European Business Review (EBR)

Page 1

ISSUE 4-2020 / YEAR 23rd - PRICE 5,00 € / $6,00






INDEX Founder

Konstantinos C. Trikoukis Chairman

Athanase Papandropoulos Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Christos K. Trikoukis



Angela’s powerplay, with the help of Emmanuel

The Twin Fallacies of Europe’s Leaders



Biden, Iran and the Middle East peace progress

It is the Amazon, stupid



EU & International Correspondent

N. Peter Kramer Editorial Consultant

Anthi Louka Trikouki Issue Contributors

Costas Souyoultzoglou, George Gratsos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Wouter Veening, Kamila Waciega, Ville Niinisto, Shahmar Hajiev, Giles Merritt, Sean Fleming, John Pearson, Ko Kuwabara, Rein van Gisteren, Rafi Kretchmer, Alexandra Papaisidorou Correspondents

Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, Athens, Helsinki, Rome, Prague Communications Director Alexandra Papaisidorou Advertising

Marianna Panoutsopoulou Business Development John G. Tragkas Published by:

European Commission must stop flying into climate crisis

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

COVID-19 is changing society, economy and way-of-life

Cover Photo drawing by Siegfried Woldhek ISSUE 4-2020/NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2020, YEAR 23rd Published quarterly under the license of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review trademark is a property of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review is strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without official permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. Every case is taken in compiling the contents of that magazine, but we assume no responsibility for the affects arising therefrom. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher nor of the European Business Review magazine.

44 TRENDS How secure is your data? 3 predictions and 3 protections in the age of hybrid work

46 EXTRAIT DE CULTURE Culture is the source of creativity;

For previous editions archive and up-to-date information on major topics and events you may visit our website EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW | 3




by N. Peter Kramer, EU & International Correspondent

Angela’s powerplay, with the help of Emmanuel


n historical agreement! With a budget of 1.800 billion euros and by linking that amount to respect for the rule of law, the EU will have unprecedented resources. ‘Now we can rebuild our economies. This recovery package will propel our green and digital transition’, tweeted European Council President Charles Michel. He did that after the 27 leaders agreed to the political statement on the sanction mechanism reached with Hungary and Poland by Angela Merkel, after consultation with Emmanuel Macron alone. That allowed Prime Ministers Victor Orban and Mateusz Morawiecki to drop their veto on the multi-annual budget and the corona recovery fund. It made the billions free, and wasn’t that most important? Of course, to prevent the money from being wrongly spent, the EU will -also for the first time- have an instrument that allows member states to be punished financially if those billions are wasted due to poor rule of law. This can happen when a court does not engage in corruption investigations or if there is tampering with public procurement. Thanks to the compromise of Merkel and Hungary and Poland, a member state can delay a possible imposition of a sanction as long as the European Court of Justice is examining the procedure against the regulation that the two announced yesterday. Such a procedure might easily take a year and a half. For the correct understanding, the new regulation does not mean that the EU now has means to counteract the erosion of the rule of law in the broad sense in Poland and Hungary. It does not include, for example, freedom of the media, measures that infringe the rights of the LGBIQ+ community or of NGO’s. The famous article 7 still serves these purposes, which theoretically can lead to suspension of the voting rights of a country, but which is proven to be unworkable due to the requirement of unanimity in the Council. Being at her best, Merkel torpedoed, also after consulting Macron, a decision to impose sanctions on Turkey, against the will of a huge majority in the European Council. The list of names and sanctions was already diligently prepared. The German Chancellor chose to ‘spare’ President Recep Erdogan. A possible Turkish decision to re-open the borders with Greece could cause another stream of hundred thousands of refugees. Merkel’s strong belief is that no solid support among EU citizens exists for such a second stream. Chancellor Merkel’s days are numbered. Who will be her successor? And will she or he make the same kind of ‘dreamteam’ with President Macron to rule the waves in the EU?






The Twin Fallacies of Europe’s Leaders More than ever, the time has come to seriously account for the forces and fallacies that have allowed today’s leadership of the European Union to betray so blatantly its founding principles and values clearly stated in articles 2 and 7 of the EU Founding Treaty by Costas Souyoultzoglou and George Gratsos*


ore than ever, the time has come to seriously account for the forces and fallacies that have allowed today’s leadership of the European Union to betray so blatantly its founding principles and values clearly stated in articles 2 and 7 of the EU Founding Treaty. The same applies to its failure to uphold the international Rule of Law outside its borders when dealing with Turkey, a failed democracy with some 70,000 of its citizens behind bars for their opposition to Mr. Erdogan’s regime. In view of the forthcoming meeting of the EU General Council of December 10-11 it is time to examine more closely the concealed fallacies within the EU that account for these failures. FALLACY NUMBER ONE: The Historical Historically, as is fairly obvious by now, it is evident that the first and foremost position of political influence has been held by the powerful lobbies of the dominant EU business interests, mainly of Germany and more recently of Spain and Italy. These interests have succeeded once more, not only in concealing their own dominance but, even more disturbingly, the need to curtail the ruling Islamic/jihadist forces of Erdogan’s Turkey. Perhaps, the first step in understanding these unending and deeply embedded driving forces of Turkeys continuing aggression is best expressed by the Russian historian Aleksandr Kadyrbaev who has stated “that in order to understand the history of the Turkish people it is necessary to study the Mongols’ (nomadic warrior tribes of Central Asia noted for their barbaric conquests almost since 2000 years.)

Additionally, any valid historical assessment cannot fail to include the later day ravages committed by their Ottoman descendants in their military advances reaching to the outskirts of Vienna in 1529 and the more recent bloody Armenian incidents, reminiscent of the previous Armenian genocide of more than one million people by the Ottomans Turks of 1915. It comes as no surprise, that we are confronted once again with the same historic forces presently concealing their expansionist aspirations for the Aegean Sea camouflaged by their alleged search for hydrocarbon treasures under the Aegean Sea and islands which have been inhabited by Greeks for more than 3500 years. FALLACY NUMBER TWO: The Economics There is no greater misconception than the one related to the imposition of piecemeal sanctions. (1) The alleged deterrent consequences of such piecemeal measures have already proven inadequate. The mere announcement of a series of rigid and irrevocable sanctions to be imposed without further notice in the event of further breaches of international and maritime laws, would, in all probability, have the same restraining effects as their actual imposition. Many notable economists have sufficiently expanded on the role of self-fulfilling prophesies and expectations in market economies. A classic example known to most people is the devaluation of a currency that can take place even before a government officially announces it, if all indications are to that effect. (2) The ineffectiveness of delayed and piecemeal sanctions has revealed that it only amounts to the reappearance of



(a) To continue in line with the same ineffective and damaging to all, piecemeal tactics advocated by the German leadership. Furthermore, if such tactics are further supported by a refusal to impose an embargo on armaments to Turkey it might be about time and necessary for Greece’s taxpaying citizens and their unions to appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). (b) To await stoically for a more determined and forward looking leadership to reinstate the EU values of security, freedom and democracy to be a higher priority than that presently assigned to the dominant business interests within Europe. The risks involved are high as long as the gunboat diplomacy of Turkey is allowed to unfold. Perhaps, before it is too late, the present Leaders of Europe need to be given the wakeup call resounding from the famous 1941 broadcast by Winston Churchill: “When I looked upon the densely packed congregation of men of the same faith, of the same fundamental laws, of the same ideals, it swept upon me that here is the only hope, but also the sure hope of saving the world from a measureless degradation’’.

the same Turkish warships and research vessel in the Aegean Sea, to be temporarily withdrawn whenever there is a pending discussion of the EU General Council. This is, undoubtedly, a clear message for the continuation of an arms race with Turkey that would cripple even further an already weak Greek economy costing more than ten billion dollars. In reality, this translates to an additional taxation burden of about 3000 euros for every Greek family only to end up in the earnings and balance sheets of the dominant industrial concerns of the three other member states, Germany, Spain and Italy! In the midst of the major economic crisis owing to the present Covid pandemic, such an outcome amounts to what is best described “as adding insult to injury’’ that could well end up with the appropriate legal action on behalf of Greek taxpayers and citizens of a European Union committed by its Founding Treaty to protect the security and interests of its citizens. THE FUTURE / THE BIG PICTURE In assessing the overall aspects of the present crisis affecting not only the solidarity and values of the European Union enshrined in article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union but also the credibility of its Leaders, we can reasonably conclude that the following options are open.


*Costas Souyoultzoglou and George Gratsos London School of Economics& Political Science and Ph.D. U. of the Aegean on Shipping Market Dynamics, B.Sc. MIT N.A.M.E.



