European Business Review (EBR)

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ISSUE 5-2017 / YEAR 21st - PRICE 5,00 € / $6,00

Jens Plötner Greece has the potential to be an attractive business destination

Alexis Tsipras 2018 will be a milestone for Greece and the Greek economy Geoffrey R. Pyatt Breakfast with the US Ambassador in Athens

Enrique Viguera This is the right moment to invest in Greece

Christophe Chantepy We need Europe to invest more into the future








INDEX Founder

Konstantinos C. Trikoukis Chairman

Athanase Papandropoulos Publisher

Christos K. Trikoukis



Speak up Brussels! It’s time to emphasise the EU’s virtues

Turkey: Europe Out, Middle East In



Children must be at the heart of debate on Europe’s future

2018 will be a milestone for Greece and Greek economy



Breakfast with the US Ambassador in Athens, Mr. Geoffrey R. Pyatt

Dreaming of a White Christmas: The best European cities for the holiday season



Life in 2030: these are the 4 things experts can’t predict

Crisis reputation management: quick steps for Kobeiko and brand Japan

Editor in Chief

N. Peter Kramer Editorial Consultant

Anthi Louka Trikouki Issue Contributors

Giles Merritt, Jana Hainsworth, Sami Mahroum, Ian Anderson, Margarita Chrysaki, Lee Rainie, Nantia Tigani, Antonis Zairis, Soner Cagaptay, Markus Hilgert, Emma Russell, Despina Anastasiou, Eirini Sotiropoulou, Alexandra Papaisidorou, Evangelos G. Mytilineos, Christophe Chantepy, Jens Plötner, Nikos Karageorgiou, Peggy Antonakou, Evangelos Kaloussis, Niels Schreuder, Radu Magdin, Wout van Wijk Correspondents

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ISSUE 5-2017 / NOV. - DEC. 2017, YEAR 21st Published bimonthly under the license of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review trademark is a property of Christos K. Trikoukis. European Business Review is strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Reproduction without official permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. Every case is taken in compiling the contents of that magazine, but we assume no responsibility for the affects arising therefrom. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher nor of the European Business Review magazine.

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The Winter Garden offers the city’s most elegant and enchanting refuge for European breakfast, light lunch, high tea or dinner accompanied by live piano music.






By N. Peter Kramer

The ‘war’ between the EU institutions


n the media one can often read, ‘the EU has decided…’, ‘the EU wants…’ or even ‘the EU warns…’. The question every time is, what do they mean by: EU? Closer reading shows that sometimes it is one of the 28 European Commissioners, a spokesperson of the European Council, or, in the worst case, one of the 751 members of the European Parliament, about whom no one has ever heard. So, take care and come what may, don’t panic. More interesting is the on-going rivalry between the European Council and the European Commission. In the first week of December, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker launched a plan for deepening the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). A new minister for the Eurozone, the pet topic of President Macron, is one of the proposals. The Council dismissed Juncker’s plan as an unhelpful overreach on fiscal policy and the latest stunt in the intense, and escalating, tug-of-war for control of the EU. ‘It is indeed very much about institutional interests, both in timing and substance’, one senior Council official said according to Politico. The Commission regards the Council as leading the Union in too lax a fashion and occasionally allowing individual member states not to stick to the rules and agreements. The refusal by Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to receive refugees is a recent example. At the heart of the rivalry are two competing visions of the future of the EU: Juncker’s last State of the Union speech and Council President Tusk’s ‘Leaders’ Agenda’. Read for Leaders, the Heads of State and Government of the 28 (27 without the UK) EU member states, and definitely not the President of the Commission. And the European Parliament? In general it is on the side of the Commission, a more unconditional European thinking body, almost automatically putting the national interests of the member states in second place. A former Commissioner once said: ‘in a normal democracy, the parliament expresses the discontent of the citizens and asks tough questions. But the EP is the most uncritical believer amongst believers in a more federal EU’. In other words, the EP is not a normal parliament because the EU is not a (normal) democracy.




Speak up Brussels! It’s time to emphasise the EU’s virtues This has been a roller-coaster year for Europe. It opened amidst widespread despondency, chiefly over Brexit but also over the rising tide of populism, then perked up when euro-enthusiast Emmanuel Macron was elected to the French presidency, and now is drifting back towards the doldrums. by Giles Merritt *




he momentum for tackling outstanding issues like Eurozone reform is slowing. The outcome of Germany's Bundestag elections isn't helping, and nor are developments in Catalonia, Austria and the four 'Visegrad’ countries.

The EU's popularity has been somewhat volatile, but the overall picture is worrying. There was a slight lift in support in the wake of the Brexit referendum, probably because people elsewhere in continental Europe recoiled from the idea of going down the same uncertain route. Since then, pollsters have identified disquieting trends.

Brussels should be devoting its energies and resources to explaining in idiomatic language the policies that have shaped the EU, and made it the envy of governments around the world.

