want a trade conflict. We believe in a fair trade regime from which everybody is benefitting. We have tried everything to make dialogue and mutual understanding prevail. If President Trump decides to treat Europe as an enemy, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, European jobs, European interests. This will have consequences for the
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American people too. In a trade conflict there are only losers. At the same time, this new situation has to be a wakeup call for us Europeans: with the US isolating itself, we Europeans should be the bridge-builders and reliable partners towards the rest of the world. Europe has to act with a clear message, united, calm and proportionate. I do hope however that transatlantic relations can improve again. EBR: WHAT WILL BE YOUR POSITION ON IMMIGRATION AND THE FUTURE OF SCHENGEN? M.W.:As I said, our priority will be to make sure that
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the European Unionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s external borders are safe. We need to know who is entering our continent. Only then can we grant asylum to those who really need our help. That being said, we cannot let Greece or Italy carry the burden of the migration crisis alone. There needs to be some kind of solidarity between the Member States in dealing with the migrants. Solidarity is not a one-way street and every Member State should contribute to the effort. Now it is urgent to find a European solution to the migration crisis in the next months. The options are on the table. I am calling on all Member States to contribute to finding a solution. EBR: VARIOUS ANALYSTS HAVE WARNED ABOUT A POSSIBLE GERMANISATION OF EU-
ROPE, ARGUING THAT IF THE NEW HEAD OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IS A GERMAN, THEN THE GENERAL BIAS IS ONCE AGAIN CONFIRMED- NAMELY THAT THE EU IS A GERMAN ENTITY. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS? Μ.W.:First of all the European Commission should be, and is, a representation of all Member States.All Member States are equal in front of the Treaties in Europe. Also politically, it would be wrong for one country or the other to become too dominant. I believe we are still healing some of the wounds of the economic crisis, also between Germany and Greece. Things were said and done, mistakes were made on both sides, and the coming years will be about overcoming the wounds of the past. Also, I have the idea thata country like France, hasbeen more absent the last decade. So, even if I don’t always agree with President Macron, I do welcome the European engagement of his presidency. Only with active Member States do we maintain a balance between countries in Europe. But let me be clear, my Commission will never be a Commission of big and small countries, or of first class and second class citizens, we are all Europeans.
EBR: DURING HIS ANNUAL STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, MR. JUNCKER STRESSED THAT GREECE HAS SUCCEEDED IN CONCLUDING THE STABILITY PROGRAM AND CAN STAND ON ITS OWN FEET AFTER A DEEP RECESSION. IS GREECE'S ECONOMIC CRISIS REALLY OVER AND WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR GROWTH IN THE EURO AREA IN GENERAL? M.W.:Greece exited the third bailout program this summer. I welcome this development because I know very well that the efforts of the Greek people were immense and it is important to say that they were not in vain. But it is also important to recognise that although thirteen million jobs were created in Europe since the crisis, Greece has not benefited fully in this respect.
Stopping populism also means that we need to listen better to the concerns of citizens and give them a real say in the future. That’s is why it is important to give people a voice in choosing the next Commission President.
EBR: WITHOUT A DOUBT, EUROSCEPTICISM, POPULISM AND NATIONALISM ARE ON THE RISE. WHAT FURTHER STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ORDER TO BRIDGE THE “DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT”? M.W.:To start with, we need to show that Europe is ready to protect our European way of life in a globalized world. For me that also means protecting people from poverty and injustice. We should show Greek citizens that Europe is not only about budgets, but most of all about people. I understand the frustration of many people in Greece that they haven’t seen the human face of the EU in recent years. I want to change that. Stopping populism also means that we need to listen better to the concerns of citizens and give them a real say in the future. That’s is why it is important to give people a voice in choosing the next Commission President. If you vote for NeaDemokratia at the European elections, you will also support me to lead the next European Commission.
Moreover, let us not forget that Greece still does not enjoy access to markets. Thus, there is much work that still needs to be done. Our work is not finished yet. There have certainly been mistakes on both sides, but looking forward, I am confident that a new government under the leadership of Kyriakos Mitsotakis will do what it takes to attract investment and bring back Greece on the pathway of growth and sustainable development.
EBR: YOU ARE A EUROPEAN LEADER IN ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL INSTITUTIONS. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL WISH FOR THE 23RD -26TH MAY 2019? M.W.:The coming weeks and months, I will be travelling through Europe to listen to people, to hear their concerns and their ideas on the future of Europe. What I wish for is that people around Europe really take this opportunity to decide about the direction of Europe, to go vote. I want an ambitious Europe, that gives people hope and optimism, and I will do everything I together with Kyriakos Mitsotakis and NeaDemokratia to give Greece a new hopeful perspective for the future.
*Eirini Sotiropoulou is a Journalist at European Business Review & Euractiv Greece. She holds a M.A degree (Hons) in Political Communication &M.A (Hons) in International Relations and Strategic Studies.
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Never mind Europe's ageing, the EU should focus instead on the impoverished young The European Union has rightly been chided for failing to develop a strategy on ageing, but where it has really fallen down is on younger people by Giles Merritt*
t is they who will be asked to shoulder the huge costs of more migration and of disruptive changes to Europe's labour markets. Yet they are an impoverished generation. We need imaginative responses to the intergenerational divide, but there's no sign of these on the EU policy agenda. The widening wealth gap between younger and older Europeans is an invisible crisis with far-reaching implications that can only be addressed effectively if national policymakers act in concert. The European Commission hasn't been making much of this. It produced a report in 2015 on ageing that emphasised
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the already well-known fact that by 2040 there will be only two working age Europeans for every pensioner â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the present ratio is just under 4:1 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but since then, silence. The fact of Europe's ageing is widely recognised, even if its full impact seems little understood. Even less attention is paid to the other side of the coin â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the disadvantages younger people are having to contend with, and the way these are growing. At the start of this century the under-24s seemed all set to do better economically than their parents. No longer. The age-old 'convection' of assets from parents to children has been dislocated. Greater longevity means sav-
ings are no longer being smoothly transferred to inheritors. On top of that, the shift in the 1960s toward smaller families means that today's millennials will be outnumbered for the foreseeable future as a voting bloc.
free Interrail passes for teenagers, there has been nothing to address the yawning intergenerational gap. Most state-run pension schemes in Europe are headed for bankruptcy. Young couples increasingly cannot afford home ownership. Under-40s in the EU pay on average four times more in taxes than over-65s and receive four times less in benefits.
The IMF drew a gloomy picture when it looked at the financial prospects of younger people. The under-34year-olds have less than 5% of net wealth in Europe, and only a tenth of the median wealth of the over-65s. Older people are hanging on longer to homes and pensions, while The widening wealth gap the young face high barriers to jobs and housing. between younger and older This underlines the need for a much more cohesive Europe-wide approach to taxation and benefits systems. The goal should be to reduce the handicaps on younger generations through a cultural and political revolution. Europe's national governments won't make much progress towards these reforms without pushing for a global re-think on inter-generational imbalances.
Europeans is an invisible crisis with far-reaching implications that can only be addressed effectively if national policymakers act in concert. The European Commission hasn't been making much of this.
The under-30s account for about a quarter of the global population and rising. They already suffer unfairly high unemployment levels, and these will increase over the next decade with another billion young job seekers. Meanwhile, digitalisation, the gig economy and under-development in poorer countries will be creating veritable armies of dissatisfied and jobless people. The focus on Europe's ageing has seen shifts in spending towards healthcare and pensions. Other than the EU's trumpeting of 'youth policies' like Erasmus exchanges for university students and some
Without wage subsidies to boost their take-home pay they can't afford a private pension arrangement, and they certainly can't afford large enough families to head-off demographic disaster. It's not too late to resolve these problems. Europeans need to embark on root-andbranch reforms, and to avoid beggar-thy-neighbour low tax competition they must do so at an EU level.
As well as easing the burdens on younger people they must introduce common-sense measures like placing the heaviest taxes on city centre land values rather than the buildings on them, and on the investors in companies that have become so adept in tax avoidance. The young are arguably their own worst enemies; they find it hard to think ahead. That doesn't mean they should be penalised. EU and national policies should aim to redress the imbalances in wealth and opportunities that are handicapping their futures.
*Giles Merritt Founder and Chairman of Friends of Europe
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Could the U.S. sanctions on Iran bring a regime change? by Hans Izaak Kriek*
onald Trump’s reintroduction of sanctions on Iran, overwhelming deplored by the international community except for Israel and a Saudi-led-bloc, has now come into force making the world, in many ways, a more uncertain and dangerous place, Tehran marked the fateful day with air defence drills and military manoeuvres with President Hassan Rouhani saying, “We are in a war situation.” An armed conflict is not about to break out, but the punitive US measures can certainly be seen as a declaration of economic war against his country. “We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win,” Rouhani stated. Trump has been called a bully and far worse many times. It is, however, unclear who will emerge as the winner from this bitter confrontation. There is the possibility that in Iran President Rouhani and his reformist government are among the casualties, with the hardliners and conservative clerics emerging as winners. REGIME CHANGE IN IRAN? The constant charge those of us covering the last parliamentary and presidential elections in Iran heard from
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the hardliners was that the west, and especially the US, could not be trusted. The Rouhani administration, ran the accusatory narrative, betrayed national security by curtailing the nuclear programme in return for empty promises. As the economic situation in Iran continues to deteriorate, there is every chance that popular unrest, which has already been in evidence, will grow, strengthening the hand of the reactionary factions as the next elections come. Some of Trump’s close allies, such as national security adviser John Bolton and personal lawyer Rudi Giuliani, have talked of wanting regime change in Iran. There is a possibility they will achieve this – ushering in a leadership that will sweep back reforms and be implacably hostile to the west. Trump has vowed to “hurt” Iran “badly” with the sanctions and they will certainly damage the economy. More than 700 banks, shipping companies, oil exporters, transport firms and individuals are now on the sanctions list. Despite US claims that the measures are aimed at Iran’s government rather than the people, it is ordinary citizens who are likely to suffer first with vital necessities being affected. EUROPE HAS NO POWER TO DO SOMETHING
Western European governments have so far failed to persuade the Trump administration to offer specific exemptions for food and medicine from the new punitive measures. Humanitarian supplies are supposed to be exempt, but foreign companies and banks were so apprehensive of American financial penalties during the sanctions imposed before the 2015 nuclear deal that supplies dried up, causing severe shortages. A European initiative aimed at bypassing U.S. sanctions on Iran is unlikely to meaningfully help the Islamic Republic, according to John Bolton. “We think the government is under real pressure and it’s our intention to squeeze them very hard,” Bolton told media, expressing confidence that Washington’s latest measures against Iran would put significantly pressure on its economy. “As the British say, squeeze them until the pipes squeak. The position of some European governments is different from the position of their businesses," he said, suggesting that European firms were unlikely to do business with the Islamic state even if the initiative was introduced. The initiative, known as a "special purpose vehicle", aims to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports and imports despite sanctions by the U.S. The bulk of European companies have more commercial links with the U.S. than with Iran, and it remains unclear how much impact the special purpose vehicle would have. Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the US, who has been to the state department along with his British and German colleagues to ask for exemptions, said: “The fact is that banks are so terrified of sanctions that they don’t want to do anything with Iran. It means that in a few months there will be a shortage of medicine in Iran if we don’t do something positive.” WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER IRAN’S ELECTIONS 2019?