Au revoir, consensus? The new NATO reform report recommended a more political role for the Western alliance, which is unlikely to go without some resistance in allied capitals. Au revoir, consensus? Not quite by Alexandra Brzozowski*


he new NATO reform report recommended a more political role for the Western alliance, which is unlikely to go without some resistance in allied capitals. Au revoir, consensus? Not quite. After French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO was suffering “brain death” last year, the report on reforming the alliance proposes solutions on how to stay relevant in the face of new challenges from Russia and China. Turkey is also an issue. It’s a NATO member with the second-largest army, but it increasingly behaves like a foe or troublemaker. Most recently, Turkey has blocked Eastern defence plans, has bought Russian air defence, and engaged in a Greek-Turkish extravaganza in the Eastern Mediterranean, which has nearly led to armed conflicts with two NATO allies – Greece, but also France. In the past, Turkey has blocked exchange of information


between the EU and NATO over its conflict with Nicosia. Meanwhile, Hungary continues to block Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO over a bilateral issue. In order to improve NATO’s ability to act, the expert group proposed what some see as a series of measures at the expense of unity. Three particularly stand out: curbing single-country blockages, ‘Coalitions of the Willing’ and more mediation powers for the Sec-Gen. “The principle of consensus is a cornerstone of the Alliance, but NATO must be diligent in ensuring that it remains capable of reaching and implementing decisions in a timely fashion,” the report states. It is especially the first that could raise some eyebrows but it might find supporters in the European defence crowd. According to the expert group, it would involve bypassing single-country vetoes involving bilateral issues, which as men-


tioned have seen a rise in recent years, to speed up decisions and examine ways to time-limit decision making in crises. They suggested the alliance should strengthen measures to ensure that consensus-based decisions are implemented and not diluted in follow-on work, by raising the threshold for such vetoes from ambassadors to the ministerial level. It is, however, by no means a guarantee they will stop. It goes without saying that the idea will meet with resistance from several members, especially in Ankara, London and Eastern Europe, for different reasons. “It is more likely that we see abolishing unanimity in EU foreign policy than NATO diverging from the consensus-rule in its decision-making,” an alliance source said. Another recommendation, ‘Coalitions of the Willing’ within NATO, which would make the alliance able to act even if not all members approve a mission, could prove to be a two-sided sword. Just imagine. It would be an (of course, rather unlikely) nightmare scenario if on behalf of NATO, Poland and the Baltics launch military support mission in Belarus, but you can get an idea. In recent times, many believe the possibility for joint military action outside an Article-5 setting should not be conditioned on unanimous consent. An alliance that provides rapid and effective responses to crises, even if only a few

allies are involved, is preferable to one that conditions action on potentially unattainable unanimous support, so the argument goes. At a time when threat perceptions and possible response ideas increasingly diverge, insisting on consensus for joint action could result in an unacceptable delay or even the failure to act, strategists argue. (Remember Kosovo?) Some may fear such suggestions might undermine unity, others may worry that certain allies will abstain from any participation and become “free-riders”. But in reality, the American vision of NATO acting beyond regional boundaries is not widely shared by the European allies. By now, we are used to the fact that NATO’s role extends to the Western Balkans, and might at some point reach as far as the Caucasus region, if and when Georgia becomes a member, but the Middle East? Not many are keen to get their fingers burned on this, one hears in the Brussels defence bubble. However, the requirement for consensus among all NATO members has survived serious internal rifts and several rounds of enlargement. In the end, of course, there is a Catch-22: the consensus rule can only be only altered by consensus, and the same goes for the final reform paper, which ultimately needs to be approved by all NATO leaders. *first published in:





Biden, Iran and the Middle East peace progress by N. Peter Kramer


oe Biden will soon be in charge of US foreign policy. An early test will be Iran, and whether he will abandon he strategic gains that President Trump has made in the Middle East and return to the deeply flawed 2015 nuclear deal. The US left the accord in May 2015 and embarked on a ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions campaign. After restoring the pre-deal sanctions, the Trump Administration has added new restrictions across the Iranian economy. The sanctions have succeeded in weakening the rogue regime. Today Teheran’s exports about a 16 | EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW

quarter of the 2,5 million barrels of oil a day it shipped when the UN was still in the deal. The economy has shrunk, the Iranian rial hast lost 80% of its value against the dollar. Iran has responded by increasing its violations of the deal. It now has 12 times the limit of enriched uranium allowed under the accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. That Iran was able to ramp up its nuclear production so quickly is a reminder of the


agreement’s major flaws. The IAEA also said that Iranian explanation was ‘not credible’ after investigators found nuclear material at an undeclared site. Joe Biden’s choice for White House national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, said, ‘a Democratic Administration should immediately begin the process of negotiating with Iran a follow-on agreement’. But what kind of an agreement? The original nuclear deal makes it easy for Iran to break out as its provisions sunset over the next decade. Meanwhile, it provided cash for Iran to expand its regional influence and terrorism. After signing the 2015 deal Iran increased its military budget with more than 30% between 2016 and 2018. Its proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen benefited. Trump’s sanctions forced Iran to cut back on that support. To abandon sanctions again in return for Iran promis-

es would be diplomatic and strategic malpractice. At a minimum, the Biden team can use the sanctions as leverage to close the loopholes in the 2015 accord. That should include no sunset, unlimited inspections of suspect sites, limits on ballistic missiles, and restraints on Iran’s regional imperialism. The Middle East has dramatically changed for the better since President Obama. Israel and the Sunni Arab states Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have normalised relations after decades of conflict; Saudi Arabia tacitly agrees. For one reason, the Sunni Arab states worry about Shia Iran. It is clear that Shias create a greater anger amongst Sunnis than Jews. Trump gave them assurance that the US is on their side, in contrast to Obama’s loud disdain and his strategic embrace of Iran. If Biden rushes back into the nuclear deal, he takes the risk of blowing up that regional peace progress. EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW | 17


It is the Amazon, stupid by Wouter Veening*


he economy of the world ultimately depends on the global climate, the availability of water and the abundance of plants and animals. If it is too hot or too dry to grow food or have water to drink, if there are no plants to turn into food crops or animals to provide meat for us carnivores all economy stops, and business balances will colour a glowing red. That is why it is important to recognise that economics is nothing more and nothing less than applied ecology, the science of how life interacts with and is dependent on the air, water and soil surrounding us. The common element in economy and ecology is “eco”, derived from the Greek word “oikos”, which means “home” or the house and place where we live. At the heart of the world’s ecology lies the Amazon, the largest tropical rainforest on earth. Its billion trees evaporate water that form rivers in the sky providing rainfall in South America and contributing to the water cycles


around the world. This rainfall together with the (fast melting) glaciers of the Andes where the Amazon river originates makes that the nine Amazon countries (1) form the largest freshwater basin in the world comprising 20% of all reserves. These same billions of trees suck up CO2 from the atmosphere and thus make for global cooling: they balance the continued growth of CO2 emissions (and other greenhouse gases) elsewhere in the world, especially in China, the biggest emitter, the U.S., number 2, the European Union, India and Indonesia (2). If you cut down or burn the Amazon trees the reverse will happen and instead of removing the CO2 from the skies, massive amounts will be emitted into the atmosphere: cooling turns to warming and the effects will be found also in Europe: Southern Spain becoming like North Africa, sea level rise everywhere along the coasts, rapid


melting of the Arctic and Greenland ice cover. The latter is a self-sustained process, it feeds on itself. Apart from its significance for rainfall and temperature, the Amazon is also the largest repository of biodiversity on earth, there are more species of flora and fauna than anywhere else, many of which still to be discovered and described by science, but we know they are there: we know what we don’t know. We also know that the indigenous communities have intimate knowledge of many species and their nutritional and medicinal properties yet unknown to “modern” science. It is of the utmost importance to recognise and preserve that knowledge as they may contribute to new medicines for the world’s population. Sadly, Brazil elected a president, Jaïr Bolsonaro, who is determined to open up the Amazon for short-term gains in the sectors of agriculture (soybean!), cattle breeding, logging and mining, which has already led to unprecedented cutting and burning of the forest, killings of environmental protectors, and the invading of officially demarcated indigenous territories. He has all but dismantled IBAMA, the national environmental protection service, and FUNAI, the indigenous people’s protection service. Moreover he has sacked the director of the Brazilian space agency as he did not like their satellite pictures of the deforestation. As he also considers Covid-19 ‘just a fever’ he causes major numbers of victims in the indigenous communities which are extremely vulnerable to outside diseases - as we know from the era of conquistadores following Columbus - robust as they are to survive in their own Amazon surroundings. While most of the Brazilian soy goes to feed the Chinese pigs, the EU is also a substantial importer. This may