Missing from these ups-anddowns has been the voice of the EU itself. Yes, Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker tried for an upbeat tone in his annual ‘State of the Union’ speech in September, but its echoes were scarcely heard beyond Brussels. A louder and more confident note is needed to underscore the EU's successes. Underscore isn't the right word; inform and educate would be more appropriate. Far too few Europeans know in any detail what the EU contributes to their lives. In the UK, the shambles of the Brexit negotiations has begun to alert public opinion to the EU's worth, but few people beyond Britain know or care. Although much of the uncertainty over Europe's future lies outside Brussels’ powers and responsibilities, the EU needs to exert itself far more on the PR front. The national politics that have created this year's turbulence reflect voters’ often negative perceptions of the EU.

In a survey by Pew researchers, the proportion of people ‘unfavourable’ to the EU reached 44% in France, even higher than the UK's 40%. In Italy it was 39%, 35% in Spain and 30% in Germany. These are no doubt the Eurosceptic voters who have been largely responsible for the rise of populist politicians. And when Pew asked people for their views of 42 mainstream political parties across Europe, an alarming total of only five parties received a positive rating - two in Germany and in the Netherlands and one in Sweden. It's a commonplace that the EU gets blamed by its own member governments for policies they themselves initiated. And it is also true that resentments over problems like immigration or fiscal austerity are unfairly laid at the EU's door. All the more reason, then, for the



forward ideas for reaching out to schoolchildren and journalists. But these haven't gone down very well, and it's clear he would have done better to play to the EU's existing strengths. Brussels should be devoting its energies and resources to explaining in idiomatic language the policies that have shaped the EU, and made it the envy of governments around the world. People cannot be expected to appreciate the value of, say, trade or competition policies unless these are clearly spelled out. A glance at the impenetrable Europa website or any of the Commission's press releases makes the point. The European Union misses a great opportunity when it refuses to discuss controversial questions like Catalonia's future. Issues that top the news schedules offer a chance to explain the complexities and values of working together in Europe. European Commission to counter-attack loudly and often. When Juncker announced in September that the EU ‘now has the wind in its sails’, he urged the idea of a single President of Europe to combine leadership of both the Commission and the Council. He also put


Brussels’ failure to engage on hot topics is a serious mistake: No wonder so many European citizens are either lukewarm or downright wary of the EU. * Giles Merritt Founder of Friends of Europe and Europes World

OTE Group:

Building Greece’s digital future Digital transformation through technology and innovation OTE Group, a member of Deutsche Telekom Group, is the largest telecommunications provider in the Greek market. Together with its subsidiaries in Romania and Albania, it is one of the leading telecommunications groups in south-eastern Europe. OTE Group has managed,through a radical structural overhaul to transform from a former state monopolyto a modern, technology company and become the enabler of the digital transformation of Greece. In 2011, a concrete strategy was implemented which aimed to fix the basics, progressively focus on growth, and ultimately navigate through the digital era. Against the challenging backdrop of a severe financial and social crisis Greece has been facing over the last years, OTE Group became a customer oriented company which constantly upgrades the provided services. A big step to the customer experience enhancement has been the establishment of COSMOTE as the unified brand for all Group products in fixed and mobile telephony, as well as broadband services and pay TV. Overall the company offers a full range of services, from fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and wholesale telecommunication services, to pay-TV, ICT solutions and marine communications, real estate and professional training services. Today, OTE Group is the technology powerhouse of Greece.

try's development. Within only 8 months, OTE Group increased the number of cabins connected with fiber optics to more than 13,000. As a result, COSMOTE network is the largest fiber optic network in Greece, with a total route length of 43,000 km. OTE Group will upgrade 3,000 more cabins.Upon project completion, approximately 2.9 million households and businesses in 650 cities, towns and settlements all over Greece will have access to COSMOTE network, for higher internet speeds through fiber optics, which corresponds to more than 60% of the country's fixed lines.The ultimate goal and integral part of the OTE Group's technology projects is for the fiber optics to reach the households (Fiber to the Home). In mobile telephony, OTE Group also breaks new ground. It is No1 in Greece in terms of the population coverage achieved by its 4G network, exceeding 97%, while in the beginning of 2015, also launched its 4G+ LTE Advanced technology network. The population coverage of 4G+ has already exceeded 90%,offering speeds up to 500Mbps. Business partner of choice OTE Group is successfully navigating through the digital era, leading change. The company has already been involved in the field of IT integration, providing advanced technology solutions: COSMOTE Business IT Solutions. Having formed strategic partnerships for the implementation of complex projects, it is a partner of choice for businesses seeking modern solutions in the fields of health, tourism, information security, energy management, Data Center, Cloud and Internet of Things. Some of the prime ICT projects undertaken by the OTE Group are the installation and operation of Coca-Cola HBC’s data center for 28 countries, a data center and cloud services for the National Research & Technology Network, the national telemedicine network for the Aegean islands and the Fire Brigade’s digital operations center.

Enabling growth through infrastructure The new digital era changes radically the way we live, work and communicate. With this in mind, the OTE Group has invested in creating the infrastructure of the future. The Group is, by far, the largest investor in telecommunications in the country. It has invested over €2bn over the past six years for NGNs and has announced €1.5bn investments up to 2020 for the roll out of optical fiber and 4G/4G+. OTE Group runs the largest fiber optic network expansion project across Greece, a project which is a milestone to the counEUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW | 13




How Academics Can Rebuild Trust in Science The tools for overcoming declining trust in science lie in science itself by Ian Anderson *


cience is currently experiencing a reputation crisis. In previous years it has emerged that many landmark studies are not replicable and some have even been exposed for questionable methodologies or simple data errors. The media has caught on and is adding fuel to the fire in the form of ridicule, feeding the public’s scepticism of institutions and intellectualism in general.