The Trump administration’s aim is reduce Iran’s oil sales, the main source of revenue, to zero. But that will mean a global increase in the price of oil which will hurt American industry and hit American drivers at the petrol pumps. Washington has asked other oil-producing states, principally Saudi Arabia – one of the instigators behind the reimposition of sanctions – to increase production. At the same time, it has agreed to a waiver from penalties of around six months for some of its allies that import Iranian oil including India, Turkey, South Korea and Japan, as well as China. These states are among the top eight consumers of Iranian oil, so there is unlikely to be an immediate dramatic dip in sales. The other signatories to the nuclear deal, the JGPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Britain, France Germany, Russia and China, have repeatedly stressed that Tehran was fulfilling its obligations, as has the UN’s International Atomic Energy Authority. But there was a little illusion in Iran that sanctions weren’t coming. The malign shadow of Trump has loomed large over the country in recent years. The parliamentary elections in 2016, with overwhelming victory for the reformists, began to shine light into a closed society, with people looking forward to rejoining the outside world. This continued with the election of President Rouhani the next year. He already has warned Iranians they face hard times when new U.S. sanctions take effect but said the government would do its best to alleviate them. It’s interesting to see what will happen next year, how hard will renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran hits the Iranian people? *Hans Izaak Kriek International political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media
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Dr. George Patoulis: "Economy and the ability of Banks to finance Greek Business" by EBR AS THE PRESIDENT OF CENTRAL UNION OF MUNICIPALITIES OF GREECE (KEDE) YOU KNOW BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE THE CURRENT PROBLEMS OF THE GREEK ECONOMY. WHAT ARE THE MAIN DISADVANTAGES OF THE GREEK ECONOMY? IS ACTUALLY GREECE OUT OF THE RECESSION?
should focus on the major issue of non-performing loans in order to achieve the targets set by the Bank of Greece that would lead to their immediate reduction in the forthcoming period. In addition, banks should proceed to a wide-range restructuring of non-performing mortgage loans and NPLs of SME loans through a reduction in interest rates, an increase in the grace period and an extension of the repayment term. On special occasions and As evidenced by the progress achieved over the last if all of the aforementioned measures do not yield the eight years and the observed slow recovery in economic desired outcome, then banks could apply a «haircut» to a activity since 2017, the path portion of the principal amount of the economy towards a of these problem loans, rendernew, extrovert growth model ing them as performing. At the has already begun. However, same time, banks should be as a result of the crisis, some “permitted” to undertake real There is no doubt that medium-term challenges estate auctions as well as aucGreece should adopt a more have emerged that need to be tions of businesses on a limited growth-friendly fiscal mix tackled in time to strengthen scale, in cases where there is the positive prospects of the significant evidence that their as high tax rates are a Greek economy. These chalowners/holders are “strategic disincentive to jobs and new lenges are: the fiscal mix, the defaulters”. This measure will investment Moreover, the level of high long-term unemployact as a means of pressure in unemployment in Greece is still ment, the collapse of investthe latter case and it will withtoo high and in particular the ment and the large stock of hold the upward trend of the non-performing loans (NPLs) delinquencies, while concuryouth unemployment rate. in the Greek banking system. rently freeing up funds that can be diverted to the real There is no doubt that economy. Greece should adopt a more growth-friendly fiscal mix as high tax rates are a disHence, Greece is technically out of the recession but we incentive to jobs and new investment. Moreover, the are still need to do a lot of work for attaining a sustainlevel of unemployment in Greece is still too high and in able growth rate in the coming years. particular the youth unemployment rate. Additionally, it is damn necessary the privatization program to be HOW IMPORTANT IS THE GREEK BANKS TO accelerated accompanied by foreign direct investments. BE ABLE TO PROVIDE LIQUIDITY TO HOUSEFurthermore, the recovery of the Greek economy and the HOLDS AND SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED achievement of sustainable economic growth require a ENTERPRISES(SMES)FOR ACHIEVING A SUShealthy, functional and viable banking system. Nowhere TAINABLE GROWTH RATE? HOW CAN WE ACin the world could sustainable growth be observed if the COMPLISH IT? financial system did not function properly, its key role being the provision of liquidity from those who have Given that bank financing is traditionally a major surpluses (depositors and investors) to the real economy source of funding for Greek businesses (especially for that displays a lack of funds (businesses and households) small and medium-sized enterprises), addressing the through the channel of credit growth. Hence, banks problem of high non-performing loans will significantly
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improve the financing conditions of the Greek economy and contribute to sustainable growth through productive investment, which declined significantly during the crisis.However, in the new era it is imperative for bank to diversify their clientele to the more dynamic sectors of the Greek economy such as Tourism and more particular the Health Tourism. Moreover, banks should target any new lending to those SMEs that are dynamic in the area of new technologies;they promote growth through the use of qualified staff, which do not require significant investment in fixed assets but rather in working capital. Banks, of course could continue to target the high value-added business segments (i.e. tourism, infrastructure, etc.) whereby the profit margin has been traditionally high.
capital movements (capital controls).Undoubtedly, the restrictions on capital movements significantly hamper the real economy. Additionally, to the extent that capital controls are maintained (even if the economy is not anymore in the recession), the lack of liquidity that mainly affects SMEs in Greece will continue to exist. At the same time, it will adversely affect the confidence of depositors and investors in the Greek banking system and the growth prospects of the Greek economy. Consequently, capital controls should be fully lifted as soon as possible.
AS PART OF A “TRANSFORMATION OF THE GREEK FINANCIAL SECTOR,” THE GOVERNMENT PLEDGED TO SET UP COOPERATIVE BANKS THAT WILL OPERATE AT A REGIONAL LEVEL TO FINANCE SMES AND LOCAL BUSINESSES. To attract the country foreign direct WHAT PROGRESS investment, priority should be given HAS BEEN MADE IN REGARDS TO THIS? to removing major disincentives
Despite the fact that loan growth is impeded by the restructuring of their loan portfolios with an emphasis on tackling NPEs, banks could still magnify lending through co-operation with other such as bureaucracy, ambiguity and European Institutions, i.e. Without a doubt the coinstability of the legislative and with the European Investoperative banks couldregulatory framework, unpredictable ment Bank (EIB). So far, have an significant role tax system, incomplete protection agreements have been for financing the local launched already that communities and the of property rights, delays in judicial have provided liquidity to SMEs; although, coopersettlement’s differences and of the real economy through ative banks cannot have course restrictions on capital the banking lending chanthe protagonistic role movements (capital controls). nel, while much of the in Greece, but a suppleuse of the agreements mentary role instead. with the European Bank According to the Central for Reconstruction and bank of Greece, the Greek Development (EBRD) and banking sector has a very the “Juncker” package has already been channelled into high degree of consolidation, with emphasis (mainly) small and medium-sized businesses. Such initiatives on urban centres. Hence, it isnecessary to support the should continue in the future. cooperative banking model(which is mainly focusing on customer-based concept). Although, no significant progIS GREECE READY TO ATTRACT FOREIGN DIress has been made regarding the aforementioned plan, RECT INVESTMENTS? even there is increasing willingness from both the Greek Government and the Bank of Greece to support such an Foreign direct investments have been falling since initiative. In addition, the Greek administration has anthe beginning of the crisis. In order to reverse this, a nounced (since summer 2017) that a Hellenic Developmore aggressive policy of attracting foreign direct inment Bank wouldbe inaugurated in such a project (with vestment strategies is needed. This need becomes even the aim to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises) more urgent if we consider that domestic private savin order the economic recovery to be accelerated; again, ings have fallen sharply during the crisis from 15.3% no significant progress made on this issue. of GDP in 2007 to 3.8% in 2017. To attract the country foreign direct investment, priority should be given to removing major disincentives such as bureaucracy, George Patoulis ambiguity and instability of the legislative and regis Mayor of Amaroussion, President of Central Union of Municipalities ulatory framework, unpredictable tax system, incomof Greece & President of the Medical Association of Athens. He runs as plete protection of property rights, delays in judicial candidate for the forthcoming Regional elections in Greece (May 2019). settlement’s differences and of course restrictions on
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World faces economic slowdown, spiralling conflicts in 2019 by Martin Banks*
he world faces major crises in 2019 with escalation of military-political confrontation and trade wars, humanitarian tragedies and environmental disasters, according to a study by 30 top global experts. The study, “Global Risks for Eurasia in 2019”, was presented as part of the fourth annual meeting of the Astana Club, an international discussion forum, on November 12 and 13. Prepared by the team of experts of Institute of World Economics and Politics headed by its director YerzhanSaltybayev, the study was based on the opinions expressed by more than 30 global experts and politicians, including several former heads of states and Nobel laureates. More than 1,000 experts from 60 countries also provided an input.
former members of the U.S. Congress. Its study pinpoints the top 10 global risks for Eurasia in 2019 as being: Escalation of the confrontation between China and the US; full-scale expansion of trade wars; the Great War in the Middle East; further degradation of relations between Russia and the West; “defrosting” of hotspots in Eurasia; growth of separatism and ethno-confessional conflicts and intensification of environmental and water challenges.Strengthening and evolution of cyber threats; the beginning of a new arms race and risk of major nuclear and technological disasters complete the list.
The study authors include Robert Kaplan, senior advisor at Eurasia group, Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Mathew Burrows, director of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Foresight Initiative.
The majority of the experts who participated in the project warn of the world’s increasing vulnerability to global risks, as a result of fresh tension in the Middle East, crises over Iran and Ukraine, trouble brewing in the South China Sea, and sanctions against Russia. The growth of protectionism is another trend that will continue in 2019.
The Astana Club is a global issues dialogue platform and has partnerships with international think tanks. Club participants include scholars, businesspersons and
The two most serious risks are associated with two areas of confrontation between the US and China. The first is in the military-political environment – involving mu-
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tual distrust and growing competition for dominance in Asia. The US will strengthen its policy of containing China, strengthening the anti-Chinese consensus in the Asia-Pacific region. This, assert the experts, will provoke a response from China, which will seek to counteract the pressure.
grow into cyberwar, with power plants and grids, military-industrial complexes, and electronic networks coming under attack. Losses from the actions of cybercriminals are growing dynamically and nearing 1% of world GDP. A return to the arms race is another risk created by the critical decline in confidence among the great powers.