grow as China suffers from the African Swine Fever and may want to import more pig meat from Europe which then may increase soybean imports from Brazil at the cost of the Amazon (3) with all the misery just described. The European Commission has signed a trade agreement with the Mercosur of which Brazil is a member and this agreement contains a sustainability chapter. On paper this chapter looks good, but like the palm oil arrangements, it is highly doubtful that it will work in practice as the short-term profits are just too big and as custom officials and bureaucrats are easily circumvented. The Dutch parliament has rejected the agreement, but one may ask whether ultimately, like with Brexit, no deal is better than the proposed deal. To conclude, the EU is working on an ambitious Green Deal which at the moment focuses too much only on the European geography and is still underdeveloped when it comes to the relations with the rest of the world. It is absolutely necessary to include the preservation of the Amazon as one of the priorities of a truly Green Deal! (1) Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela (2) Indonesia, while hardly an industrial nation, is cutting and burning its forests down for the export of palm oil, pulp and timber mainly to China and the EU. It makes the country one of the top emitters of CO2 in the world. Rampant corruption in the country and only paper policy on the side of the EU to ensure the import of only sustainably produced palm oil, continue the destruction of the forest to the detriment of South East Asia and the world as a whole. (3) Soy is in Brazil also produced in the cerrado, a different landscape, but neighbouring the Amazon.

*Wouter Veening President Institute for Environmental Security



EU needs mandatory targets and means to save energy The new NATO reform report recommended a more political role for the Western alliance, which is unlikely to go without some resistance in allied capitals. Au revoir, consensus? Not quite by Kamila Waciega and Ville Niinisto*


he European Commission needs to bring in legally-binding energy efficiency targets to support building renovation and give member states the support they need to reach them, write Kamila Waciega and Ville Niinisto. In its recent communication on the European Union climate target for 2030, the EU Commission described energy efficiency legislation and policies as essential


instruments contributing to the achievement of the new 2030 greenhouse gas reduction. However, according to the accompanying impact assessment and the evaluation of National Energy and Climate Plans, the EU will surpass its current target for renewable energy by 1.7%, while it will still fail to meet its current 2030 efficiency target by 3%. A similar result is expected for the energy efficiency target for 2020.


As the Commission is in the process of revising the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), it is crucial to seize this opportunity to address the reasons for such an outcome of current energy efficiency policies. One clear issue is the fact that the renewable energy target is binding at EU level, while the energy efficiency one still is not. In the current context of dire health, economic and environmental crisis, we cannot afford this discrepancy. We need both higher and nationally binding energy efficiency targets, given all the benefits that investments in this segment can reap. Following the position of the European Parliament, which asked for 60% emissions reduction by 2030, and taking into account the abovementioned impact assessment, the existing target for energy efficiency needs to be increased to 45% to untap the energy efficiency potential. To ensure delivery, the EU level target should be made binding. However, setting a better target is not enough. The most arduous element is providing means to achieve it. Those are regulatory and financial, and both can be ensured through the EED, which is currently planned for revision by June 2021. The updated directive should enshrine energy efficiency first as a guiding principle not only applied to it, but also to all other EU energy and climate pieces of legislation. In addition, the EU and national targets must be set and achieved both in primary and final energy. This allows the delivery of reduced energy consumption both on the supply and demand side. As the EU is steering its energy systems towards more integrated structures, this directive must promote energy efficiency across the entire system: from the production/generation, transformation, distribution/ transmission to consumption of heat and electricity. We simply cannot afford any more losses of primary energy, nor can we accept inefficient and disintegrated energy infrastructures that cause them. This will also necessitate reviewing the ambition level

of article 7, as well as article 14, to allow better accounting for energy efficiency measures on the supply side. By doing so, we can actively incentivise making heat delivery more efficient by promoting a transition of heat networks towards highly efficient ones – in some countries, like Poland, nearly 80% of existing district heat networks are inefficient according to the EED definition from 2012 – and supporting waste heat recovery. The last piece of the puzzle is ensuring adequate financial means to assist Member States, companies, public sector, and citizens in achieving new binding targets for energy efficiency. The EU Recovery Plan and its Recovery and Resilience Facility, as well as other instruments resulting from the reformed EU emissions trading scheme in 2021, and revised Energy Taxation Directive should be channelled towards investments in energy efficiency measures. Moreover, efficiency investments should always be prioritised over increasing energy production capacities. As rightly pointed out by the International Energy Agency, “Energy efficiency is the first fuel – the fuel you do not have to use – and in terms of supply, it is abundantly available and cheap to extract. But demand for the first fuel needs to grow, and that’s where policy action matters the most.” It is where the financial flows need to be channelled. We are at a crucial moment in history when our policy choices must be driven by the most cost-effective and benefit maximising factors. Investing in energy efficiency is a no-regret and win-win choice, as it benefits both the economy and the planet in the short and long term. Revising the Energy Efficiency Directive with higher, better, binding targets and supporting measures is crucial for the EU to achieve its efficiency goals and stay on the path to climate neutrality. *Kamila Waciega and Ville Niinisto Public Affairs Director for Energy at Veolia, a French utility company focused on water& waste management as well as energy services and Finnish Member of the European Parliament and coordinator for the Greens/EFA political group in the assembly’s committee on Industry, Research& Energy (ITRE) **first published in:





European Commission must stop flying into climate crisis A new study published by the European Commission on the non-CO2 impacts of aviation on the climate crisis confirms that the non-CO2 impacts of air transport is two times worse than its CO2 emissions, as demonstrated by independent scientists by N. Peter Kramer


new study published by the European Commission on the non-CO2 impacts of aviation on the climate crisis confirms that the non-CO2 impacts of air transport is two times worse than its CO2 emissions, as demonstrated by independent scientists. While acknowledging the non-CO2 effects of aviation, such as those caused by NOx and water vapour, the European Commission failed to propose measures to address the non-CO2 impact of aviation as required by the ETS revision and cut air travel - the most direct way of reducing airline-related emissions. Greenpeace EU climate campaigner Lorelei Limousin, “The European Commission’s research shows aviation is flying us into the climate crisis, yet they continue to allow tens of billions in taxpayers’ money to flow into airlines’ pockets without restrictions. We cannot afford to bankroll increasing emissions and massive layoffs when we are in the middle of health, climate and economic crises. The Commission must end tax exemptions and ban short-haul flights. Recovery funds must be invested in green mobility that pro-

vides sound, sustainable jobs and affordable, accessible transport for all." For the EU to deliver its fair share of climate action, air travel must drastically be reduced. The researchers from Climact and the NewClimate Institute show that to achieve this short-haul flights must be banned where there is a cleaner alternative, the unfair advantage provided by tax exemptions on airline tickets and fuel must end and European investments in cross border rail must increase. The EU institutions must also protect workers and set up a just transition process. European governments have already agreed to almost €30 billion in financial aid for airlines with a further €7.9 billion currently under discussion, according to a European airline bailout tracker. None of these funding schemes are linked to legally-binding environmental conditions sufficient to meet the Paris climate agreement and restrict global heating to 1.5°C.



The news you possibly missed: TAP pipeline up and running by Shahmar Hajiev*


either the COVID-19 pandemic nor the Nagorno-Karabakh war could stop Azerbaijan from finalising the TAP project, and the first Azerbaijani gas had been already supplied to European consumers. Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the Nagorno-Karabakh war could stop Azerbaijan from finalizing the TAP project, and the first Azerbaijani gas had been already supplied to European consumers, writes Shahmar Hajiyev writes. The Caspian region with its rich hydrocarbon resources has always attracted and continues to attract international attention. Azerbaijan initiated the Southern Gas Corridor