This is a trust-based crisis, which is among the most difficult of crises to solve, especially as the phenomenon is proliferating across government, business and media. But it is incumbent on the scientific community to regain this trust.

and congresspeople who make decisions about funding studies and institutes. Businesses that fund research are also under unprecedented public scrutiny.

Public scepticism will be hard to overcome. While many have merely lost trust in the scientific community, others have become completely deaf to its self-correcting efforts, clinging to ideas that have been disproved by science itself at the expense of Scientists also need to market new research.

themselves better. They should aim to become more relatable. Putting a face to studies can increase people’s receptivity to them.

The public is not only a beneficiary of scientific advancements. It elects members of parliament, senators

Despite the fact that in 2010, The Lancet retracted the paper that first suggested a link between vaccines and autism and a mountain of evidence to the contrary, the anti-vax movement persists and even seems to be gaining momentum.



Fortunately, academia has an ace in the hole: science itself. TURNING THE TIDE By turning to well-established ideas that it has itself produced, the academic community has a solid base from which to respond. It begins with looking at why people react the way they do to information and what we can do about it. In their paper, “Perseverance of Social Theories: The Role of Explanation in the Persistence of Discredited Information”, Craig Anderson, Mark Lepper and Lee Ross found that even after the initial evidential basis for certain beliefs has been totally refuted, people fail to make appropriate revisions to those beliefs. People’s theories survive virtually intact even when personal beliefs based on inconclusive data from everyday experiences are corrected. Another study by Gregory Berns and colleagues examined what happens when an individual’s judgement conflicts with that of a group. It has previously been established that individuals will often conform to the group’s thinking because it is unpleasant to stand out. Berns et al. find that this conformity is associated with decreased activity in the part of the brain that controls reason, and increased activity in the regions of the brain where perceptions are formed. This makes it hard for anyone to stand up for science or even consciously believe in it when they conform to entire online communities of sceptics. An INSEAD study on Reddit showed that wild theories peddled by users with little credibility spread much better than credible information. The researchers also


found that the polarising nature of debate on the platform made it very hard for people to remain neutral as they entered the fray. When people have a choice of being for or against an idea, many swing in the wrong direction. WHY FAKE NEWS PROLIFERATES The proliferation of fake news is being driven by customised social media news feeds that provide ideological echo chambers for their users. People often share fake news knowingly, maybe because they believe in it but also because they gain social approval in the form of likes and shares from the likeminded. Fake news is also easier to understand. It is couched in simple ways and designed to provoke outrage. Science on the other hand, while thorough, presents people with uncertainty. People are not particularly likely to share information they do not think they understand, nor to spend time trying to understand it. Discomfort with the content and fear of standing out make people less likely to share scientific ideas or developments. In their book Denying to the Grave, Sara Gorman and Jack Gorman, however, argue that people are more likely to share ideas if they feel they can grasp the key concepts. There is also some evidence that making people aware of their biases and the way in which they are processing persuasive messages can help them rethink their attitudes. In one experiment, researchers exposed subjects to a message from either a likeable or dislikeable source. Some subjects were specifically told not to let “non-message” factors affect their judgement of the message. When subjects were already being persuaded by such a factor (e.g. the authority of the speaker), be-


ing alerted to a possible bias resulted in more careful scrutiny of the message and less bias in interpreting it. THE OPPORTUNITY FOR SCIENCE This presents science with a few key opportunities to start turning the tide. First, the scientific community needs to acknowledge that it has some problems. Honesty about the scientific method, why many studies produce flawed results and how science’s self-correcting mechanism works, would be a start. Personal beliefs are persistent. If we want to influence them, we have to alter the way information itself is presented. Ways to do this could include distilling the information into shorter form and including more background. Explaining the reason a certain study was carried out can give the public more context, teach them the history of the issue and even show how the study of the subject has advanced over time. Crucially, it will also be important to be transparent about the limits of the study and where it should advance. This may sound like a mammoth task, which requires nothing short of an academic paper to explain it all, but there are new technologies that can enable this such as short animated videos or even gamification. Methods like these can help people to reconsider ideas in a non-exhausted or non-loaded state, especially one in which self-esteem isn’t threatened: Those who lack confidence can’t be expected to contradict ideas of a group which comforts them.

According to Gorman and Gorman, a person with low self-esteem will be resistant to overly technical scientific arguments that have the not-so-hidden message “Even though you are not smart enough to understand what we scientists are telling you, believe us anyway.” Scientists also need to market themselves better. They should aim to become more relatable. Putting a face to studies can increase people’s receptivity to them. An exemplar in this regard is Neil deGrasse Tyson who attracts 10 million followers on Twitter. He makes science easy to understand, while putting the advances of science in context. His awe for study rubs off on others. So do his disarming jokes. Stephen Hawking isn’t on Twitter, but his book, A Brief History of Time, does an admirable job of explaining the origin of the universe, space and time, as well as the search for a unifying theory that can describe the universe in a coherent way. He also boasts in the opening pages that he has “sold more books on physics than Madonna has on sex”. To many academics, this might seem an effort they have little time for. But whether we like it or not, we are engaged in an information war. It will be crucial to better position our work and ourselves in order to disarm doubters and give us a better share of voice. * Ian Anderson PhD student in Marketing at INSEAD and a Crisis Communications Strategist