The second area relates to the trade war between the two giants which started in mid-2018. Tariff restricThe findings were presented at the plenary session of tions are sure to be extended, resulting in a slowdown the Astana Club, addressed by Kazakhstan President in both countries’ economies. The effect of protective Nursultan Nazarbayev who proposed a number of meameasures “overflowing” to sures to mitigate these risks, other markets may be seen as such as the establishment of a result also. A slowdown in a dialogue platform between global trade and investment the leading world powers (the The consequences of the US will be caused by trade reUS, China, Russia, and the Euwithdrawal from a nuclear strictions around the world. ropean Union). He suggested deal with Iran could trigger a using the Astana platform to large-scale war in the The consequences of the US conduct such negotiations. withdrawal from a nuclear Middle East. In 2019, it says deal with Iran could trigger a He favours forming a collecrelations between Russia large-scale war in the Middle tive security organization in and the West will continue to East. In 2019, it says relations Asia on the lines of the existdeteriorate. Pressure on between Russia and the West ing CICA (Conference on InterMoscow may be intensified by will continue to deteriorate. action and Confidence Buildsanctions: the next targets may be Pressure on Moscow may be ing Measures in Asia). This intensified by sanctions: the organization together with the the largest Russian banks, whose next targets may be the largOSCE (Organization for Securidollar assets may be frozen. est Russian banks, whose dolty and Cooperation in Europe) lar assets may be frozen. could work out a security zone throughout the Eurasian subThe “defrosting” of Eurasia's continent, he said. “It is expehotspots – the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Nadient to hold a conference in Astana devoted to security gorno-Karabakh and Afghanistan – could exacerbate in Eurasia. And this can be done on the basis of our relations between the great and regional powers. Astana Club,” he suggested. There is a high risk of a fresh round of violence between Sunni and Shiite groups in the Middle East, and in the near future many thousands of refugees, especially Rohingya Muslims, are at risk of a humanitarian crisis. The study predicts that geopolitical confrontation will
*Martin Banks is a Brussels based independent journalist, expert on European and global politics. He is publishing regularly in European Business Review.
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EU- Taiwan: Launching a new era of Strategic Partnership Albert Einstein once said that «Every kind of peaceful cooperation is primarily based on mutual trust among men and secondarily on institutions». This quote could precisely reflect the strong relations among European Union and Taiwan in the contemporary political reality. by Eirini Sotiropoulou*
he mutual benefits resulting from the Bilateral Investment Agreement (ΒΙΑ) and the insurmountable contribution of Taiwan to the economic growth of the EU were the main issues of the roundtable discussion organised by EBR and the Taipei Representative Office in Greece which was held at the European Parliament Information Office in Greece. It is an undeniable fact that in a multipolar world order the EU needs to form -and reinforce the current- strategic partnerships in order to confront a crucial agenda related to climate change, sustainable development and energy security, migration, violent extremism, governance and human rights, education, culture, conflicts and new forms of hybrid warfare. In times of rising economic nationalism and protectionism, both partners have the common interest in an open, free and fair rules-based international trading system as the best way to foster innovation, boost economic growth and increase the wellbeing of their peoples. In his remarks, the Representative of Taiwan in Greece, Ambassador Sherman S. Kuo, stressed: «We are optimistic that both EU and Taiwan are trying hard to complete the preparatory phase before conducting an impact assessment and then start negotiation». On his part the Member of the Greek Parliament, Mr. Spyros Danellis, characterised Taiwan as «a miraculous country» of paramount strategic importance. «It has the world's 19th largest GDP based on its purchasing power and constitutes a technology leader with developmental research structures». TRADE: A CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH & INNOVATIVE BUSINESSES The EU and Taiwan enjoy a dynamic economic and trade relationship. Specifically, in 2017 Taiwan became the EU’s 16th trading partner following an increase of
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goods by 9.8%. Furthermore, the EU is Taiwan’s 5thlargest trading partner, after China, ASEAN, USA and Japan. «Despite the slow progress Taiwan has expressed its desire to start negotiations with the EU on a BIA to enhance bilateral relations via business and trade for many years», Ambassador Kuo explained. During his presentation regarding the latest economic figures and the current business climate, the Economic Director of the Representative Office of Taipei in Greece, Louis Huang, mentioned that the EU imported 13.1% more goods from Taiwan than during the previous year, with a total value of €29.5 bn, reaching a historic record -an impressive demonstration of the close economic ties between the two partners.
Among the 28 EU Member States, Germany accounts for the largest part of Taiwan’s trade with the EU (30.7% share or €15.4bn), followed by the Netherlands (17.8%, €8.9bn), United Kingdom (11.0%, €5.5bn), France (9.9%, €4.9bn), Italy (6.8%%, €3.4bn), Belgium (4.1%, €2.0bn) and Spain (3.0%%, €1.5bn) in 2017. These seven countries account together for over 80% of the bilateral trade between the EU and Taiwan.
national Chamber of Commerce (ICC-Hellas), Mr. Nikos Vernicos, emphasized ontrading activity at a global level. «ICC is strictly criticizing USA's policy as we promote free-trade investments. It is important to mention Greece constitutes one of the most significant partners for Taiwan and I’m happy to see the increase of its economy». Over the last four years, the European Economic and Trade Office has organised with its Taiwanese partners more than 22 trade-related activities to strengthen the bilateral dialogue and to share experiences. Through these exchanges, both sides have increased their mutual understanding and opened the door to align further their respective regulations with global standards in order to facilitate their bilateral trade. EU-TAIWAN AGREEMENT In 2017, Greece imports from Taiwan increased 9.9%, to 131.91 million, while exports to Taiwan increased 53.1%, to 17.95 million. Data from January to August, indicate that Greece exports to Taiwan increased 333.31%, to US$67.92 million. As far as the type of products is concerned,Taiwan has presented a strong demand for the EU’s semiconductor equipment, electronic integrated circuits, cars, pharmaceutical, aircrafts, and beverage, boosting imports by 5.4% in 2017.On the other hand, cooperation on chemical industry further boosted EU’s exports to Taiwan.
The country also imports, amongst others, acyclic hydrocarbons and petroleum.Office and telecommunication equipment was Taiwan’s most important export commodity, accounting for more than a third of the EU’s imports (38.0% or €11.2bn). At the same time, the European FDI stock takes 28.7% of all inbound investment to Taiwan. Speaking at the event, the President of the Inter-
In 2013 the European Parliament called on the European Commission to start talks for investment and trade agreements with Taiwan. The institutional body highlighted the relevance of the Asia Pacific Region for European economic interests in its new trade and investment strategy “Trade for All” published in October 2015. As part of its Asia strategy, the communication states that “the EU will explore launching negotiations on investment with […] Taiwan” to broaden its network of investment agreements in the region. The EU officially announced in September 2017 that it was preparing to launch negotiations on a Bilateral Investment Agreement with Taiwan. In May 2018 on the Annual report on the implementation of the Common Commercial Policy, the Commission has announced on more than one occasion the launch of negotiations about investment with Hong Kong and Taiwan and stressed the need to finish the preparatory work in order to formally start negotiations on investment agreements as soon as possible. In this context, the Professor of International Politics at Panteion University & Director at the Institute of International Relations, Dr. Harry Papasotiriou, focused predominantly on the geopolitical dimensions and the role of China in the region.«Taiwan is at the epicenter of one of the most important antagonists in the world. As a result, it is clearly observed a shift of the global balance of power», he noted. However, the country has managed to be emerged as a free-market based economy and multinational democracy. A Bilateral Investment Agreement between Taiwan and the EU will have important benefits for both parties, notably i) the promotion of the investment of small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU and in Taiwan,
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bringing about more job opportunities for the EU; ii) the establishment of free, transparent, and healthy market mechanism between the EU and Taiwan, which will help investors to better understand the markets of both sides; and iii) as the EU actively engages in signing agreements on economic cooperation with other Asian countries, the BIA between the EU and Taiwan will help the EU complete its strategy in Asia. «Without a doubt the West shares the same economic values and geopolitical orientations with Taiwan. Therefore, the two countries should remain geopolitically aligned», Professor Papasotiriou highlighted.«We hope that Greece will support the Taiwan-EU BIA and urge the EU to pass the political validation as soon as possible, thereby launching the public consultation and impact assessment», Mr. Huang commented.
Fostering peace, security and stability, human rights and democracy, intercultural dialogue and addressing climate change and environmental challenges, energy efficiency, business and trade, market access, resilience building, and regional integration are thus key priorities for the EU in Asia, a region in which the EU and its Member States have substantial interests. «The sooner an agreement will be reached, the sooner the two partners will be benefited from growth and creation of new job positions.In any case, the EU shouldn’t apply double standards in its policies», Mr. Danellis concluded. *Eirini Sotiropoulou is a Journalist at European Business Review & Euractiv Greece. She holds a M.A degree (Hons) in Political Communication &M.A (Hons) in International Relations and Strategic Studies.
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The work landscape in 2022 I am likely stating the obvious but it needs to be stated as often as possible – the world is changing and it is changing fast by Leena Nair*
he Fourth Industrial Revolution is blurring the lines between the real and the technological world and challenging what it means to be human.
Yet people are clearly at the heart of all organisational transformations generated by this phenomenon. We see this, both in the transformation we are driving within Unilever but also when we look outside, across and beyond our industry. All of this is affects how people will experience work, whether it’s new operating models that challenge hierarchy, new career models that allow for different experiences, a borderless workplace that allows for flexible resourcing, hyper-personalisation in the workplace or the need to close a growing skills gap through a culture of lifelong learning.
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There are, however, three things that I believe will remain an indisputable and a constant reality through all these changes and they are both grim and reassuring, depending on how you look at them. 1. An individual’s ability to earn a livelihood is changing and, in most cases, reducing. The impact of automation is redrawing the shape of all organisations. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 report suggests the human share of labour hours will drop from 71% to 58% by 2025. Machines and algorithms will increase their contribution to specific job tasks by an average of 57%. Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to a reduction of the full-time workforce by 2022.