(SGC) to export natural gas from the Caspian Sea to the European gas markets.. On 15 November 2020, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which is the final section of the SGC, was completed and began commercial operations. It should be underlined that all segments of the SGC are significant energy infrastructure projects, which open new opportunities not only for Azerbaijan, but also for the Caspian region to export natural gas to the European energy markets. The TAP pipeline, with an estimated cost of â‚Ź4.5 billion, is a


new inter-regional export gas pipeline for bringing gas to the European consumers from the Shah Deniz 2 offshore gas field in the Caspian Sea (SD2). The pipeline starts at the Turkish-Greek border at Kipoi, connecting Greece, Albania and ending in the final destination in the southern part of Italy. The initial capacity of the pipeline is 10 bcm/year of gas, and a future expansion will increase the pipeline’s throughput capacity up to 20 bcm/year. The pipeline will deliver 8 bcm/year of gas to Italy, and the remaining 2 bcm/year of gas to Greece and Bulgaria. The shareholders of TAP are BP (20%), Azerbaij’an’s SOCAR (20%), Italy’s Snam (20%), Belgium’s Fluxys (19%), Spain’s Enagas (16%) and Swiss-based Axpo (5%). As one can see, TAP is a mega energy project, which involves several countries, international energy companies, as well as financial institutions such as ADB, EBRD and EIB. The TAP project became a reality due to the cooperation of all involved actors. It is very important to highlight the role of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, which was established in 2013 by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. One of the main aims of the Advisory Council was efficient implementation of all measures related to transportation of Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe along the Southern Gas Corridor. There were six Ministerial

Meetings of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, where all important aspects and challenges of the mega-project were discussed between involved parties. On 28 February 2020, many countries, energy companies and financial institutions participated at the 6th Ministerial Meeting of Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council in Baku. It should be specially underlined that the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council was a very important step towards the future cooperation between the countries involved. The European Union is interested in natural gas supplies from the Caspian region, and Turkmenistan-EU energy discussions are always high on the agenda. To this end, the SGC project has a strategic value for the whole Eurasian continent. 2020 was a remarkable year for the TAP pipeline because in October 2020, TAP was filled with natural gas from the Greek-Turkish border up to the pipeline receiving terminal in Southern Italy. Finally, on 15 November the gas transportation system via Greece, Albania, the Adriatic Sea and Italy began commercial operations. It means that the first natural gas from SD2 was supplied to Europe. The SGC with all its sections is a very important inter-regional energy project and a great achievement for Azerbaijan. The SGC widened economic, political and security cooperation



with Turkey, as well as established strong relationships with European partners. From a geopolitical standpoint, TAP is the first pipeline supplying Caspian gas to Europe. Taking into account the volatility in oil markets, it was highly important for the country to be a net gas exporter. TAP demonstrated cooperation and integration between Azerbaijan, Turkey and European countries. In addition, the pipeline contributes to economic, political as well as energy security of all involved actors. For Turkey, the realisation of the SGC was very important as well. The Turkish leg of the SGC – the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) diversified the Turkish gas sources. The SCG has already started 6 bcm of natural gas delivery for the Turkish gas market. For the period between January-July 2020, 6.3 bcm of natural gas was supplied, and as of March 2020, Azerbaijan ranked first place in the Turkish gas market with 23.45% of the country’s gas supply. As one can see, Turkey managed to decrease its high gas supply dependence using Azerbaijani gas. In addition, being one of the key actors of the SGC, Turkey is interested in becoming an energy hub to support EU energy security. The energy cooperation between Turkey and Europe will contribute positively to mutual cooperation and dialogue. For Europe, first of all, TAP pipeline is a diversification of gas sources and supply routes. Azerbaijani gas supplies will reach South Eastern, Central and Western Europe, and those regions have high gas dependence on a few suppliers. In general, analysis of the European of gas markets shows that EU gas consumption will be increased, therefore 10 bcm/year of gas volume is im-


portant for the European consumers. Additionally, the European Green Deal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Pact indicates natural gas as one of the main energy sources for the future. Another important point is the role of gas interconnectors, because the EU is interested in developing natural gas interconnectors and invests in them. TAP pipeline creates favorable conditions for countries to support energy security by developing gas interconnectors. For instance, the Gas Interconnector Greece – Bulgaria (IGB) connects Greece to Bulgaria. For south-east Europe, TAP can provide an exit point to the planned Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP) to link to the markets in Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now, it is very obvious that TAP is a direct and cost-effective transportation route to south-east European countries and beyond. Finally, Azerbaijan managed to focus on strategic objectives by implementing efficient energy policy, and the potential of the country to export natural gas to European consumers is growing year by year. Neither the COVID-19 pandemic nor the Nagorno-Karabakh war could stop Azerbaijan from finalising the TAP project, and the first Azerbaijani gas had been already supplied to European consumers. It is Azerbaijan’s great achievement to complete all sections of the Southern Gas Corridor project, which support economic integration and energy security. *Shahmar Hajiev leading-expert at the Baku-based Center of Analysis of International Relations

Grégory Doucet, Mayor of Lyon



COVID-19 is changing society, economy and way-of-life. Will it be permanent? We see a change in working culture and the role of networking. Means the pandemic the end of globalisation? Christine Lagarde tells us, in an interview, what we can do about the changing economy. Geopolitics is entering a new era. European Business Review chose four interesting articles, written by experts, to shed some light on these effects of COVID-19. We hope you will appreciate them. by N. Peter Kramer, EU & International Correspondent



Covid-19 is ushering in a new era in geopolitics - We must embrace it by Giles Merritt*


eopolitics – meaning not just Great Power rivalry, but political conditions everywhere – is entering a new phase. Government and business policymakers must sharply adjust their thinking.a In recent years – well before the Wuhan outbreak of an unidentified new zoonotic disease – it had become apparent that the Phase 2 structure of international relations is riddled with inconsistencies and fault-lines. Multilateralism’s institutions are buckling, demographic strains and resource competitions point to a darker rather than brighter future, and all this with no sign of global cooperation, solidarity, and acceptable leadership. The post-World War 2 era is over. Its first phase was from 1945 to 1989, when the fall of the Berlin Wall ended the Cold War. Phase 2, characterised chiefly by the twin forces of de-industrialisation and globalisation, ended this year with Covid-19.

Now we’re on the threshold of Phase 3. Nobody can know what this new chapter will look like, but an essential first step is to identify and discard long-held assumptions on anything from economic management to concepts of social fairness. We in the industrialised West will certainly have to overhaul our policies towards the developing world, where the coronavirus will be compounding endemic neglected crises ranging from climate change to unsustainable indebtedness. The coming shift to a larger role for the state clashes with demands we’ve seen across the EU for less government. Let’s begin, though, with what we do know. It is already plain that despite all the criticisms of ‘Big Government’, those of most developed countries will soon be bigger than ever. State spending in EU countries averages around 50 per cent of the economy, and when corona’s true costs start to kick in the result will be even heavier tax bites.



On-Off lockdowns to combat the pandemic are beginning to threaten welfare arrangements and safety nets. With government-funded job furlough schemes giving way to outright redundancies, growing job losses look set to cascade into bankruptcies of employers large and small. We don’t know how labour markets will respond, or what business models will emerge to accommodate social distancing, a rush towards robotics and AI, greater reliance on public services, and fractured education and training systems. Inevitably, these will all demand much higher levels of taxation from voters who will be unwilling, and often unable, to pay. The coming shift to a larger role for the state clashes with demands we’ve seen across Europe for less government. Populist politicians have successfully challenged the policies of ‘the elite’ and pushed for greater empowerment of regions and even cities. Adapting EU’s political economy to the ravages of Covid-19 is hard enough, and the tensions that are already apparent risk being dangerously exacerbated by populists during the spate of national and local elections scheduled for 2021 and 2022. Although effective vaccines are on the horizon, the reality is a Stop-Go world for at least the next two or three years. In that time, the global economy will change radically. Marked slowdowns in international trade and air travel will devastate all but the most resilient emerging markets. The rivalry between America and China may be eclipsed by Covid-19’s pressures or enflamed. Perhaps the need to defend Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Latin America against the pandemic – and to enlist most of mankind more effectively in the global warming struggle – will usher in a new era of North-South collaboration. If the shock waves of the coronavirus can be harnessed to a geopolitical re-set, then its misery and grief will not have been for nothing. The question is whether Phase 3 can be shaped in ways that yield adequate answers.