Turkey: Europe Out, Middle East In As the primary source of tourists visiting Turkey shifts from Europe to the Middle East, a 150 year-long era comes to a close by Soner Cagaptay *


ourism is a major part of Turkey’s economy, generating an estimated $35 billion in annual revenues. In 2014, nearly 37 million tourists made trips there, making Turkey the sixth most visited country in the world — not to mention the most visited Muslim-majority country. A CULTURAL BRIDGE NO MORE Over the past few decades, it was mostly Europeans who traveled to Turkey, accounting for over half of Turkey’s tourist visitors.


In a country where less than 15% of the population holds a passport, this provided an important cultural bridge — exposing many Europeans to Turkey, while also exposing Turks to European values. Yet, recent trends show that this bridge may be eroding. With the spate of terrorist attacks, diplomatic rifts and the July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey’s appeal as a destination for Europeans has gone down significantly. Last year, the number of visitors from traditional sources of visitors such as Germany and England plummeted. Overall tourist numbers dropped to just 25 million.


END OF A LONG TRADITION Although 2017 data indicate that the industry is recovering from that sharp drop, the longer-term trends point to a shift in the composition of tourists coming to Turkey. European tourists are swiftly being replaced by visitors from Middle Eastern countries. That has deep cultural and political ramifications.

Looking ahead, as a deep political crisis unfolds in Turkey and instability continues to rise, Ankara’s tensions with European governments will likely dissuade European tourists from visiting in the numbers they once did, at least for the foreseeable future.

Ever since the iconic Orient Express began service from Paris to Istanbul in 1883, Westerners have enjoyed traveling to Turkey. The Turkish republic’s first government tourism office was established under the Ministry of Economics in 1934, and a standalone Ministry of Tourism was created in 1963 to cater to the growing influx of Europeans. The largest boom occurred during the 1980s, due in large part to Prime Minister Turgut Ozal’s policy of opening the economy to international investment. Beach tourism in particular took off — a natural outcome considering the country’s 800 miles of coastline. Britons, Dutch, Germans and other northern and western Europeans began vacationing on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts in droves. That shift helped

push the country from the world’s 52nd most popular tourist destination in 1980 (with around one million foreign visitors per year) to 19th by 1997 (with nearly 10 million).

The upward trend continued after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Turkey became one of the world’s topten tourism destinations, receiving over one million visitors each from nations such as Germany, England, Russia and the Netherlands. Back then, two-thirds of tourists coming to Turkey came from OECD nations, while the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) — an organization consisting of former Soviet countries — accounted for 12.5%. Despite their proximity to Turkey, Middle Eastern countries comprised only 4.71% of tourists visiting the country. EUROPEANS OUT, MIDDLE EASTERNERS IN While previous Turkish governments largely ignored Muslim-majority countries as tourism sources for Turkey, the AKP has courted them with aggressive outreach campaigns that spurred most of this regional increase.



Tourist numbers from countries such as Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan grew by at least 15% from 2015 to 2016. Put another way, the diplomatic and safety concerns that slowed tourism from much of the rest of the world did not deter visitors from Middle Eastern and former Soviet countries. Even the number of tourists from Russia itself began to increase again once Ankara and Moscow reached a rapprochement over the shootdown incident. Looking ahead, as a deep political crisis unfolds in Turkey and instability continues to rise, Ankara’s tensions with European governments will likely dissuade European tourists from visiting in the numbers they once did, at least for the foreseeable future. THE SOCIAL DIMENSION Beyond the economic dimension, this has important social ramifications as well. On an evening stroll down Istanbul’s Istiklal Street, long a symbol of the city’s cosmopolitan identity, it is now rare to overhear conversations in languages besides Arabic and Turkish.


In past years, a wider mix of Turkish, English and many European languages was the norm. Similarly, many shop signs are now written in Arabic. And bars, art galleries and cultural venues once filled with intermingling European tourists and Turks have been replaced by vendors more likely to appeal to Middle Easterners (e.g., caftan shops, hookah lounges). The generational impact of this shift could be particularly powerful because only around 11% of Turks travel abroad. Even at its peak in 2015, the number of Turkish tourists who traveled internationally was less than 9 million out of a population of almost 80 million. Under those circumstances, many Turks get their only direct exposure to the outside world from interactions with tourists. In past decades, such interactions introduced them to European cultures and values. Now, most of the people they meet hail from Middle Eastern and former Soviet countries.

*Soner Cagaptay Director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute





Children must be at the heart of debate on Europe’s future Most people debating the future of Europe think in economic terms. But today we must think about how children in Europe are experiencing their childhood, as that will be the biggest determining factor of our future, writes Jana Hainsworth. by Jana Hainsworth *


espite evidence that economic growth is returning to the continent, years of austerity have pushed more and more people to the margins. Children, especially those at risk of poverty, continue to face the brunt of this cycle of disadvantage. 25 million children, to be precise.

The earlier we recognise that fragile democracies require care and attention, the stronger we will be. And this attention must come in the form of policy guidance and funding.