The consumer goods industry is feeling the impact of this faster and more heavily than most other industries and Unilever is no exception. 2. The demand for human skills is not in decline. There is a net positive outlook for jobs despite significant job disruption, and human skills, as well as jobs with distinctly human traits, are still in demand. According to the Future of Jobs report, 75 million current jobs will be displaced by the shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms, but 133 million new jobs will be created as well. I have always believed that technology can be used to help define and complement the human in all of us. As such, the need to keep developing our human capital has not diminished – it can be achieved through the power of purpose, the power of lifelong learning and the ability to harness everyone’s human potential. 3. Finally, the employee-employer relationship is transforming for two reasons: We are clearly shifting to an increasingly borderless workforce in the form of the networks of people who make a living that is dependent on a specific company but work without any formal employment agreement with said company. Every company’s value chain consists not just of its own employees but millions of others including gig workers, contingent workers, partner employees and more. There is a greater need today than ever before to redefine an organisation’s systems to embrace this outer core. We are also dealing with increased human longevity which is creating new challenges of living and working that will require greater flexibility than ever before. Employees need the ability to go in and out of the traditional employee lifecycle, moving from the usual parttime and full-time arrangements to more fluid ones that allow them the flexibility of committing more sporadi-
cally while also making time for family, reskilling, the pursuit of a purpose or personal passion, and so on. When organisational strategies are juxtaposed against the above realities, it becomes clear that companies have a responsibility to address the human impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We can deliver on this responsibility by: - Committing to generating and sustaining employability across our value chain and not just the inner core, while continuing to drive our organizational transformation through the power of purpose and lifelong learning coupled with radical new ways of reskilling and redeploying talent. -Driving transparency, accountability and action in the open talent economy in the form of new labour models that take advantage of this phenomenon in a responsible and sustainable way. There is evidence that suggests a distinct lack of social safety nets in this new labour model from wages to working conditions to diversity issues, and action is needed in this space.Committing to generating and sustaining employability across our value chain and not just the inner core, while continuing to drive our organisational transformation through the power of purpose and lifelong learning coupled with radical new ways of reskilling and redeploying talent. We need to reimagine the future of work and employment by redefining the employee cycle as well as how workers help deliver our business and create a mechanism that integrates the two. This is the new social contract of work. Jobs become redundant from time to time but people do not need to. It is possible to create employment for life if we are willing to learn, unlearn and relearn our entire lives. *Leena Nair Chief Human Resources Officer at Unilever
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The puzzle of world economy & the labyrinth of EP elections The end of crisis - US: growth vs EU: forces of nationalism and populism by Alexandra Papaisidorou
his is the newest installment in our series interviewing distinguished academics and scholars. EBR conducted the interview in October 2018 in order for it to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the founding of the University of Piraeus. Answering our questions was Dr. Aristotle Tziampiris, Professor of International Relations at the University of Piraeus, Director of the MSc Program on Energy: Strategy, Law & Economics and Chair of the Department of International and European Studies. His Department is by far the most selective International Relations, International Studies and Political Science Department in Greece. The long-awaited, exclusive and fast paced interview took place at his University office. EBR asked wide-ranging questions on hot topics relating to global politics and finance, the European Union, developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the future of Greece. EU – NEVER MIND BREXIT OR TRUMP’S RE-ELECTION CHANCES, 2019 IS SHAPING TO BE THE YEAR EUROPE’S POPULISTS SHAKE THE EU TO ITS FOUNDATIONS. HOW DO YOU SEE EUROPE AFTER THE EP ELECTIONS IN MAY 2019? I am going to be a little contrarian on this and let me explain why: First, participation. Although we do not know the results, we can be absolutely certain- that participation is actually going to be very low. Of course, citizens ought to vote and I encourage everyone to do so, but not that many will. Hence, how can one reach any solid political conclusions, especially since it is often the case that it is the devoted single issue voters who tend to participate? Second, despite sharing the same name, the European Parliament is not equivalent to national Parliaments. Its powers are far more limited. In that sense, what happens there is not as consequential as what happens in key European states. And third, the European Union also has other institutions such as the European Council in what amounts to a very complicated decision making structure and that is not changing anytime soon. So even if populist forces rise, I really doubt that the upcoming European elec-
tions are going to constitute any sort of a turning point. Having said that, there is a wider trend that has to be highlighted, understood and perhaps even combated. It is, as you very correctly alluded to, the rise of populism and more generally, the rise of nationalism. This is not a phenomenon that we witness only in Europe, but also in other countries such as Brazil, the Philippines even the United States for that matter. This rise should not automatically or necessarily be equated with more extreme movements and ideologies. Nevertheless, it constitutes a historical fact characterising this part of the 21st century. I suspect that it is ultimately related to larger forces such as globalization, automation, A.I. and climate change. So there are structural, mega trends, well underway, that turn people perhaps more inward, certainly in search of change and probably against what is unfamiliar. These people are susceptible to politicians who promise (and possibly over-sell) national solutions to problems that are truly global. If this analysis is correct, although the European elections are not going to be a turning point, the forces of nationalism and populism are here to stay for the foreseeable future because they are linked to larger global developments. GREECE – GREECE FINALLY MANAGED TO EXIT THE “MEMORANDA ERA”. ARE WE BACK TO NORMAL? WHAT STEPS SHOULD STILL BE MADE IN ORDER TO AVOID A NEW UPSET? Let me put it this way: the worst for Greece is over. Things are undoubtedly improving. However, the crisis lasted too long, unnecessarily so, and it had tremendous social and economic costs: people losing their jobs, lives and dreams being destroyed, a seemingly endless brain drain. Greece paid a very heavy price, lost a quarter of its GDP and unemployment even today hovers at around 19% and is much higher for young people. But I am optimistic. Greece is turning a page, which is not to say that things have become rosy or perfect or easy. Are we back to normal? I hope not. Because a lot of the practices that led us to the crisis have to stop and will stop. People often tend to highlight the difficulties in investing or the often-cumbersome bureaucracy, but they forget
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that Greece has actually gone through a lot of reforms. Significant, far-reaching reforms have been legislated and are being implemented. Equally important, young people in Greece--and I see this every day with my students--they have a different set of expectations, they have a different set of standards, they have a different understanding of what they want. I hear them say "Oh, that practice, that is old Greece” even though we are talking about only 8 or 10 years ago. So in that sense, we are not back to normal because the people demand a society that is more meritocratic and efficient.
PORARY INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN CAN BE SEEN AS A LABORATORY WHERE THE BALANCE OF POWER AMONG GREAT POWERS AND REGIONAL STATES ARE BEING TESTED.” WHAT ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS AND PROSPECTS OF THIS SPECIAL PART OF THE WORLD? HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THE ROLE OF THE ENERGY ISSUES?
At the same time, when it comes to international relations and diplomacy, Athens is actually getting back to the old normal. At the height of the crisis, Greece was facing existential threats: Would it continue to be a member of the Eurozone and the European Union? Would the social fabric unravel? Would extremist parties become the largest? The answer to all these threats materializing turned out to be negative. During the same period, a lot of “traditional” issues for Greek foreign policy,such as the Macedonian name dispute or relations with Turkey and Albania, were mostly put on the back burner. Greece was weak, turning inward, and hardly a threat to anyone. That was not the time to address them, or for the international community to really push on any of them. Now that we are exiting the crisis, when it comes to diplomacy we are slowly witnessing the return of the old issues--with a vengeance.
In many ways, the Eastern Mediterranean has emerged as a “new” region. Not because its geography has changed--it has remained the same for eons. But rather because of a new set of issues that did not exist even a few years ago. Let me name a few of them: huge energy findings, a migration or more correctly, a huge refugee crisis and the deadly civil war still raging in Syria, that has included the use of chemical weapons, the rise (and now partial fall) of ISIS and sectarian classes by proxy. It is these issues that have given global importance to the Eastern Mediterranean and have prompted Great powers such China, Russia and the United States, as well as important regional actors such as Israel, Turkey Iran, even Saudi Arabia to refocus their attention to this part of the world. In this sense, the Eastern Mediterranean can be seen as a laboratory for Great Power and regional power antagonisms; and we have to keep in mind that the Eastern Mediterranean is where “East” meets “West”, it is a frontier area with global significance.
EAST – MED: AS REFERRED TO YOUR RECENT BOOK “DUE TO RECENT EVENTS IN CONTEM-
WORLD ECONOMY – A DECADE PASSED FROM THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS IN 2008.
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WHAT HAS AND WHAT HASN’T CHANGE? WHICH ARE THE MAIN RISKS THAT HAVE NOW EMERGED?
targeting Turkey but are a form of “insurance” towards Turkish unpredictability. In fact, one can even foresee in the future a very different Turkey partaking in them.
In retrospect, we understand that what happened in Smaller regional cooperating processes are particular2008 had wide-ranging global political and economic ly useful because a lot of the contemporary challenges repercussions. Today the United States economy shows and infrastructure projects require multi-state coopergood growth and record low unemployment rates, while ation. To give an example, for the East Med natural gas the European Union, as a whole, is also doing reasonpipeline to be built, excellent coordination and relations ably well. The crisis has clearare required between Israel, ly ended, although some of the Greece, Cyprus and Italy. political consequences, such as the rise of populism, have There is also a larger conclustayed with us. Of course, capsion here. In the past few years In many ways, the Eastern italism is a cyclical system and we have been witnessing the Mediterranean has emerged there is bound to be another rerise of smaller regional groupcession at some point. Let us ings, especially among Westas a “new” region. Not hope that it is not going to be ern oriented states. NATO rebecause its geography has as harsh or as long as the previmains paramount and it still changed--it has remained ous global one; and let us hope delivers some very important, the same for eons. But that lessons have been learned. big things. But given NATO’s rather because of a new set A few months ago I was at a unanimity requirement and conference panel with a foran increasing membership of issues that did not exist mer UK Prime Minister and there is an incentive for reeven a few years ago. he asked me what was Greece gional states to cooperate doing to prepare itself for the among themselves on more next recession? It was a wise specific and narrow issue arquestion and an even wiser apeas where mutual interests proach. We are usually fighting exist. Regions are thus going the battles of the past or busy forgetting about it when to become even more important, coming to the very we need to focus on the future. forefront of international politics in the 21st century. TURKEY – ONE OF HIS LATEST SPEECHES WAS FULL OF THE TERM ‘NEW TURKEY’ (IT WAS RECORDED TO BE REFERRED ABOUT 20 TIMES), TAYIP ERDOGAN APPEARS TO 'CLAIM VICTORY IN VOTE TO GAIN NEW POWERS' AND WE ARE ALL WITNESSED THAT THERE IS A CHANGE IN REGIME FROM COSMIC TO ISLAMIC THUS AGGRESSIVE AND OF COURSE IT GOES ALONG WITH A TURKISH BRAIN DRAIN – YOUR INSIGHT ON THAT PLEASE. I think that President Erdogan is absolutely right when he talks about a new Turkey. The question is what is new about it and in my view the new Turkey is less secular, more authoritarian and less reliable as a Western ally. This poses all sorts of challenges not only for NATO, but also for countries like Greece. As Turkey becomes a less predictable actor, other regional states have decided to cooperate more closely. Witness the two dynamic trilateral processes underway in the Eastern Mediterranean, the first involving Israel, Greece and Cyprus and the second Egypt, Greece and Cyprus. Consider the former as an axis of democracies and the latter as an axis of stability. These initiatives are not
*Dr. Aristotle Tziampiris is Professor of International Relations, Chair of the Department of International and European Studies and Director of the MSc Program in Energy: Strategy, Law & Economics at the University of Piraeus. He is also Standing Fellow at New York University's Remarque Institute, member of the Executive Academic Board of the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), Academic Advisor to the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), Academic Coordinator for the Erasmus+ "Eastern Mediterranean Regional Training Partnership" Program and Examiner for the course International Relations and Politics for the entrance examinations of the Hellenic Diplomatic Academy. Dr.Tziampiris has published a series of essays primarily on international relations and Greek foreign policy in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. His op-ed pieces have appeared in various publications and websites, including The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times and the National Interest. He holds PhD and MSc (econ) degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and is a graduate (BA) of Middlebury College.