*Giles Merritt Founder, Friends of Europe



COVID-19 is changing the economy: what we can do about it, according to Christine Lagarde by Sean Fleming*


ecovery from the economic setbacks induced by the pandemic will demand close cooperation between the public and private sectors, says Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. In conversation with Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, during the Forum’s Pioneers of Change summit, Lagarde outlined the challenges facing the global economy. She also described what kinds of response she would like to see and explained why there might be grounds for cautious optimism. “We were stuck,” Lagarde says of the fallout from COVID-19. “We were standing on one side of a massive river of uncertainty and hardship, both from the health and economic point of view. And we couldn’t even see the other side of the river. “Thanks to the fantastic hard work put in by some companies in Germany, and in the US and in various corners of the world, we are now

seeing the other side of the river because we know that vaccines are on the horizon.” Getting to that other side is where the cooperation between public and private comes in. That means a determination to make sure structural economic changes are positive and that everyone continues to invest in the future. Digital transformation has been accelerated in many aspects of life – both professional and personal – as people have adapted to remote working and education, e-commerce is booming, and people are getting more of their recreational activities via the internet. A survey carried out early in the pandemic found that 32% of people in the US were arranging virtual parties with friends or family. “Digitalisation will have an im-



Lagarde calls for the private sector to rise to the challenge and says there is an important supporting role for the public sector in enabling that to happen. “We need to provide the appropriate business environment where innovation will thrive. I think policy-makers are doing their best to remove the uncertainties. But it is the case that at the moment the private sector has put on hold a lot of their research and development efforts. “Hopefully the private sector will get back into the swing of things and invest in research and development, because in Europe, in particular, they provide about two thirds of research and development.”

pact in terms of how services are provided,” Lagarde says. “They will probably be less local and more from anywhere in the world. And in the same vein, businesses providing those services will be more challenged from a competition point of view, which may bring about improved productivity.” The private sector has an important role to play in creating jobs and income for people through ongoing innovation that brings new products and services to market. But at a time of economic uncertainty, this is a challenge for many businesses. It could cause some to adopt a more cautious outlook, paring back on any investments that aren’t absolutely necessary.

Past economic setbacks have helped fuel innovative growth, Lagarde says. “The 2003 SARS outbreak precipitated an acceptance by Asia Pacific economies to develop stronger digital infrastructure, which increased ecommerce massively. In the same way, after the financial crisis we had in 2008, we saw an increase in something the World Economic Forum has championed – social entrepreneurship.” The economic fall-out from the pandemic has been felt around the world. Young people have been particularly hard hit, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The pandemic’s impact on young people has been “systematic, deep and disproportionate,” the ILO says. This has led to what Lagarde describes as the “crushed dreams” of young people who are joining the job market and “finding nothing”. Countering this will call for a joined-up response from both public and private sectors leaders, she says. For while private sector businesses will create much-needed jobs, they will need help during the economic uncertainty – the kind that comes from policy-makers and legislators. “Clearly, the environment that will be conducive to young companies to actually employ will be vital because it is those young companies, those companies that are under five years of age, that are providing the essential bulk of job growth,” Lagarde says. “From that perspective, I appeal to the private sector to continue to invest in research and development.” It is important, she continues, that businesses make every effort to be open to digitally literate jobseekers that are keen to join the job market “so that these dreams do not get crushed”. *Sean Fleming Senior Writer, Formative Content **first published in:





Why COVID-19 shows the future not the end of globalisation “Wave goodbye to the greatest era of globalisation — and worry about what is going to take its place,” wrote The Economist in May by John Pearson*


he Economist wrote in May "Wave goodbye to the greatest era of globalisation — and worry about what is going to take its place”.

I’ve long been a strong advocate of globalisation but, in 2020, even my own convictions have been momentarily challenged. A virus that knows no borders has “pecked away” at the foundations of the way we live and the way we trade.


How long will governments keep borders sealed? Will these physical borders evolve into trade borders and will more governments try to keep the outputs of trade within their own borders? Shortages in vital provisions – such as personal protective equipment and ventilators – have precipitated calls for change. We’ve heard voices demanding a return to domestic manufacturing and the renationalisation of critical industries. We have heard it all.


The idea that firms and their products should be treated equally regardless of where they come from is in peril. If these and other thoughts proliferate, trade will cease to flow freely. Countries will become less connected and the cornerstones of the commercial world we’ve become accustomed to will begin to creak and crack. Is this the end of globalisation as we know it? OPPORTUNITIES IN DISGUISE I, for one, am not convinced. This pandemic has shown us that global connectedness is in fact not the problem, but the solution. It is simply amazing how quickly the world has adapted to a new way of being. To a large extent, societies have managed to maintain normal life because goods have been delivered to our doorstep. We’ve kept in touch with friends, family and work through digital connections. Thanks to global collaboration, we’re getting closer to

finding effective treatments and vaccines for this virus. Adaptable supply chains and access to the global market are helping us soften the economic impact. The benefits of a connected world are visible everywhere. We’ve witnessed huge growth in cross-border e-commerce. Many companies with a global reach have found themselves in a much better position during this crisis than those with a purely national or regional focus. DHL Global Connectedness Index: encouraging signals The truth is globalisation has proved far more robust than expected. The newly released DHL Global Connectedness Index 2020, published in partnership with New York University’s Stern School of Business, bears this out. After holding steady in 2019, the world’s level of global connectedness is set to decline in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is unlikely to fall below levels seen during the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Given the scale of the pandemic that surprising resilience is something in itself.

How has Covid-19 affected the DHL Global Connectedness Index? Image: DHL



While lockdowns and border closures have sharply diminished global mobility, the new report shows that capital flows have already started to recover; trade has rebounded strongly and digital information flows have surged. We’ve still been able to buy food and clothes and improve our homes and gardens. Entertainment services such as Netflix and Amazon have flourished and we have stayed in touch through Skype, Facetime and Zoom. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a setback for travel, tourism and other flows, but this is not new. The September 11 attacks in 2001, the SARS virus of 2002, the global financial crisis of 2008, the ash cloud event of 2010 and the US-China trade war all interrupted and stalled global exchange, but it always recovered. It seems business heals when it comes to global trade. The way we’ve all adapted in 2020 has been astonishing. Logistics companies like our own have played a vital role in keeping the world running through this crisis. When economies all but closed down, our industry remained operational, literally oiling the wheels of trade.

Logistics will continue to play a crucial role in helping the world mitigate this crisis. Who is going to manage the effective distribution of vaccines when they arrive? To get billions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine to people around the world will require many thousands of flights and cooling boxes. It will require local warehousing capacity and know-how of in-country logistics. It will require all of this and more – in big doses. HARNESSING THE POWER OF ECOMMERCE Logistics help to provide essential continuity, but this crisis has hit many areas hard. Sport, live entertainment and education have endured massive disruption, but the outlook doesn’t have to be bleak. As I mentioned, social distancing has supercharged digitalization and ecommerce. Cross-border ecommerce, in particular, has huge potential. It offers a new opportunity to reach billions of additional customers. I believe that many companies overestimate the complexity of shipping their products abroad. Hurdles still exist, but taking a product to market on a global scale has, in fact, never been easier.

Merchandise trade volumes showed signs of recovery by August Image: DHL

When lockdowns grounded commercial flights, our specialists redesigned our network in just a few weeks; when borders were closed, our road transport experts found new routes; and when companies swung back into action after forced plant closures, we made sure that they were stocked, machinery could restart and production could continue.


The growth in internet traffic during the pandemic reflects the ecommerce opportunity Image: DHL


I am still surprised by the fact that of all the origin and destination country pairs there is still 25% with no recorded commerce at all. This makes it quite clear that many countries and firms still haven’t tapped into the benefits of increased connectedness, the potential gains from which can reach trillions of dollars. By connecting countries and corporations to new markets, ecommerce can be a powerful driver of additional growth and prosperity all over the world. RECONNECT FOR MORE RESILIENCE As countries strive to recover from the impact of the virus, they will deal with economic hardship and political upheaval. Our industry has to take a stand. We need to articulate the value of trade and globalisation and explain how they can bring prosperity to deprived communities, improving livelihoods and expectations around the world. Technology enables us to mobilize the planet’s resources and bring together human ingenuity to fight this and future crises. That’s why I believe the isolationist tendencies witnessed during this pandemic (whilst unavoidable some would say) will be transitory. The way globalisation works is changing, but it is far from disappearing. This year’s DHL Global Connectedness Index validates all of this and more. In fact, I still harbour a belief that 2020 will be remembered as the year the world grasped how much our well-being depends on global connection and collaboration. Let’s not see these changes as a lifeboat; let’s reimagine them as a growth rocket.

*John Pearson Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express, Deutsche Post DHL





Better Networking Begins With Your Beliefs Be honest: What do you miss least about working life before Covid-19? After the long commute, a close second might be networking events. It’s well known by now – and research confirms it – that the very idea of networking can make all but the most extreme extroverts feel awkward, inauthentic and even dirty by Ko Kuwabara*


e honest: What do you miss least about working life before Covid-19? After the long commute, a close second might be networking events. It’s well known by now – and research confirms it – that the very idea of networking can make all but the most extreme extroverts feel awkward, inauthentic and even dirty.