Last week, the EU leaders recognised that social inclusion is critical to bridging the democratic deficit. Our societies have become fragmented by fear Twenty years after the first EU Social Summit, heads mongering and populists who see the national interest of state gather in Gothenburg in trumping solidarity. This to sign their support to the is evident in our responses to European Pillar of Social the unaccompanied children Rights. With this, they have On children’s rights, the Social Pillar seeking refuge from war recommitted to the EU as and deprivation. Meanwhile, specifically commits governments to a social, and not only an autocratic leaders undermine protecting children from poverty by economic community. the efforts of civil society, providing children and their families thereby weakening our On children’s rights, the Social the quality services they need, in an democracy. Pillar specifically commits accessible and affordable manner. governments to protecting Children are not immune children from poverty by to the stresses of society. If providing children and their we, however, offer quality families the quality services services for children and support to their families, they they need, in an accessible and affordable manner. are more likely to achieve their dreams and goals, and as a result, become active and engaged adults. The Social Pillar also recommends that governments develop strategies to bring children’s voices and Similarly, we need to judge how to best integrate the perspectives into the decisions that affect their lives children and young people arriving in Europe, who are and the services that they use. eager to build a new home, learn new languages and make new friends. Delivering a future for Europe must The next Multi-Annual Financial Framework has mean investing first in children. to provide the means with which to realise this commitment. The next EU budget cycle has to learn With Brexit discussions ongoing, the EU is reassessing from past successes and failures. It is short-sighted, and reorganising its policies and finances for the future. for example, to focus the European Social Fund on short-term employment measures. Investment in EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen recently children, families and communities will produce more supported childcare and social inclusion policies sustainable returns. as good investments, for their social and economic returns. Comparing return on investment of building Tying regulations on the use of EU structural funds roads, she said childcare practically pays for itself. to deinstitutionalisation, the process of transforming



child protection [so that separating children from families is the last resort] is a positive example. This has enabled several national governments to access the additional funding they need to reform their child protection systems. As the proposal for the next MFF is expected to shape public debate on the future of the block, we are convinced that it must similarly make tackling child poverty a thematic priority.

The children’s rights community, with children and young people themselves, is eager to support the development of such mechanisms and hold the EU leaders to their commitments. We bring a dozen children from across Europe to speak directly to the European Parliament about their vision of the Europe they want. We are pleased the European Parliament has stepped up its work with children and young people through its designated intergroup over the last few years; yet we see the potential to achieve much more across all EU institutions if children’s rights are given the prominence they deserve. Children and young people have enormous creative energy to address the challenges of our time. Listening to them will reinvigorate our democracies. We also need to give them the chance to contribute to the debates on the Future of Europe. We hope today will kick-start that process so that the transformation of the European Union reflects their aspirations and ideals. Let’s make this moment a positive turning point for Europe and its children. * Jana Hainsworth is the secretary general of Eurochild

** First published at


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20 years mark a milestone in everyone’s life Christos K. Trikoukis, Publisher


t is the time when you think you know everything but actually it is when you start learning, the time when you start to see the world from another angle, more mature, optimistic, inspired but cautious. The time when you think you can change the world, your world. I was 20 when my father got the idea. Let’s call it the “European Business Review”! Everyone in the meeting room looked at him with surprise and wonder. The 90’s were the years of affluence in Greece. Banks offering loans to everyone, a flourishing stock market,


low unemployment rates, new business opportunities and of course lots of EU funding… Who would really care at this time about EU affairs? All problems were solved domestically. Or at least we thought so. A lot of things have changed since then. A common currency, an enlarged European Union, globalised ideas, new policies, opportunities and risks. The EU institutions influence our societies, our business decisions, our daily life. Everyone suddenly realised


that we are not on our own. We need to interact in a common environment, to think and communicate effectively, to understand the new norms and global balances. Greece changed also radically. Almost 10 years of deep crisis forced us to transform our mind-sets. Hopefully, Greece seems that is now recovering, slowly but steadily. That is why we decided to celebrate our 20 years anniversary with an issue dedicated to the place where the story of the European Business Review started. I would like to thank all our contributors, partners and colleagues that shared throughout the 20 years the same vision and forward-thinking of our founder. The people that trust us and give us both the inspiration and the courage to continue this journey. For another 20 years to come!





2018 will be a milestone for Greece and Greek economy by Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Greek Government


ccording to the latest figures, Greece's economy has been developing for the first time in the last three quarters, something that has not happened since 2006, while the indications show us that the final result will be that of the forecasts, launching a new era of credibility in assessments that has nothing to do with previous years' predictions, especially during the first years of the crisis, when they were talking about marginal growth all the time, but continually recession and most specifically, a deep recession was taking place. Unemployment from its highest rate at the end of 2014 has now dropped by around 7 points, with about 300,000 new job positions and close to the first mark of 20%. In the financial sector, we have achieved a historic, credible adjustment for the first time in the European history. With this positive dynamic, we will welcome the New Year, and therefore, 2018 will be a year - crossroads for Greece and the Greek economy, with the country leaving behind the memorandums in August 2018, and with them, I would say, and an entire era, an entire historical age, and enters the next day with strong growth rates, renewed and, most importantly, with faith in its own forces. Also, recently, a very positive development with strong meaning was the timely closure of the technical part of the 3rd Assessment, and most importantly with the best possible conditions for the country and the Greek society. More specifically, it is worth mentioning that the agreement, despite the well-known Cassandres, was not accompanied by new fiscal measures. On the contrary, the credibility of our fiscal effort has not only allowed the avoidance of new measures, but also strengthens the structures of the welfare state, with a substantial increase in the budget for family allowances by about 30% on average. Similarly, based on OECD's best international practices and recommendations, changes in product markets, the removal of bureaucratic obstacles and the creation of a pro-investment climate, have been created. Lastly, we have secured through the Public Property Development Fund that it will prevent the forced sale of public property, as some people would like or wish. Public property