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#ManageCompetition - A Recipe for Global Success in Strategic Competition Times Global strategic competition times demand strategic answers, actions and frameworks. Basically, we need a new, efficient, recipe to help, if not guarantee, success in the new international normal, shaping the global ecosystem and its dynamics by Radu Magdin*
he mindful Global Power Leader is “on mode” all the time, meaning information acquisition, its conveying (image), deciding what to do with it and prepare the team (initiation — i.e. training 4.0, timely for 4IR), including if there are actionable items that need fielding (influencing); last but not least, he or she also needs to act in the arena in the way most adequate for the impact sought (interaction). As you can see, this is a combination between soft and hard skills, analysis and action. In other words, to be an agent of successful change (the status quo is no longer an option) you need to know yourself and the environment well, to know what kind of change you want to produce and how to deliver it within the system. This is what the 5Is Ecosystem Path for global success in our era is all about. It’s a recipe to #managecompetition, and, the word du jour, win! It’a a disciplined while common sensical “secret sauce”, a guide for those global players wanting to apply something short and hands on, easy to memorise as a framework; it’s also a practical tool to #empowerleaders . Before getting into the details, a disclaimer: be ready to think differently and keep an open mind, old models are no longer applicable, the world order itself is unravelling and searching for reinvention. In order to have such “Bond”-like skills in your team, you need to start with empowerment. Let’s model this. The average employee or team member knows they have their set of tasks and objectives and they limit themselves to performing along those lines. And it’s not so much that they limit themselves, as that they are limited by how organisations function. A superior concept is that everyone needs to be entrepreneurial. This, of course, challenges the leadership,
the higher echelons. Yet another, more advanced concept is when every person works as if they were a partner — and no, this does not translate into ownership by the masses, because nobody thinks anymore in terms of Marxism; if anything, they think in terms of utility maximisation. And then, of course, the stance in which each one behaves like a global influencer that happens to pool together their contributions into one organisation. From this perspective, let’s re-examine what each “I” can mean: INFORMATION — an information worker is a little different than a knowledge worker. The relationship between them is of partial overlap, but whereas the information worker is more of a field agent and is more about inter-personal skills, the knowledge worker is more of an analyst. What you need, however, is a combination of both and more. Because traditionally the positions described above were about collection, processing and analysis of information, production of knowledge or insights and distribution to the higher echelons or customers. What you need on top of that are also management, strategy, cunning, timing, awareness and cross-domain expertise, so that all these skills combined make a person a strong information machine to rival an AI. When enabled with such information demi-gods, you can start talking about what kind of information your organisation gets to look at. The most strategic information is usually not offered, but perceived. Let’s break this down. You have tactical and operational information, technological and regulatory, competitive intelligence, and information about your own system and its performance. This is just the bottom of the pyramid, and yet 90% of organisations only operate at this level.
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Then, you have anticipatory intelligence — mostly obtained by mathematical and procedural methodologies and scenarios crafting. It is still an iterative modelling of potential realities and your insights outcomes can be simulated by others — so no luck there, there’s little unique about applying consecrated methodologies. The true information is that which you could liken to dark matter or love — you don’t see it, but you feel its presence. If you ever looked at some contracts being awarded and in spate of the best governance around the allocation of those contracts, you can still feel some patterns, or leaning towards some practices, then there’s probably something there. Same about the information you can perceive from the environment. After everything that is possible has already been tabled, if you have questions that cannot be answers by models and yet you can see the possibilities in your mind like if it was a start chart and all the dots connect — that’s information. So how do you get such demi-gods? Search, find and optimize: that is why the second I comes from INITIATION, which entails much more than regular or classic training. For one, search for people more skilled and smarter than yourself. Second, make sure that you craft a learning organisation in which you learn from each other. Don’t argue over the absolute or relative truth, or who is best, or the perfect precision of data. That’s just models and methodologies that can be learned and adjusted. Get enticed by the surprising and different ways each person thinks, and how and why they may perceive things differently. Incorporate that into your own way of thinking. If we are talking management, you also need “humane cut-throats”, because somebody needs to make the tough calls, table crazy strategies and objectives, daring approaches, etc. So, in a sense, every person should be able to do that. And each
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should be able to lead from the front on their own topics and areas of responsibility. How do you call an organisation in which each person aligned behind a leader is capable of taking over if the leader falls? A union of partners, maybe; for sure a learning organisation. Somewhere in there you should have an innovation (another beautiful I ! ) person — someone dedicated to telling you about Star Trek kind of developments when you are still confronted with just regular Earth things. How do you shape such people? You don’t. You can only reveal them out of the crowd and then help them become better based on a shared ambition. So your recruiting strategy should take elements from Hackathons, DefCons, ethical hacking challenges, etc. Embrace those that disturb or disrupt the way things are — incorporate and orient their disturbance or disruption to where you need it, instead of fighting it defensively. Life long learning is key, but there are few masters in disruption, and managing change by you and your team demands learning from all the niche bests. Welcome to I number 3: IMAGE. Attracting such amazing people, and also not being considered a nutcase by the environment, you will need to convey an image of serene resolution. The easiest way to have a good image is to do at least one thing as if it came from the future; it does not necessarily need to be progressive — it just needs to be taken from the “norm” of the mid-century — 2050, that is. Then, treat the rest of your activities as if they were your own family — this is a simple rule of thumb not to ruin things. Another one would be to assess how you can pull resources out of thin air — because nothing spells ‘social entrepreneurship’ more than turning junk into gold; or simply using what is plentiful — H2O, photons and magnetism; but maybe talking about perpetuum mobiles is a little early. Simple words like PR and branding are so yesterday. Strategic
positioning and messaging is the new cool, because it works: one only communicates effectively in the new age after the first two levels of the ecosystem path have been uploaded, after ticking information and initiation. Time for I number 4: INFLUENCE. Say you want to make sure something happens in a certain way. Well, the answer is “no, that’s wrong”, because the only certain thing in life is death. And sure, you can make or help a law pass, or outbid someone out of a contract, etc. But bottom line is, you create effects beyond the focus of your attention. The correct answer to this topic is that your influence needs to be flexible, it shouldn’t be about a single shot, and it should occupy all the aspects that humans can influence — resources, time, space, will-interest-attention, society, strategic threat perception. In short, everything short of natural disasters. Probably a better approach is to model (verb) everything into a wider, more complex scheme of things. Then you can start seeing how everything else can converge and influence a single thing, so instead of pouring money into a lobbying campaign, for example, you just might need to nudge it. Because, ultimately, everything is in a state of flux; and at the intersection of flexible human capital, flexible thinking, and a state of flux of the system, you are practically the embodiment of quantum entanglement. But getting back to practicalities, you need to be in a constant state of flux and connection with the system. That means, just like in the old days, meeting everyone at the local fair, or pub, or café, or club; shaking hands and blessing babies; nurturing communities, ensuring their health, safety and education are provided for. No, it’s not patriarchal; it’s you showing that you care. And, of course, the more you do this internationally, and the more you work with others, the less probable it is that someone will stand against you. Last while not least, let’s play ball, in the arena: I number 5 goes to INTERACTION(s). For the interactions, you need to count your steps and delegate. Have many people around you act like proxies for you. And on Sundays, have them over
for a family BBQ. The smartest people will always appreciate strength of character, doing what you say you will, being committed, and trying to solve problems constructively (dumb people will never forgive you — and they will hold a grudge for as long as they live). A cohort of smart strategic mini-mes is not only a pretorian guard of brand ambassadors but also good energy use. You need to remain sane and fit, global domination can be exhausting, you do not need to interact with everyone everywhere. In order to not loose your humanity and contact with reality, set aside time for family and friends and trusted people; then, try spending equal parts of your time with those who are for real — involved, committed, honest — and those who are in it just for the business. Just like in HR, you want to always have a funnel / pipeline of people to bring you fresh ideas, to remind you what is important, to care for the rest of the family when you are not there. As Eisenhower said, plans are useless but planning is indispensable. At a macro scale, every plan is a good plan — particularly if you are talking to China, the US and Europe, the sustainable (Russia does not have a successful economic model) strategic operators involved right now in great power competition. Others … might punch you in the face, but they will appreciate your honesty. The principle is the same as “operating change from within” — if you’re inside, you can either do good or bad, but if you’re on the outside, you can only do what the others will let you. Now, let us start competing in a smart sustainable way, I by I. Continue the conversation online with two dedicated hashtags for this series: #managecompetition #empowerleaders
*Radu Magdin is Strategic communications analyst and consultant. He has advised the prime ministers of Romania and Moldova
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Globalisation 4.0 must build a better world for working people by Sharan Burrow*
lobalisation is no longer assured as the world's people circle the wagons. They're looking for cover, looking for protection, getting ready to defend themselves from corporate and authoritarian power.
world wars and the Great Depression laid the foundations for shared prosperity with a commitment to full employment, social protection, and human and labour rights as a competitive floor.
The convergence of crises in our world today, including conflict, climate change, unemployment, inequality, corruption and the displacement of people, exposes the travesty of the current economic model. It has subjected people and their environment to serving the economy, instead of sharing its benefits.
This promise was never delivered in the developing world. Subsequently, the greed of dominant economic interests has, in large part, undermined the promise of globalization itself, creating a failed economic model. The breakdown of the social contract, where it existed, began in the 1980s. The inadequacy of a development model for the majority of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people has resulted in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fractured world.
Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s global risks need global solutions. But the requisite trust is tragically broken. Global shifts require just transitions. To restore trust and reform globalisation, we need to rebuild the foundations of the global economy with a new social contract. In the developed world, the contract born from the two
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A new social contract is vital for a fair competition floor. Its foundations are full employment and decent work, in a world where our dominant model of trade relies on low-wage, often unsafe work, with insecure employ-
ment contracts. Decent work is still absent in too many countries for too many people, but its underlying principles remain unchanged. These are: - Freedom of association - Minimum living wages and collective bargaining rights - Safe work - Universal social protection These principles need once again to be enshrined in a social contract. This would renew commitment to vital public services and full employment, and would require investment in jobs, beginning in sustainable infrastructure and the care economy. Unions demand that nobody be left behind, with measures to ensure a "just transition" to a low-carbon, hightech economy. These involve guaranteed pensions for older workers, income support, redeployment support and access to retraining. Lifelong learning is central, as technology impacts on workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tasks and creates a continuous need to upgrade skills. Global GDP has trebled since 1980, yet the share of wealth that people get for their work has declined. Investment in infrastructure, care work and the green economy is inadequate. Global governance should be up to the task of global reform, beginning with a new social contract. However, it still contests that 'trickle-down' economic theory, and more recently austerity, have failed. Global inequality is now an economic risk. It is caused by global trade and investment rules that have favoured finance and capital in developed economies. Global supply chains channel wealth to a handful of global corporations, while workers in those supply chains experience
low wages, and insecure and often unsafe work. A war against unions and freedom of association is being waged, and democracy is being corrupted by concentrated wealth. Too many corporations and their associations are buying or bullying legislators and executive branch officials to influence public policy, to the detriment of working people and the very foundations of a stable and sustainable future. When the vested interests of the few have been afforded preference over the interests of the great majority; when naked self-interest has been dressed up as modern economic models to justify why wealth is not being shared; when natural resources are being exploited unsustainably; when corporations and the wealthy pay little or no tax; and when there is a severe lack of resources for social protection including health and education, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear that the model must change. In addition to these challenges and the consequent vulnerability of the global economy, the potential for an even more unequal world is emerging with waves of new technology. There are major deficits in the regulatory environment for ensuring decent work through internet-mediated platforms and algorithms. There is also scant investment in new jobs to mitigate the displacement of workers in the face of the future of production. JOB ANXIETY Global polling by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) shows that the majority of people are not worried about new technology, but they are deeply anxious about their jobs. Digitalisation has given rise to new business models founded on the expectation that workers will further have to give up employment contracts and social security and forget the notion of a regular working schedule where work, family and leisure can be balanced.