Take caution, however. Using the rarity of in-person interactions during the pandemic as an excuse for a prolonged networking hiatus stands to damage your career over the long term. From staying plugged into the latest developments in your industry to finding unforeseen opportunities, networking brings so many professional benefits that it should be considered a must-do rather than a nice-to-have. A moratorium on networking is just as detrimental to your career as giving up on exercising is for your health. And that’s especially true during periods of great uncertainty, such as the deep recession brought on by the pandemic. Conventional advice instructs people on the how and the why of networking, but does little to address the deeper problem: getting and staying motivated to take part in this “necessary evil”. My recent papers in Academy of Management Review and Social Networks mount a theoretical and experimental attack on this problem by exploring ways in which people’s hidden beliefs can hold them back from networking. Our findings indicate that challenging these beliefs can alter people’s propensity to engage in real-world networking. LAY THEORIES OF NETWORKING Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s work in motivational

psychology introduced the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” to the popular lexicon of personal growth. According to Dweck’s concept, to be fixed is to believe that our abilities are essentially determined at birth and we can make only minor self-improvements. Possessing a growth mindset means seeing oneself as a continual work-in-progress, with much looser limits on what we can do and become. Whether one’s mindset is growth or fixed may predict one’s motivation to perform uncomfortable or unfamiliar activities (such as learning a new language). Fixed-mindset people will not only see less purpose in attempting difficult tasks, but will also be much more sensitive to the little inevitable failures that occur along the way. If one’s potential is basically static, then errors are perceived as a threat to basic selfworth. If, however, one recognises a wider capacity for self-growth, then stumbles may even be welcomed as learning experiences on the pathway to greatness. Adapting Dweck’s framework for the networking context, we theorised in the Academy of Management Review paper (co-authored by Claudius A. Hildebrand of Boston Consulting Group and Xi Zou of Nanyang Technological University) that motivation to network would partly depend on whether people held fixed or malleable attitudes towards three key aspects of networking: social intelligence, social relations and social capital. We call these attitudes lay theories of networking ability. For example, holding a fixed mindset about social intelligence means believing that one’s ability to network – what makes a good networker – is largely a matter



of basic personality traits, such as how extroverted or charismatic you naturally are. Similarly, a fixed idea about social relations would be that two people would either “hit it off” or not, depending on compatibility factors which neither can control, e.g. race, gender or social class. In this view, networking feels morally suspect (fake and superficial, cloaking social differences under the mantle of polite sociability) in addition to being largely useless (because the outcome is fixed in advance). We thus surmised that people with a fixed mindset would be more likely to experience negative feelings and low motivation to put themselves out there. TESTING THE THEORIES We put our theoretical model to the test in the Social Networks paper. First, we administered a survey to 215 full-time North American professionals about their feelings and beliefs regarding networking. The expected mental and emotional correlations were evident: Respondents claiming to have fixed beliefs about networking (e.g. “Good networkers are born that way”) were more likely to say they dreaded it, and that it was both useless and morally suspect.


In a subsequent survey involving 131 MBA students, we asked about actual networking activity as well as feeling and beliefs. The same correlations as the previous study appeared as well, along with a statistically significant predictive effect. High-fixedness MBAs felt negatively about networking, were morally opposed to it, and indeed engaged in it much less than their more malleable peers. Finally, we wanted to see whether prompting people to shift their beliefs could change their feelings and behaviour around networking. Again working with MBAs, we assigned a reading that would seem to affirm either the malleable or fixed mindset. The former argued that “networking is a skillset, much like learning a new language”, while the latter attributed networking success to “inborn dispositions and natural personality characteristics”. Four weeks later, the MBAs completed the survey from the first two studies and were asked to list the on-campus networking events they’d taken part in since they completed the reading. We found that the beliefs conveyed in the article were absorbed by the participants to a significant degree; participants thus primed to have fixed beliefs and negative opinions about networking attended fewer events, and vice versa.


In later studies, we found that fixed/malleable readings given to participants at three networking events affected their sentiment about the event after the fact. In other words, changing people’s mindsets helped to determine whether their experience of networking was more positive or negative. NETWORKING IN COVID TIMES At this point, you may be wondering: Why would anyone hold a fixed mindset? The answer: Because many of us do not realise that holding such a simple belief can have such significant consequences. Networking, after all, is nothing more than an encounter between human beings with different needs, perspectives and ideologies. If you believe that networking is a manipulative, false, exploitative enterprise, then it will be for you. But if you choose to exercise your agency and bring your best to each new person that you meet, the possibilities for personal and career growth may be endless. Networking with a growth mindset gives the endeavour a promising open-endedness. Fixed beliefs, on the other hand, will likely produce disappointment as failure to reap immediate gains from each encounter will

seem to confirm your notions of networking as a waste of time, and of yourself as an irredeemably bad networker. What would a growth mindset towards networking look like during Covid-19? In the middle of a pandemic, it is indeed hard to forge brand-new connections and make them stick. However, there are undoubtedly people you’ve known for a while with whom you could reconnect. Perhaps someone you enjoyed running into and chatting with at pre-pandemic industry events would appreciate it if you got in touch, with no agenda other than to check in and see how they are doing amidst all the Covid chaos. Who knows where such informal, purely human contact could lead? Stay flexible, resist the temptation to impose fixed criteria – and networking in a pandemic could take on a whole new (and much more enjoyable) meaning.

*Ko Kuwabara Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour



Members of the Social Committee interviewed by Judith Van Parys cooperative life manager NewB

The new CEO of NewB Thierry Smets

NewB: sustainable, ethical and cooperative banking in Belgium by Rein van Gisteren*


e live in difficult times, but after 60 years Belgium gets a new consumer bank, a cooperative bank with, at the moment, 116,000 owners. In other words, 1 % of the Belgian population. New B positions itself as a sustainable and ethical bank “for a society that respects the planet and human


rights�. No frills, no misleading promises, no buttons to encourage clients to take more risks, just straight language. NewB promises that it will not invest in weapons or polluting activities. The general assembly of the new bank took place on


November 21. It should have been a festive reunion, but because of COVID-19 there were not 1,200 attendants as a few years ago. It was a digital, bilingual, meeting in which more than 1.500 people took part. Remote voting allowed members to take the last of a series of decisions to get their bank up and running. Discussions had already taken place previously in smaller forums. So it was no surprise that Thierry Smets became the new CEO. His predecessor Tom Olinger was appointed as director. Olinger has led the bank to obtain the banking license. One of the first acts of Smets will be to update NewB’s business plan. Smets said in a message to the NewB community: “I am convinced that I will find here an environment, objectives and a mission that all correspond to my values. I hope that I can use all the knowledge and skills I have gained and developed during my career for NewB and that I can make this project a reality that meets the expectations of thousands of citizens.”

every day to share in the success: citizens that become owner of a bank. An important guarantee convinced doubters: should NewB not obtain the required banking license, the investment would be paid back in full. € 35 million was raised, five million more than the minimum demanded by the regulator, the National Bank of Belgium. NewB is supported by 340 civil society organisations and 11 institutional investors. 90 percent of the new investment amount came from individual citizens. Young people turned out to be over-represented: the largest age group is formed by 29-year-olds. The usual legal bank guarantee in Belgium up to € 100,000 applies to NewB savers. The so-called free banking market in Belgium had practically been closed for decades. Besides bank mergers and foreign initiatives, newcomers couldn’t realise an opportunity to enter the market since the fifties, but NewB has managed to break through.

Now the members have the possibility to open a current and a savings account. In 2021 followed by the 340 civil society organisations supporting the co-operative, as well as other Belgian organisations and companies. There are no exact dates attached to this procedure, the initiators of the bank want to operate cautiously: step by step.

NewB has no competitor who pursues economic and sustainable values in addition to cooperative values. New for a Belgian bank is that every NewB member has the same voting rights at the annual meeting, whether it concerns a share of twenty euros or a large share package

The general assembly also adopted a Charter which the principles for the bank's ethical conduct. This has been written down in an 80 pages document. The Charter describes that investments are only made in projects that meet strict criteria.

Since November the first account holders can have their money deposited into their NewB account. The head office of the bank is located in Brussels and operates as an internet bank. There are no plans to open a branch network. Step by step, the services will be expanded with the introduction of a debit card in June 2021.

For the time being, these are only bonds from EU member states. A Social Committee of sixteen non-paid members of the co-operative monitors the enforcement of the Charter. The number of NewB members more than doubled in November 2019 to the current number of 116,000. It was a bold plan: NewB wanted to raise an extra investment amount of € 30 million within one month with a limited campaign budget. During the first weeks, the amount slowly crept up nerve-racking. But towards the end of the period, confidence grew and thousands of Belgians were added

It is a smart combination with a NewB Visa debit card, a type of bank card that does not yet exist in Belgium. Oxfam fair trade shops, with its fine-meshed network in Belgium, will take care of the distribution of the NewB-Digipass, a device that allows people without a smartphone to register with the online bank.