will be upgraded and exploited with the involvement of the private sector, with the aim of creating jobs and generating added value for local communities. The market has already placed the Greek economy to the pre-crisis levels and the green light for the final exit from the Memoranda in a few months from today, the next summer, in the summer of 2018, is lit. This is the scene. The best answer to all those who cannot accept, cannot understand that Greece is turning page, is the results. Real facts as reflected in our economic indicators, our credit ratings upgrades, the international analysts' reports, our exit from the excessive deficit procedure during last summer, a historic moment, after nearly 7 years, to the positive reception of Greek bonds in the summer, but also a few days ago from the international market. Greece has finally gained a culture of change and reform. We are no longer fearful of the changes and the links to the past interests that prevented progress have been permanently broken. This recognition has been translated into practical support with participation in Greek companies, capital increases in listed companies and investments in large projects. We are therefore seeking the upward trend of the Greek economy to have sustainable features in the future. Our main goal is to pass the positive effects of growth within society itself, in the form of well-paid jobs and strong social protection structures. And this can only be achieved, based on a new and fair production model, while deepening progressive reforms. Because after August 18 we have no pre-requisites for reforms, but we will not stop the reforms. We will move on to our own plan of deep cuts and reforms that Greek society and non-Greek economy need. And we should start this dialogue from now. The country


overcome these difficulties. One of these problems, is the high taxation. It is a very difficult political decision, under the pressure of the extraordinary circumstances that hit the country and the pressure of our creditors, to leave the long period of deficits that led us to the crisis. However, our belief when we took this political decision was and continues to be that these conditions cannot be permanent but temporary. And the exit from the crisis will once again allow the reduction of tax rates. This has already been predicted by what we have agreed and voted in the Parliament, such as the medium-term program, to take place immediately. In 2019 we will begin to notice the fiscal space created and, of course, this will be based primarily on the success of the economy and the potentials for sustainable growth. Our ally is the credible and sustainable fiscal adjustment that we have systematically shaped. must not stop moving forward, changing with bold cuts and reforms. Only these reforms must have our own stamp, the broad consensus of the productive forces, the healthy forces of the Greek society, and of course the trust and consensus of the Greek people. The utilization of our comparative advantages cannot be relied solely on national champions, but goes through the reinforcement of inter-branch co-operation and interdependence. This means creating integrated value chains and promoting synergies. Above all, I would say that, the development process is mainly a social process and we would defeat its concept if we limited it to the economic field. The market produces new wealth and value, but at the same time produces all sorts of inequalities, income, education, opportunities inequalities and access to critical sectors such as health and education. The participation of society as an active and component development factor guarantees its sustainability and prosperity in the long term. This is proved by the experience of successful developmental examples, wherever in the world. Therefore, development and social justice are not mutually exclusive, conflicting concepts, but I would say they are interdependent and closely dependent concepts. I am not trying to describe an ideal situation. There are still problems and difficulties and we are called to


Because you already know that this situation did not emerge from nowhere but has deep historical causes being expanded to the post-revolutionary period. We have implemented reforms that were necessary for decades, such as the independent authority of public revenues, the introduction of online payment systems, the Law on voluntary disclosure of income, measures to combat smuggling of fuel and tobacco, the intensification of controls on government procurements, controlling and restraining ministry spending where possible, and so we now have the opportunity to increase social spending by 30% in allowances and not to cut family allowances. Because we cut spending by about 350 million euros in each ministry. Of course, not expenditure that is unpredictable, but those that has proven to be wasted. To conclude with, I would like to set a call to change our vision, to turn our vision from yesterday, even from today, into tomorrow, and look on the great dimensions. The dramatic period of the memorandums, everything we have experienced, may become like any painful experience, an opportunity to draw positive lessons and to reconsider our forces ahead of the next day for the country. The current situation allow us to be optimistic, but it does not allow us to rest on our laurels. *adapted from his speech at the American – Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference on Tuesday, December 5, 2017

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eoffrey R. Pyatt, an experienced US diplomat, was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic in September 2016, during the transition period from Obama administration to Trump. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 2013-2016, receiving the State Department’s Robert Frasure Memorial Award in recognition of his commitment to peace and alleviation of human suffering in eastern Ukraine.