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Too many digital businesses are informal, sometimes not registered, pay little or no tax in the country where profit is earned, and take no responsibility for an employment relationship. Without a social license to operate, they are effectively above the law. They operate outside of jurisdictions, and thereby disrupt key sectors including transport, health, hospitality, financial services, education and more. Workers providing services through such companies are left to pay for their social security, taxes and training on their own, all while they have no control over pricing, working conditions, safety or their personal data. They compete against each other for an irregular and unpredictable supply of work. Those who own the big platforms reap billions from this model. Traditional companies are also starting to outsource work through platforms, encouraging wage dumping and avoiding responsibilities. The huge tech companies are buying up all manner of other companies that provide products and services, flaunting labour rights, national regulatory constraints and competition policy. Unions know that technology itself is not the issue. Innovation will be successful or not on its merits. Societies will embrace the potential of scientific advances in many sectors where it is safe, such as healthcare. Unions have been involved in shaping technological change for decades. Many unions are already organizing freelance workers, building digital cooperatives, facilitating skills development and even providing services for start-up enterprises. Collective action and organising by workers, including setting floors for contract prices, remain central to building workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; power.
nobody be left behind. Every business must have a social licence to run, entailing them to register and pay tax in each country of operation, to have an employment relationship with those they depend on for work and to contribute to social protection. Equally, we expect governments to mandate due diligence for all businesses to mitigate violations of human and labour rights. There must be a regulatory environment that ensures: - Human deployment of technology - Human control of data - Human mediation - Human and labour rights to be complied with The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement provide a road-map for a zero-poverty, zero-carbon world. But with the necessary political maturity and morality missing, and a world where multi-lateralism is in crisis, conflict is growing and historic levels of people are displaced, it will take all of us to create a just Globalisation 4.0. Eighty-five percent of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s people want to see the rules of the global economy changed. To rebuild trust and restore genuine democracies in which people can be assured of rights and freedoms, this challenge must be met. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s take exploitation and corporate greed out of competition.
A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT But for Globalisation 4.0 to stand a chance, and to be a basis for healing our fractured world, we demand that
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*Sharan Burrow is General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
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Huawei in heavy weather by N. Peter Kramer
ermany and Britain are preparing for auctions for 5G, the superfast service that will enable a new generation of digital products and services. Huawei*, the Chinese telecoms giant, has been seen as the frontrunner to build the 5G networks in both countries, where it has conducted already 5G tests. Now, Britain and Germany are growing wary of allowing Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier, to install 5G equipment in their countries after a delegation of the US Government visited Europe with the message to urge heightened vigilance against national security threats. Is President Trump’s trade war with China reaching out to Europe? UK security officials issued a new public warning to Huawei, saying the Chinese company must fix problems in the equipment it provides to British networks or risk a further deterioration in an increasingly strained relationship. This warning came straight after receiving the message from the American ally that the security
of their telecoms networks and supply chains must be safeguard. The suggestion the UK is hardening their stance in response to pressure from the US is denied by them; insisting that the concerns are not based on Huawei’s Chinese origins. Huawei’s comment was: ‘We are grateful for the feedback and committed to addressing these issues. Cyber security remains Huawei’s top priority’. In Germany, officials said, that after the visit of the US delegation, the mood in the government was also growing wary of Huawei’s potential involvement in the country’s 5G network. *Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a Chinese multinational, is the largest telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics company in the world. It was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, an ex-military officer, as a private company, in Shenzhen, Guangdong, South China. Huawei is now active in 170 countries in the world.
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Ambassador Ikic-Böhm: We need to strengthen the citizens’ trust in the EU The Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the Hellenic Republic, Andrea IkicBöhm, talksin an exclusive interview at EBR about the current economic challenges and business opportunitiesin Greece, the reinforcement of bilateral relations and the European elections 2019. by Eirini Sotiropoulou*
UROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW: MANY AUSTRIAN COMPANIES HAVE BEEN ACTIVE FOR DECADES IN GREECE DESPITE THE ECONOMIC CRISIS. HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THE BILATERAL RELATIONS AMONG GREECE AND AUSTRIA IN TERMS OF THE IMPROVEMENT OF BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND THE FACILITATION OF PRODUCTIVE INVESTMENTS?
A.A:Among the many future potential areas of cooperation, there are substantial opportunities in the agricultural sector. Greek farmers are growing a great variety of products which are of excellent quality. By investing in plants and machineries, an even higher value could be added. Another area, which is of importance for Austrian investment, is waste recycling, a field in which Austrian companies have a leading edge and will always be ready to show their strong interest.
Austrian Ambassador: Despite the challenges the Greek economy has been facing since 2010, the Austrian companies active in Greece have generally managed to remain very loyal to their customers and business partners. The circumstances demanded that some restructure their operations and adjust to new circumstances.
EBR: WHAT IS YOUR GENERAL FEELING ABOUT THE CURRENT ECONOMIC & POLITICAL CLIMATE IN THE COUNTRY?
However, a few Austrian companies even managed to successfully expand their operations. Especially production facilities in the field of packaging materials were able to take advantage of the growing attempts of Greek companies to export their products. Greek companies realised during the years of crisis that they need to rely on exports. In addition, there has been increased cooperation in the infrastructure sector. The privatization of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki triggered Austrian investments. The Austrian company Rail Cargo formed a Joint Venture with the Greek company Gold Air. Together they applied for and received a license to operate as the first private cargo railway company in Greece. Furthermore, due to the booming Greek tourism sector Austrian Airlines is now operating 82 flights to 17 destinations in Greece during the summer months, bringing ever more Austrian tourists to Greece. EBR: IN WHAT OTHER AREAS IS AUSTRIA INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN GREECE?
Α.Α.:In the past few years, Greece has undertaken tremendous efforts to overcome the economic challenges caused by the financial crisis. The structural reforms of the past few years are finally bearing fruit and many macroeconomic indicators, such as the growth factor as well as the falling unemployment rate are pointing towards a positive trend. Especially since the exit from the financial programme, on which I would like to congratulate Greece, a positive dynamic can be felt. In order to attract foreign direct investment, the trust in Greece’s economy needs to be reestablished. Especially stability in the framework of taxation, a business-friendly public administration, regulatory measures that mirror the present requirements and a stable social partnership are important factors for companies’ investment decisions. The government is in the process of drafting a series of legislative measures aimed at improving the regulatory framework for investors. We are optimistic that a business friendly environment can and will be achieved in the near future. ΕΒR: THE FYROM DEAL HAS BEEN CHARACTERIZED AS A DIPLOMATIC SUCCESS OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION
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ABOUT THIS AND SPECIFICALLY HOW DOES AUSTRIA SEE THE EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE OF THE WESTERN BALKANS? A.A.:The Prespes Agreement indeed constitutes a major diplomatic success, one that has ended a decade - long dispute between two neighboring countries. As both Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as well as Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl have reiterated, the Prespes Agreement is a milestone for the whole region and is positive news that can trigger further progress for the region, especially in times when Europe is faced with challenges on many levels.
back on the over 200 events organized during the presidency so far both in Austria as well as in other member states. Among the highlights of the presidency so far were the informal meetings on the level of heads of state and government on the 19/20th September and 14 informal ministerial meetings in the formations of justice and home affairs, foreign affairs, general affairs, economy and finance, agriculture and fisheries, as well as one informal ministerial meeting in Brussels on the topic of development cooperation. These meetings have achieved open discussion of current topics and provided important contributions for facilitating decision taking. A lot of grass-roots work is being done as well to bring forward as many legislative projects as possible to be finalized before the EP-elections in May 2019 – it is a true “working presidency”.
Austria has a longstanding interest in the Southeastern European (SEE) region, has supported the EU perspective of the SEE-countries from the outset and has made it a priority in the framework of the current Austrian Austria has also contributed on a very important techpresidency of the Council of the EU. Bringing the six nical issue. Together with the general secretariat of the accession candidates from SEE closer to the EU in the Council of the EU Austria has laid groundwork in estabframework of the enlargelishing the “Presidency Portal ment process is a strategic for Informal Events”, an oninvestment in peace, democline management tool for paracy, prosperity, security and perless preparation of meetIn the past few years, Greece has stability in Europe. ings, which will be used by undertaken tremendous efforts to future presidencies to come. overcome the economic challenges It is thus in the interest of caused by the financial crisis. The both the EU and the region More recently, the EU manstructural reforms of the past few and serves as a transformative aged to find a political consenyears are finally bearing fruit and power and driving force for resus on the BREXIT agreement forms. The Austrian Presidenwith rules acceptable to both many macroeconomic indicators, cy has therefore focused on the EU-27 as well as the UK. such as the growth factor as well achieving concrete progress Federal Chancellor Sebastian as the falling unemployment rate in the accession process of the Kurz and the Austrian Govare pointing towards a positive SEE countries by promoting ernment have always given trend. further integration measures. their strong support to reaching an agreement through EBR: THE MOTTO OF THE which the EU and the UK will AUSTRIAN PRESIDENCY remain strong partners. OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EU IS «A EUROPE THAT PROTECTS», EMPHASIZING THE FIGHT EBR: CHANCELLOR KURZ STRESSED THAT HIS AGAINST ILLEGAL MIGRATION AND COMGOVERNMENT IS PRO-EUROPEAN, WHILE AT PETITIVENESS THROUGH DIGITALIZATION. THE SAME TIME HE MAINTAINS CLOSE TIES IF YOU HAD TO MAKE AN OVERALL ASSESSWITH THE VISEGRAD GROUP AND HE DEMENT OF THE PRESIDENCY’S WORK THESE CIDED TO WITHDRAW AUSTRIA FROM UN MONTHS, WHAT WAS ITS CONTRIBUTION MIGRANT PACT. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT AFAND WHAT SHOULD HAVE CHANGED? TER THAT MR. KURZ STILL WANTS TO REINFORCE THE COUNTRY’S ROLE AS A «BRIDGE A.A:In my opinion the Austrian presidency of the CounBUILDER» IN EUROPE? cil of the EU has been very successful so far. Austria managed to put her priorities and initiatives on the A.A.:Building bridges and facilitating dialogue have European agenda in the field of fight against illegal been fundamental to Austrian foreign policy for demigration, competitiveness through digitalization, and cades. Due to its geopolitical position and its permanent keeping the EU perspective of SEE countries high on the neutrality Austria served as a platform for international political agenda. dialogue already during the Cold War. Since 1979 alIn fact, there has been overwhelmingly positive feedready, Vienna has been host to one of the official seats
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of the UN and with more than 40 headquarters of international organizations situated in Vienna, emerging as a hub for the promotion of peace, security, sustainable development, disarmament and non – proliferation of nuclear weapons. Moreover, it has figured as a venue for international mediation and negotiation for decades, including the Iran talks and the talks between Greece and FYROM. Austria is and remains fully committed to multilateralism. If an issue gives reason for significant substantive concerns, and this not only to Austria, there must also be room to voice it. The very concept of bridge building includes the openness for dialogue and good and respectful relations with every partner around the table. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has repeatedly called upon Austria’s role as a bridge builder and even more so as EU-Council Presidency. In fact he has made great efforts in contributing to the consensus on the BREXIT-Agreement – a great achievement of all sides involved under challenging circumstances. EBR: GIVEN THAT THE NEXT & MOST CRUCIAL EU PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ARE ONLY A FEW MONTHS AWAY, HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT THE RAPID UP-
SURGE OF POPULISM IN EUROPE? A.A.:In recent years, the EU has had to face multilayered challenges, which also shook the confidence of its citizens. It is therefore of paramount importance to strengthen the citizens’ trust in the EU, as well among member states. During its presidency, Austria also aspires to bringing citizens and the EU closer together again, for instance by facilitating citizens’ dialogues or by having organized a high level conference on subsidiarity on the 15/16th November in Bregenz. An EU that listens to its citizens, takes their concerns seriously, tries to find common answers to challenges which need to be tackled by all Member States while leaving space for issues that can be more efficiently dealt with by the Member States or Regions, is what the Austrian Presidency focusses on – also with a view of the upcoming EP-Elections.