*Rein van Gisteren is a publicist



How secure is your data? 3 predictions and 3 protections in the age of hybrid work Covid-19 introduced a paradigm shift in working culture. The new era of the “hybrid employee” has required a recalibration of how organisations provide secure, productive and digitally enabled environments for their employees. by Rafi Kretchmer*


ecurity teams are also having to deal with escalating threats to their new cloud deployments, as hackers seek to take advantage of the pandemic’s disruption: 71% of security professionals reported an increase in cyber-threats since lockdowns started. And this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Working from home under unusual circumstances, users become more dis-


tracted, prone to careless behaviour and don’t always comply with corporate security policies. A recent study revealed that 57% of employees insecurely save passwords in browsers on their corporate devices while 21% allow other members of their household to use their corporate devices for activities like schoolwork, gaming and shopping. All in all, it was found that 78%


of employees put data at risk inadvertently. This phenomena simply opens the door for more risk. Threat actors always seek to take advantage of major events or changes for their own gain. Looking to 2021, we should ask ourselves what are the major cyber-security related changes and events that we expect in the cyber landscape over the next 12 months? My 2021 predictions, and some guiding principles to prevent those potential cyber-attacks are: 1. Securing the new normal: the ‘new normal’ is here to stay. A recent Check Point survey found that half of all respondents believed that their organizations will not return to pre-pandemic norms for at least the next two years. Addressing the new normal means securing “hybrid employees” that work both from home and from office and require secure access from any location and any device, securing hyper-distributed enterprise applications that reside everywhere including traditional data centers and the cloud, and lastly, securing emerging IOT devices and networks. This will require organisations to recalibrate their cybersecurity approach around three main elements: Securing their networks; cloud environments and applications; and lastly, securing employees – wherever they are. Automation, consolidation and prevention will top CISOs agendas to stop advanced attacks spreading rapidly across organisations, and exploiting weaknesses to breach sensitive data. 2. COVID-19 and Vaccine related phishing campaigns: Pfizer, Moderna, the Russian vaccine – all those announcements carry a huge promise to society. But a COVID-19 vaccine, will not stop hackers from utilizing vaccine developments in phishing campaigns. The pharma companies developing vaccines will also continue to be targeted by malicious attacks from criminals or nation-states looking to exploit the situation. 3. Mobile applications security threats: Many of us are not aware how much of our personal information is being used by apps and devices demanding broad access to our media files, contacts and more. Yes, even your smart speaker knows your music habits by now. This problem has been magnified with patchy COVID-19 contact-tracing apps that have been rush-released with privacy problems, leaking data about individuals. With remote employees prone to careless behaviour, mobile malware targeting users’ banking credentials and committing click-fraud on adverts is still a sig-

nificant and growing threat. Recent research by IDC predicts that “Organisations must also be prepared to mitigate the additional cyber risks associated with workers remotely accessing enterprise resources over unmanaged networks (e.g., home networks, public hot spots) and from unmanaged devices.” The new hybrid employee and the above predictions require us to recalibrate how we secure our work. To meet this new reality, 3 guidelines organisations should consider: Complete, consolidated protection - Today’s enterprises are hyper distributed with applications residing everywhere and users connecting from anywhere. To deliver complete protection across datacenters, perimeters, cloud, mobile, endpoint and IOT, organizations frequently implement multiple cybersecurity solutions. As a result, they are frequently left with a costly, patchwork security architecture. Adopting a consolidated security approach will help businesses realize complete, preemptive protection against the most advanced threats while achieving better operational efficiency. Complete protection also means that your security solutions will have to address all potential attack vectors as cyber criminals become more and more sophisticated. Real-time prevention - Real-time prevention is the key to protecting our organisations and employees from zero-day cyber-attacks. Organisations will have to deploy pre-emptive user protections to eliminate threats before they reach the users regardless of the user activity. Employee awareness and education - The human factor may sometimes represent the weakest link even when all the technology stack is there. Organisations will have to invest in employee awareness and education. These measures should include testing employee skills in detecting phishing emails, training on how to avoid social engineering attacks and reiterating corporate data and security policies. *Rafi Kretchmer VP, Product Marketing, Check Point Software Technologies **first published in:



Culture is the source of creativity; innovation is the vitality of culture Over the last decade, UNESCO’s advocacy for a culture-based approach to sustainable development has resulted in several United Nations General Assembly Resolutions that acknowledge the role of culture as an enabler of sustainable development. by Alexandra Papaisidorou* 46 | EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW



espite the many challenges that the pandemic has posed to the culture sector, cultural event organisers also have an opportunity to experiment with different modalities and topromote flexible hybrid models – online and in person – to leverage the benefits of both. An exclusive interview with Ernesto R. Ottone, UNESCO, Assistant Director-General for Culture. DOES THE DEVELOPMENT OF ONLINE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO THE POPULARISATION OF ART AND CULTURE IN SOCIETY? It is no surprise that 2020 has been a very challenging year for the culture sector worldwide. The cultural and creative industries are among the most severely impacted with more than 7 million jobs affected in Europe (Eurostat, May 2020). Between March and June, 90% of countries totally or partially closed their World Heritage Sites, and 95% of the estimated 60,000 museums worldwide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extensive closure of heritage sites, the cancellation or postponement of cultural events, and the suspension of cultural production and distribution has already had significant social and economic repercussions on the future of an already vulnerable sector. While the abrupt and considerable drop in cultural tourism – which makes up for some 40% of world tourism revenues (UNWTO) – has had negative impacts on cultural institutions, like museums, the latter have seen a 200% increase in their online presence by April thanks to the multitude of digital solutions adopted by museums during and after the lockdown. The Prado Museum in Madrid was one of the first to offer online visits, trainings and webinars with a variety of educational material. By launching virtual visits, the museum fully embraced the role that digitalization can play in the future of cultural institutions. Other illustrations of the power of digitalisation for expanding outreach, diversifying audiences and adapting to the constantly evolving demands of audiences have been witnessed across museums worldwide. Yet, despite a variety of innovative online initiatives, in the culture sector and beyond, we must remember that some 46% of the global population remains offline and that the vast majority of these estimated 3.6 billion people are in developing countries. In addition, the lack of multilingual and diverse digital contents persists, which in turn contributes towards the concentration and homogenisation of content within the culture sector and to the loss of cultural diversity. An interesting initiative can be found within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the joint venture of the Culture

Secretariat of Mexico City and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, both Creative Cities of Design, who agreed to combine their digital information and cultural platforms, in order to offer a wider range of artistic and cultural expressions from both countries. With this agreement, the digital platforms Capital Cultural en Nuestra Casa (Culture capital in our home), from the Government of Mexico City, and Cultura en Casa (Culture at home), from the Government of the City of Buenos Aires are jointly offering a wide and diverse arts programme and performances that are part of the cultural life of both cities. Libraries, as purveyors of culture, must also innovate and adapt to the current situation, while remaining user-friendly and accessible to all. As for museums and other cultural institutions, this will require a deliberate investment in technology, capacity- and skills development, the distribution of diverse online cultural contents, and redesigning preservation protocols to ensure their sustainability in the future. Many good practices could be multiplied and replicated, such as the Moroccan International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions which offered free e-books, accessible to all, and a book drive-thru set-up in Wonju, a UNESCO Creative City of Literature from the Republic of Korea, which provides access to literature to people without having to leave their cars. It is important to underline that mobility restrictions as well as the numerous partials or complete closures of cultural institutions such as museums, cinemas, theatres and festivals forced the whole cultural ecosystem to reflect on the sector’s recovery. The main challenge for countries will be to determine novel ways for culture to redefine its value in the pervasive “digital reality”. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing the culture sector to adapt. Whilst many of the measures implemented may be temporary, some may lead to long-term structural changes to the ways in which the sector operates and vis-à-vis evolving audiences. Festivals have been severely impacted by the pandemic as the closure of borders and social distancing limitations have forced a large number of cancellations and postponements. Many festivals have adapted by going online with support from platforms such as YouTube or Facebook and some have launched their own channels, which they aim to keep active beyond the event. Despite the many challenges that the pandemic has posed to the culture sector, cultural event organisers also have an opportunity to experiment with different modalities and to promote flexible hybrid models – online and in person – to leverage the benefits of both. Online sessions stimulate knowledge sharing, foster access to culture and ensure environmental sustainability, while live sessions contribute to building and maintaining strong