Breakfast with the US Ambassador by Athanassios Papandropoulos European Business Review: I would like to ask you according to several new events, what are your expectations of the future of the American-European relations? Ambassador Pyatt: Let me start with transatlantic relations and U.S.-European relations. And I think this is a good year to have that conversation because, of course, we just celebrated the 70th anniversary or the Marshall Plan. And as I reminded everybody here in Athens at the events that the embassy arranged around the Marshall 70th celebration, the transatlantic idea in many ways began with the commitment that the United States made to the success of Greece in 1947:


through the Truman Doctrine, through the Marshall Plan and the idea that the United States was going to work for the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace because we need a strong Europe to build a strong and peaceful world. And that idea is as valid today as it was 70 years ago. The U.S., the strong U.S.-European relationship, our transatlantic alliance through NATO, the most successful military alliance in the history of the world, is key to everything else that the United States seeks to achieve globally in terms of building a safe, prosperous and democratic world.


in Athens, Mr. Geoffrey R. Pyatt The essential foundation of that U.S.-European relationship as I talked about earlier is our shared values. The fact that Americans and Europeans -- when we sit down together, and we start talking about the world, the world as we find it -- there is an instinctive understanding of what it means to have a free and democratic society and the importance of those values to the prosperity and success of both of our societies. So I am an optimist about the transatlantic relationship. I’m an optimist both because I have seen over the course of my diplomatic career the importance of the personal relationships between European and American leaders, but also because I’ve seen how when we

work together we can get things done that are globally important. Whether it is fighting the scourge of Ebola; tackling the challenge of global terrorism, the enormous challenges that we faced after 9/11; or dealing with threats like global climate change. So I think the U.S.-European relationship will remain very important. It’s also one of the reasons that the U.S. relationship with Greece is so important, because it is understood in Washington that we can’t have a prosperous Europe without a prosperous Greece. That is to say, the U.S. interest in a strong European Union, the U.S. interest in a stable and prosperous Eurozone cannot be achieved if Greece is somehow left behind. So



that’s the reason we’ve invested as much energy and time as we have over the past eight years, in helping Greece to grow itself out of this economic crisis and to accomplish the reforms that are necessary in order to move forward. EBR: Do you think that the role of NATO will be the same after the Brexit? And according to your point, what are the chances for the EU to create its own defense policy? AP: The shape that Brexit is going to take over the long term of course is still unknown. EBR: -- finally will the Brexit be realized? AP: I don’t know. I will leave that to my colleagues in London and Brussels and elsewhere who have to work that through. What I can tell you is that Britain will remain one of our most important NATO allies, one of our most important local military partners, and in no way do we see the decisions that the British people have made about their future in the European Union as detracting from the strength of our alliance relationship. EBR: According to the defense programs, what is the importance that the United States gives to Souda Bay? Is it important for NATO and especially for the United States? AP: Souda is a critical NATO asset for both, for NATO and for the United States. In fact it’s more important today than perhaps ever before, because there is so much of relevance that’s happened in the Eastern Mediterranean. I always make the point that there are


three strategic problems which orbit around Souda Bay. The most immediate and important, of course, is in the Eastern Mediterranean: the challenge of ISIS, stabilizing the situation in Syria, and ensuring the complete military destruction of the ISIS Caliphate. But we also are critically focused on the challenges of North Africa, the situation in Libya. And then also the challenge of Russian malign influence which is so apparent in the Black Sea and in the Balkans. And the one place where all three of those problem sets, strategic problem sets, come together, is Greece. So Souda is a critically important platform for NATO, for the United States, for 6th Fleet military operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. But also, critically, it is the most important site where the U.S. and Greek militaries work together. And one of the things that has really impressed me over my initial period here in Athens has been the strength of the military partnership between our countries. The way in which our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen work together. It’s a deeply respectful relationship from the very top -- from Admiral Postalakis and General Dunford -- all the way to the individual sailors and airmen who work together every single day at Souda Bay. It’s a deeply respectful relationship, and Souda is the most important location where our forces work together and develop the capacity for interoperability, for joint action, which is the essence of our alliance relationship. EBR: Isn’t Souda Bay a counterweight to the Turkish Inchirlik bases? AP: Not really. It’s apples and oranges. Very different categories. Again, the unique geography of Souda Bay,


and this is something which as somebody who’s traveled in Crete a lot -- a year ago I had a wonderful opportunity to hike through the Imbros Gorge where you come out on the southern coast of Souda -- you realize when you arrive at the Libyan Sea, I mean you’re very close to Africa at that point. And that’s one of the distinguishing attributes of Souda, that it is both very close to Europe’s southernmost point, and it very much reflects this unique strategic geography that Greece occupies, at the meeting point between Europe and Eurasia. So Souda is an extremely important platform. We’re grateful for the support that we receive from our Greek allies and especially the partnership with the Hellenic Armed Forces. But I think it would be a mistake to view Souda through the lens of any other U.S. bilateral relationship. EBR: Do you foresee new evolutions in the Middle East according to rumors saying that the alliance will be created between Israel and Saudi Arabia? How do you think that Iran will react in this case?

cisely because of your historic relationships. For me as an amateur historian, it’s one of the great pleasures of Greece that there are so many layers of history that you come across here. Anywhere you travel. I was in Monemvasia last weekend, and like any other historical site in Greece you literally have layers and layers of civilization there. And I think Foreign Minister Kotzias and the Greek government have done a very effective job of leveraging those historic relationships to advance Greece’s strategic interest in a stable and prosperous region, which coincides completely with the American goal. EBR: According to your experience in China, do you think that the famous Silk Road is a reliable project? Because Greece is a part of this famous route, especially northern Greece.