*Eirini Sotiropoulou is a Journalist at European Business Review & Euractiv Greece. She holds a M.A degree (Hons) in Political Communication &M.A (Hons) in International Relations and Strategic Studies.
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IPCC is clear: without major societal changes extreme global warming cannot be prevented by John Hontelez*
arly October the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented an alarming report on what is needed to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement on limiting climate change. IPCC is the largest, most multi-disciplinary and most international group of scientists on the planet. There is no authority more reliable when it comes to advise governments, business and civil society on what is needed to limit global warming to 1,5 째C, the aim of the Paris Agreement, signed end 2015 by all governments in the world, or at least to 2 째C, which is the upper limit set by this Agreement. IPCC gives a strong warning that the sum of all the
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national commitments made by (most of) the governments, will not lead to limiting global warming to even the upper limit of 2째C. More radical measures need to be taken, they need to be taken soon and obviously, the USA should rejoin the global consensus as soon as possible. We have little room for maneuvering left. Historic greenhouse gas emissions caused by man have already led to 1 째C global warming since pre-industrial times. We are seeing the first consequences. A great and long summer in Europe indeed, but also droughts, more violent storms, floods. The North Pole is shrinking. Greenland
and Antarctica are losing ice, which, in combination with expansion of seawater due to temperature, causes sea-level rises. Permafrost in the northern parts of Alaska, Canada and Russia starts melting, which will lead to massive leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Half of the coral has been destroyed in the last few decades due to warming. While it took us three centuries to get to that 1 °C increase, the next 0.5 °C will likely happen in the next 20 years. And it will not stop there unless the world undertakes dramatic action. Existing national commitments need to be sharpened, business and civil society need to be fully involved. International cooperation to ensure synergies is essential. FOUR PATHWAYS BUT WITH VERY DIFFERENT SOCIAL IMPACTS IPCC paints four different pathways to illustrate the choices we are confronted with. Very interesting is how it then looks at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also adopted by the world’s governments in 2015, to see how these pathways may support or hinder sustainable development globally (“synergies” and “trade-offs”). These SDGs are a unique agenda for sustainable development globally, with a timeline of 15 years. Integrated implementation of the SDGs is our best chance to successfully end poverty, misery, poor health conditions, inequality between and inside countries while limiting our impact on the natural resources of the planet. IPCC is completely right to insist on connection between the climate agenda and SDGs, because only a global dictatorship can impose a climate agenda which increases poverty, unemployment, inequality and depletes natural resources. And as we know, dictatorships, besides being immoral, lead to resistance, apathy, sabotage, all counterproductive. FROM DEMAND-MANAGEMENT TO MASSIVE CARBON-CAPTURE AND STORAGE. IPCC’s first pathway appears to be most supportive of the SDGs. This pathway is characterized by reduction of demand for energy. Ambition is to reduce total energy demand with 15% by 2030 (compared to 2010) and 32% by 2050. Non-biomass renewable energy component is growing fast, while also nuclear energy will increase. In this scenario, the contribution of bio-energy goes down, and carbon capture and storage is exclusively achieved with increasing the world’s forest cover. The opposite pathway leads to a resource and energy-intensive world, with 39% more demand in 2030 and 44% more in 2050. In other words, more than twice as much energy demand than in the first scenario. In this scenario oil, gas and nuclear play larger roles. Till
2030 the use of biomass is expected to be stable, but after that an enormous boost is foreseen for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). The two other scenarios are placed in between these two. IPPC expects the demand-driven scenario performs much better in terms of achieving the SDGs, mentioning specifically 12 of the 17, than the other ones. THE GAMBLE: BECCS From this report, it is clear: if we are not prepared and able to limit and reduce total energy demand, we will either cause dramatic global warming or we have to gamble on massive introduction of Bio-Energy combined with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). A gamble, most likely an irresponsible gamble. IPPC apparently sees BECCS not playing a big role, even in the most energy intensive scenario, before 2030. And it warns that “CDR (Carbon-Dioxide Removal, jh) deployed at scale is unproven and reliance on such technology is a major risk in the ability to limit warming to 1.5°C.” Obviously, once BECCS is systematically applied, the current concern about bio-energy emitting CO₂, even more per KWH than coal, can be put to rest. Indeed, biomass is the result of ongoing CO₂ absorption in forests (and agricultural lands) while coal is locked up carbon which was safely stored under our soils for millions of years. However, a rapid increase of bio-energy use does substantially increase CO₂ emissions in the short term, and the question is whether we have the time to rely on the re-absorption of such CO₂ in forests over the years. BECCS prevents the CO₂ emissions by catching it and storing it in underground reservoirs. Obviously, one can do this also with CO₂ emissions from coal, oil and gas. And indeed, some 10 years ago this was a big hit in the EU with Norway in the lead, offering empty oil-reservoirs in the North Sea owned by its company Statoil. Now,CCS-with-coal seems to have faded away. CCS sounds simple, but to store it safely, avoid the risks of polluted groundwaters etc., one needs to clean the emissions from other chemical components. Infrastructure is needed to transport the CO₂ and to store it safely. This all comes with a costand consumes part of the energy produced. If CCS-with-coal is expensive, CCS with biomass must be more expensive: per KWh produced there is more CO₂ to store. If one wants to use CCS to fight climate change, probably the best is to (first?) use it in combination with natural gas. Obviously, if there is a strong societal demand for CCS, the price will be paid. Even if that money could be put
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to much better use in renewables and demand management. The second hurdle is more essential: IPCC calculates that up to 1 billion ha. of additional forests would be needed in such a scenario, by 2050. That is a 25% increase of current forest area. While there is a big potential of afforestation and reforestation in the world (and a commitment to reforest 0,45 billion by 2030), question is whether such additional forests are best used to produce fuel. The world will need more wood for old and new uses anyway, also in response to climate change. We need to use more wood in construction because, provided it comes from sustainably managed forests, that a considerable lower carbon and environmental footprint, in the production and its use, than concrete, bricks, steel. Wood in construction in fact locks carbon up. The same goes for furniture and other durable wood products. The bio-economy, which is coming, and needed also to reduce use of petrol for production of plastics, fibres, etc, will increase the demand for wood even more.
I am not optimistic we can achieve the demand-reduction pathway fully. In the countries with the currently highest energy use, this should be possible even without dramatic measures. But the rest of the world, with much lower energy use/capita, will have serious difficulties given the need to lift up several billions of people out of poverty and a certain level of prosperity everyone has the right to have. However, it is essential that the focus IS on that pathway, everywhere in the world. All efforts have to be made to get as close as we can. It is also the most realistic in terms of public support, if IPCC is right with its assumptions on the impact on the SDGs. Obviously, that support is not there automatically. It needs to be a shift to an energy efficient world based on social equity and fairness.
So, while moderate use of bio-energy can be based on bio-waste, including from sawmills and some from forests, an energy future with massive increased demand, combined with subsidies, will put enormous extra stress on the forest sector, including driving forest conversion into intensive plantations, with the connected loss of biodiversity.
Governments should create and implement the framework. But the business sector, in particular large companies, are more influential than ever, their support for the right framework is indispensable. In the past, when environmental measures were discussed, the most vocal parts of business usually were the ones that feared to be on the losing end. Those that would be on the winning end were not sufficiently aware, small, or even, not yet existing. That has changed over the years. We see more and more business involved in making the shift to a clean and efficient energy system.
NEED FOR A STRONG AND CONSISTENT BUSINESS RESPONSE
We see more and more business also that commit to responsible sourcing of raw materials to reduce their
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environmental impacts. So the potential for a powerful progressive alliance is growing, and indeed, several companies have already joined up in climate alliances, as well as in organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (for which I work).
do no longer resist environmental fiscal reform, want to cooperate to make it as effective as possible, in terms of reducing environmental impact of the economy while being socially fair and progressive.
-Being transparent about its current environmental and The elements for a powerful business call for a global social impacts on the planet: apply the natural capital energy policy reducing demand as IPCC sketched, exist. protocol, investigate the social impacts of the compaThat call should boldly step nies supplying to you and your over some taboos, to also get plants in developing countries wide public support. Elements Governments should create and could be making prices work -Action to systematical go for implement the framework. for the best climate agenda: reduced impact: work with the But the business sector, in best certification schemes in particular large companies, are •Introduce fiscal reforms that the world (FSC for wood prodincrease the price of energy ucts), set targets for reducing more influential than ever, their consumption when produced carbon footprint…. support for the right framework with fossil fuels is indispensable. In the past, -Compensate current impacts when environmental measures •Stop subsidizing bio-enerwith support for reliable Paywere discussed, the most vocal gy, shift those funds to enerments for Ecosystem Services, gy conservation, zero-energy in particular in the tropics. parts of business usually were housing, smart public transthe ones that feared to be on the port, infrastructure and logis-Joining the Vancouver Declosing end. tics. laration, of companies that commit to go for 100% FSC •Reduce taxation on labour, certified materials/products when this stimulates lower energy and resource use (re(relevant for forest materials ofcourse), also to contribpair, insulation of existing buildings, nearby services….) ute to the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. •Use fiscal incentives to reduce income inequality, to prevent energy-poverty in low-income groups. FSC is the most trusted global forest certification scheme. Currently 200 million ha forests in 80 countries Other needed measures include, ambitious requireare FSC certified. Together they produce some 23% of ments for eco-design, refurbishment of poorly insulated all industrial timber in the world. Around 60.000 comsocial housing, etc.; support to business replacing goods panies globally take part in the FSC supply chains, and with services where this has a positive environmental; FSC labelled products can be found in shops in most and social impact and stimulating cascaded use of wood countries of the world. See: https://ic.fsc.org/en and other materials. Business itself can be a driving force and set the example by *John Hontelez -Giving a clear, united, signal to governments that they
is Chief Advocacy Officer of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). He wrote this article on his own behalf.
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EXTRAIT DE CULTURE
EBR strolling around The Museum of Modern Art of NYC Charles White: A Retrospective is the first major museum survey devoted to the artist in over 30 years on MoMA’s Floor 3 through January 13, 2019 by Alexandra Papaisidorou
oMA is devoted to today’s most experimental, thought-provoking contemporary art. “Extrait de Culture” by EBR is devoted to today’s most experimental museum proposals, thought-provoking art interview reports. Founded in 1976, it was the first nonprofit arts center in the United States devoted solely to contemporary art and is recognized as a defining force in the alternative space movement.
The Museum of Modern Art consists the largest platform for contemporary art in the country and one of the largest in the world. Functioning as a living, active meeting place for the general public, MoMA is a catalyst for ideas, discourses, and new trends in contemporary art. EBR interviewed exclusively Esther Adler, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, who organized everything and speaks out for the Artist that insisted: ‘Art must be an integral part of the struggle’… a struggle as topical and evergreen as ever!