social ties. To bring culture closer to its citizens during the lockdown period, Rome, a UNESCO Creative City of Film, launched the project #Cinemadacasa, projecting well known film sequences and images on building facades throughout the city. These hybrid and innovative modalities must remain profitable in order to guarantee the livelihoods of culture professionals and to strengthen the creative economy. HOW CAN CULTURE HYBRIDISATION BE A POWERFUL TOOL FOR ACHIEVING SOCIAL UNITY? WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO TEACH ETHICS AND VALUES? AND WHAT KIND OF ETHICSAND VALUES? Our culture fosters our responses to our environment, our interactions with nature, our world views and our history, among other aspects. No culture is static or impervious to others. This is what constitutes both our common humanity and our cultural diversity. Recognising and respecting our cultural diversity is a prerequisite for social cohesion. This is why UNESCO, along with its Member States, strives to give particular attention to those cultural practices and expressions that help communities to transcend and address differences notably of gender, belief, ethnicity, and locality. Culture contributes to building peaceful, inclusive societies, by fostering the integration of indigenous peoples, migrants, immigrants and refugees, people of different ages and genders, persons with disabilities and members of marginalised groups. Very often, it is in this mutual respect and understanding that solutions must be found in order to foster unity and contribute to peaceful conflict resolution. Under the theme of Community centred urban development: a paradigm of inclusive growth, the UNESCO celebration of the World Cities Day 2020 on 30 October next will further highlight communities’ central role in building sustainable societies across different development dimensions, especially in the urban context where different peoples and cultures converge and interact. By safeguarding and promoting cultural expressions and heritage from all over the world, UNESCO seeks to protect and foster this cultural diversity, especially among the youngest. UNESCO’s standard-setting instruments, including the Culture Conventions and Recommendations, support countries in fulfilling this priority, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, such as ‘promoting global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity’ (4.7) and ‘safeguarding the world's cultural and natural heritage’ (11.4). WHAT IS THE BEST MODEL FOR REPRESENTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THAT INCLUDES ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, SOCIAL


AND CULTURE AS ITS DIMENSIONS? Over the last decade, UNESCO’s advocacy for a culture-based approach to sustainable development has resulted in several United Nations General Assembly Resolutions that acknowledge the role of culture as an enabler of sustainable development. This process culminated in the integration of culture in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015 by the 193 United Nations Member States. Culture has since been recognised by the international community as a transformative resource for more sustainable models, including through the promotion of a sustainable tourism that is considerate of local cultures, values and products, the protection and safeguarding of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, and support for productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. UNESCO’s commitment to ensuring that the transformative power of culture in enabling sustainable development, is constantly renewed, most recently with the development of the Thematic Indicators for Culture in the 2030 Agenda (Culture|2030 Indicators). In addition, several UNESCO standard-setting instruments in the field of culture such as the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions integrate culture and sustainable development as part of the rights and obligations of State Parties. These instruments highlight the role of culture, creativity and artistic innovation for development and, in so doing, they advance a human-centred approach that effectively yields sustainable, inclusive and equitable outcomes. This transversal approachaddresses development as a process that encompasses the enlargement of humanopportunities and freedoms, beyond the benefits of economic growth. Indeed, sustainable development must be intrinsically comprehensive, interlinking all aspects of our society, with culture as an integral part of its backbone. Composed of 8 UNESCO city networks and programmes from all of the Organisation’s fields of expertise, the UNESCO Cities Platform embodies UNESCO’s holistic vision on sustainable development with, which harnesses the transversal role of culture across the economic, social and environmental dimensions. WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC? Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have already implemented support schemes for the culture sector, which range from “direct support” by providing emergency relief to those whose livelihoods have been directly impacted, to “indirect support” including tax exemptions, tax


in innovative ways will be essential. In this context, UNESCO launched on 15 April 2020 the ResiliArt movement; a series of open-format virtual debates that provide culture professionals and artists with a platform for dialogue and exchange, and bridge civil society and policy makers. As of October 2020, more than 160 ResiliArt debates have been independently organized by artists and partners in over 60 countries, shedding light on the far-reaching impact of the current health crisis on the culture sector. The opinions and recommendations voiced will be shared with the Member States of UNESCO in order to encourage the development of policies and financial mechanisms that support artists, culture professionals and institutions through effective assistance during and beyond the crisis.

deferrals and preferential loans. The pandemic has had an impact on the right of access to culture and the participation and enjoyment of artistic creations by the public. Mobility restrictions and confinement measures have drastically curtailed the fundamental right to take part in cultural life. The direct communication between artists and artworks, and the public, has been severely hampered. People can no longer appreciate artworks in exhibition spaces or experience the sentiment of artists performing on a stage. Direct and indirect government support is useful in the short term to help the sector to survive the abrupt hardship. However, the protracted consequences of the pandemic and its related side-effects such as the economic and social crisis will have a longer-term negative impact on the culture sector, from cultural events and cultural practices to museum visits, festivals and performances, including the creation and consumption of cultural products. The cultural sector, hand in hand with policy makers, will need to find solutions to minimise the negative effects and transform the latter into opportunities to rethink strategies for the sector and to engage consumers in the longer term. The impact of the crisis will further weaken the professional, social and economic conditions of artists and culture professionals, particularly individual entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises who often do not have the financial means to respond to a crisis of this magnitude. This is particularly relevant in countries with a large informal economy. Capturing the voices of artists and culture professionals

Novel approaches must be stimulated and reinforced, and a reflection launched on how this digital shift can provide a new driving force for furthering regional and international cooperation in particular, as well as local initiatives and actions. The exchange of experiences and good practices can open up areas for innovative cooperation mechanisms to safeguard the economic and social fabric of the culture sector and support its recovery in the aftermath of the crisis. This could also provide momentum for shaping cultural policies. The latest UNESCO e-publication entitled ‘UNESCO Creative Cities’ Response to COVID-19’ features a wide variety of innovative, culture-driven practices including urban policies and local actions, undertaken by Creative Cities around the world over the past months in the context of the current pandemic, enriching the collective reflection and discussions on COVID-19 recovery during and beyond the health crisis. Current trends point to a deeper fusion between culture, creativity, innovation and technology worldwide, greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Culture is the source of creativity; innovation is the vitality of culture. This further integration will undoubtedly bring about more innovative culture-powered solutions to challenges on our path to a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable society. However, it is important to note that as large platforms begin to dominate the global creative landscape, there is a great risk that the diversity of cultural expressions will be reduced in the long term, resulting in the loss of local cultural content.. *Alexandra Papaisidorou Editor-at-large / PhD cand. University of Piraeus, Cultural Diplomacy & International Relations



YES TO SHIPPING FORUM 2020 “Life is a journey and career is a marathon" by EBR


he open dialogue among the young generation and the spectrum of Greek maritime cluster was the winner of a 3 hour marathon.

On Thursday, October 29th 2020 YES to Shipping Forum 2020 took place with great success just before Posidonia Web Forums week ends, with the participation of 25 speakers representing the Greek maritime cluster and 25 young people studying maritime, economics, technology, law and students from merchant marine Academies who are willing or are already doing their first steps in the field. Xenia Kourtoglou, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Focus Bari, presented the results of the research conducted on behalf of YES FORUM , regarding the view of young people on the requirements of the shipping market and the expectations of Shipping Companies from them. The results of the research are of particular interest, concern both sides and will be considered by YES FORUM. Indicatively, it should be noted that young people grade Greek shipping as a developed and competitive industry worldwide with 8.2 / 10. However, they acknowledge the difficulty of finding work, for which they consider a necessity to have a recommendation. Respectively, among the leaders’ first priorities are the


character and values of the young people. They appreciate those who are always willing to try and they provide them with opportunities. However, they acknowledge that there is a certain percentage of the young generation who need to put more effort in order to be able to be part of the industry. Another conclusion that emerged from the research was that young people need to set realistic goals and shipping companies need to strengthen their anthropocentric approach to reach their personnel’s potential. The questions asked concerned the adaptability of the young people in the field, the necessary qualifications of a young person in the competitive shipping environment, the conditions he/she must meet to work in specific areas of shipping such as chartering, finance, technical and technology Companies, and after all, the importance of the absolute relevance between the field of study and work. Speakers also underlined the value of participating in voluntary and non-profit organizations, the importance of mentoring and the prospects of synergies. Three phrases that can be highlighted from the Forum are: "Life is a journey and career is a marathon" - "May you be possessed by the pessimism of the logic and the optimism of the will"! "It does not matter to move slow or fast, but to move forward."



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.