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CHARLES WHITE’S METICULOUSLY EXECUTED DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS SPEAK OF AND AFFIRM THE HUMANITY AND BEAUTY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN PEOPLE AND CULTURE. COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN US HOW PEOPLE USUALLY RESPOND AND INTERACT IN THE VIEW OF HIS WORK OF ART? African Americans were Charles White’s main subject matter throughout his four decade career, but he envisioned his work as universal images of human beings, depicted in a fully realized manner that captured the complexity of their intellectual and emotional character. This underlying goal, together with his incredible artistry and masterful graphic technique, allowed him to create drawings, paintings and prints that are as effecting emotionally as they are visually – you can mar-
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vel at his ability to capture people in charcoal and ink on paper, and be incredibly moved by his empathetic reflection of their state of mind. It’s been very gratifying to watch our visitors connect with the works in the gallery – I think it’s hard to look at a work by Charles White and not be moved in some way. HOW DOES CHARLES WHITE’S PERSONAL LIFE INFLUENCE HIS INSPIRATION? IT’S WELL KNOWN THAT HE SPENT HOURS AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY IN CHICAGO AS A CHILD, SO, DID BOOKS AND WRITERS HELP SHAPE THE ARTIST'S WORLDVIEW DEPICTED ON HIS ARTISTIC WORK? Charles White’s personal life experience is what led him to choose a very specific path as an artist.He grew up in
EXTRAIT DE CULTURE
poverty in Chicago, and was very aware of the injustice of social and political conditions in the United States for African Americans, and how this directly affected him, his family and his community. He decided even as a young adult to make art work that directly addressed these conditions of injustice, and to make works that helped celebrate African American accomplishments and strength, and he stayed faithful to this artistic goal for his entire career, even as his style changed and developed over time, and he found new and different ways to communicate with his viewers. WHAT IS THE KEY POINT THAT WORTHS VISITING ‘CHARLES WHITE: A RETROSPECTIVE’ IN MOMA THIS JANUARY? This is the first major exhibition of Charles White’s work in over 30 years, and is a rare chance to see works from across his career in dialogue with each other, to trace the connections between works made decades apart during very different moments in American history. We have worked hard to bring together the very best examples of White’s work from across different mediums – drawings, prints, paintings, photography, and even ceramics –in order to show why this artist is such a critical voice in 20th century art. THE ARTIST’S INTERRACIAL INSTINCTS TO FIGHT SOCIAL INJUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES ALIGNED HIM WITH OTHER LIKE-MINDED MODERNISTS, AND PARTICULARLY THE PROGRESSIVE ARTISTS. WHAT OTHER CHARACTERISTICS COULD YOU MENTION RELATED TO HIS UNIQUE MURALIST & SOCIAL REALISTIC STYLE?
Charles White worked in a representational, figurative style for his entire career, even during decades when large scale abstraction, conceptual art, and other artistic movements were capturing the attention of the art world. His dedication to his chosen style was due, in large part, to the fact that it made his work accessible to everyone, both audiences in museums and galleries as well as to entire communities that would not have access to these exhibition spaces. This goal of accessibility was critical to his practice, and helps explain why muralswere so attractive to him – it allowed him to make large-scale images in prominent public places where his work could be easily seen. All of his works, however, from his early paintings to his powerful drawings of the 1960s and 1970s, show this same dedication to making art that his viewers could easily access, understand, and respond to. THE ARTIST MAINLY TRIED TO GIVE HIS IMAGES UNIVERSALITY – MEANING AN ENDURING SENSE OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY - IS THERE A LIAISE BETWEEN ART AND CULTURAL UNITY AMONG NATIONS, IN YOUR OPINION? Charles White believed that art was a critical part of all of our lives, and that it could have a real effect on social and cultural positions, both in the United States and more broadly across the world. He travelled to meet people from other countries, to meet artists and visit their major cultural institutions, and I believe that he would have agreed that cultural exchange is a wonderful way to encourage friendship and understanding between different nations. His believe in shared humanity was not tied to international borders, but rather extended to all people, everywhere.
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Why Asia's future is female Asia is a powerhouse of growth in the global economy. From the 1980s onwards, economic development across the region has lifted millions out of poverty and doubled Asia's share of the world economy. However, signs are there that things are moderating by Sri Mulyani Indrawati & Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen*
rowth in China and India is no longer in double digits, many countries have to face the challenge of the middle income trap and those at the highest levels of income have tried hard to further boost their annual GDP growth. Add this to the challenge of climate change, ageing populations and increasing inequalities across the region. Politicians, policymakers and pundits have debated what's driving this trend in detail. Yet to us, pinpointing the source of the issue is simple. Asia has a vast, powerful and dynamic driver of growth that is largely untapped: the extraordinary potential of its women and girls.
COST OF GENDER DISPARITY It is deep, unjust gender disparity that is holding Asia back. So big that McKinsey had estimated that if nothing is done, the global economy stands to lose about US$4.5 trillion (S$6.2 trillion) in annual GDP by 2025. That's the output of an economy the size of Japan being lost every single year. For Asia, now is the time to invest in women and girls. To break down the barriers that stand in the way of their, and the region's, economic success. There are so many things we need to do, but we want to call out just three of the biggest issues that business, governments and civil society must get behind.
According to the Asian Development Bank, currently less than half of women in Asia are in the workforce compared with 80 per cent of men.
The first is challenging and changing everything in Asian societies that keeps women and girls from reaching their full potential in the workforce.
Furthermore, for the women who do work, they are paid almost 25 per cent less than their male counterparts. The International LabourOrganisation found that positions of leadership in the economy, the top management jobs, are occupied by women in only one in three cases.
We need to upend the gender norms that mean women take on the bulk of unpaid labour and care work.
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This can limit their options for career progression or see them stuck in low paid sectors of the economy that
are also vulnerable to replacement by automation and advances in machinery. CULTURE OF FEAR We must also end the culture of fear for girls in Asia's cities. Part of this is changing attitudes, but it's also about building more safety infrastructure. In an era of increased urbanisation, with girls and young women in cities having more opportunities for work and education than ever before, it is intolerable that they cannot leave their homes without fear of harassment, abuse or exploitation.
by, for instance, using all-male examples. The private sector should offer apprenticeships and vocational skills training to nurture the talents of young women, including those who might not have had access to a more traditional educational background. This will allow girls and young women to have greater exposure to the opportunities available in digital and Stem industries and facilitate their transition into work. More female teachers need to be trained and employed in digital learning centres to create a more equitable and safe learning environment for girls.
Asia's high-value potential growth sectors are in digital, technology and electronics. It is imperative the large digitisation of the economy becomes truly transformative and inclusive for all.
Governments and Internet companies should also commit to protecting and enhancing women's online rights and privacy, and to combating the harassment of women and girls online.
"The final thing we need to do is ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way.
The final thing we need to do is ensure girls have the right role models and mentors so they can really be the ones leading the way.
If girls see more women in positions of leadership either in the boardroom, in senior management or in elected offices, this starts to challenge the preconceptions of the types of jobs that girls should aspire to."
If girls see more women in positions of leadership either in the boardroom, in senior management or in elected offices, this starts to challenge the preconceptions of the types of jobs that girls should aspire to.
Not only are digital and technological industries male-dominated, but there is also an entrenched bias throughout a child's education that subjects relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) are only for boys and men.
The private sector can do a lot more to address this issue by expanding opportunities for women to succeed in their companies.
Families also fear the Internet will expose their daughters to harassment and exploitation online. This is the second thing that needs to change. We must make smart investments in the future generation of workers by equipping girls with the skills, means and capacities they need not only to succeed in but also to drive these growth sectors of the future economy. SKILLS AND ROLE MODELS Governments must invest more in ensuring that digital skills as well as information and communications technology (ICT) courses are integrated throughout all stages of education and are equally accessible to both girls and boys. Educational resources should focus on e-learning so that young people actively use technologies as they learn and improve ICT skills across the board. All education and training resources should be gender-sensitive to ensure they don't perpetuate discriminatory norms
This should not be limited to gender quotas in the boardroom, but also create mentoring schemes to nurture future talent, to support and influence personal development and career aspirations and break down some of the occupational stereotypes that dictate the career choices of girls and boys. Female mentors in particular will help to drive this change. We don't just want girls to get good jobs, we want them to be the ones creating new jobs. Inventing new ideas, building new tech start-ups into big business, becoming the upcoming leaders of the future Asian economy. This month in Hanoi, we are co-chairing the World Economic Forum on Asean. Our message for public officials, business leaders, civil society and educational institutions is clear. In Asia, the future is female. *Sri MulyaniIndrawati is the Finance Minister of Indonesia and
Anne-BirgitteAlbrectsen is Chief Executive Officer at Plan International.
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Vacuum glazing, an exciting new step in very high insulation performance by Niels Schreuder*
he biannual international trade fair for glass production and processing in Düsseldorf (Germany), Glasstec is also the place where new products get launched. From 23 to 26 October, 2018, world-leading glass company AGC had a large stand at Glasstec showing its new on-demand sampling service to architects, called “Coating on Demand”. On the other side of its Glasstec-stand, AGC had the new generation of ultra-high performance glazing for the first time on display. To meet the highest environmental performance at a reasonable cost, AGC introduced “Fineo”. This Vacuum double glazing (VIG) product seems to be the answer to assure even better thermal performant windows, or to retrofit existing window frames. Home-owners even could take advantage of this new glass technology, replacing only the glass part in their existing window frames to upgrade to a very high insulation performance. “Fineo” was jointly developed by AGC and Panasonic. Bringing Panasonic's expertise in display-related technology together with AGC's know-how in glass processing led to the production of these glazing units with thermal and acoustic insulation properties as good as, or even better, than triple glazing. Vacuum (with no argon gas nor air kept in between) is the way to limit conduction and convection losses, resulting in a significant reduction of heat loss thru glass.The big advantages of “Fineo” are its glass thickness (less than 1 cm), we better call it its thinness, that is a fifth to a quarter of that of units of the same dimensions, and its weight,that is one third lighter. For Europe, production will start in Lodelinsart (Belgium), where AGC Glass Europe has invested in the production of vacuum glazing at its existing plant. Production is due to start in March 2019, from where the glass group will provide this innovation to the construction industry. The new product can be combined with the existing range of multifunctional glass (for solar control, security, acoustic insulation etc.) and besides the market for new construction (housing and non-residential), also the renovation segment has significant sales potential in Europe.
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The big challenge with Vacuum double glazing however has been the distance between the two glass sheets now separatedby a 0.1 mm vacuum gap only.To avoid the sheets from touching each other very small micro-spacers do the job. “FINEO” BY AGC At the start of production Vacuum double glazing offers a thermal insulation coefficient Ug of 0.7 W/(m²K) soon to achieve 0.4 W/(m²K), depending on the applied low-E coatings. For comparison, a state-of the-art low-e coated double glazing has an insulation coefficient Ug of 1.1 W/ (m²K), which was already super-insulating compared to the 2.8 W/(m²K) for older uncoated double glazing. Other glass manufacturers are also researching and developing their product range. Sealing two fully hardened glass panels airtight, keeping a vacuum space between the two panels, kept apart by almost microscopic pillars is definitely an exciting innovation in glazing. With ever stricter building regulations to upgrade our buildings’ energy-efficiency, very high insulation performance in glazing provides a solution for the construction sector and is good news to us all!
*Niels Schreuder is Public Affairs Manager, AGC Glass Europe
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