"One of the real untold success stories of Greece is the resilience of the startup culture. And Silicon Valley is not in Washington, D.C. There’s a reason why our IT industry flourished on the other side of the country. Because it was away from politics, and it was focused on creativity."

AP: I will leave Middle East policy to my colleagues who work on that issue every single day. What I will say is that the United States is very supportive of Greece’s more ambitious engagement with key partners in the Middle East and in the Eastern Mediterranean. The triangular relationships between Greece, Cyprus and Israel, and Greece, Cyprus and Egypt are very important. I actually think one of the most interesting conversations that’s going to happen over the next couple of years, as we hopefully see the further deepening of these relationships in terms of energy, in terms of economics, in terms of security, in terms of law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation, how does Greece catalyze these dialogues? In a region that has not seen a lot of cooperation historically, where there’s a lot of conflict, Greece has a unique ability to facilitate cooperation and dialogue. That was underlined to me during the conference that Foreign Minister Kotzias hosted a few weeks ago here in Athens on religious tolerance in the Middle East in the assortment of senior leaders: the Muslim cleric, Orthodox leaders, Catholic leaders, representatives of faith communities across the wider region. There are very few countries that have the ability to convoke in the way that Greece does, pre-

AP: I think it remains to be seen how this is going to translate into practical developments. We talked earlier about the Marshall Plan, and one of the things that makes me very proud of the American legacy in Greece is almost anywhere I travel in this country I find examples of the generosity that the American people showed during the Marshall Plan years. Whether hospitals or irrigation systems or bridges or highways, or whole industrial sectors, there was a very clear, concrete impact.

As you noted, I spent some time in my career in China and a lot of time in Asia, and one of the lessons that you take from that experience is that China is becoming a much bigger factor in the global economy. That’s obvious. What type of factor it will be, especially further afield as we get into regions like Europe, very much remains to be seen. The United States’ interest is to see the continuation of the characteristics of the European economy: regulatory transparency, rule of law, level playing field for investment. Those are principles that are as valid in the United States, as they are here in Greece or elsewhere in Europe. It will be an interesting feature of the years and decades ahead to see how a rising China fits into that contest. EBR: Do you think, according to the level of the future threats, what is the position of Islam? Because we must take in account that in Europe now we have more or less 60 millions of Muslims.



EBR: You mentioned in a public discussion your positive experience in Patras, during your visit at the University and the technological park. Do you think that this area could be something like a micro-Silicon Valley? AP: One of the real untold success stories of Greece is the resilience of the startup culture. And Silicon Valley is not in Washington, D.C. There’s a reason why our IT industry flourished on the other side of the country. Because it was away from politics, and it was focused on creativity. And I thin Patras has a lot of potential because it’s got a strong regional identity, has a strong outward orientation towards Europe, and also because of the excellent, the superb human capital. A strong university with a very strong tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship. I was impressed by what I heard from the Chamber of Commerce about Patras IQ. I look forward to seeing that unfold next year.

AP: I’ll say a couple of things on this. First of all, I talked earlier about the Foreign Ministry’s Conference on Religious Tolerance. And Greece, of course, has a very long history engaging with the Muslim world, going back 200 years to the Greek War of Independence and the encounter between Hellenic society and the Ottoman Empire. So Greece I think has some things to teach us on this. One of the great successes of the United States is our multicultural, multi-religious tolerant society. I think one of the advantages that America enjoys economically and politically is precisely that we are a multicultural society. We are a melting pot. Many European societies do not have that melting pot history. And so managing these issues of integration, of assimilation, can be a challenge. But certainly in the case of the United States, our diversity has been our strength. Look at Silicon Valley. Look at our IT industry. How many of our Silicon Valley companies are founded by immigrants, including immigrants from Muslim minority or countries with a significant Muslim majority or significant Muslim minority. So this is an issue that all of our societies need to work through, and I think it would be a mistake when you talk about, when we talk about religious intolerance, I think it’s a mistake to attach that label to one particular faith or another. And again, this is why I was so impressed by what Foreign Minister Kotzias did with his conference on religious tolerance and the message that that event tried to transmit in terms of rejection of absolutism and the rejection of intolerance.


I was impressed when I was at TIF, at Thessaloniki, in September, to see the strong presence of several Patras startups at the university exposition there. And these were companies which had their roots in the laboratories of the universities, but where the scientists at the university had realized that they had discovered these innovations which were commercially applicable. And so they built corporate structures to market their products, whether in areas of nano technology or carbon fibers or other things. Clearly, nobody is going to be able to replicate Silicon Valley. It is a one of a kind center of excellence. But I am completely convinced that Greece has the capacity to develop some strong centers of excellence in information technology, in innovation in entrepreneurship, and Patras will obviously be on that list. EBR: But in Greece we have a tremendous problem of brain drain. So, what do you think about it? AP: There’s been a real challenge of brain drain, but this is not unprecedented in Greek history. Greece has a very long history of sending people abroad. It’s one of the things that’s helped build the Greek-American Diaspora. In fact, you talk about Patras, I remember when I visited this summer, I was also down in the port at the harbor master’s office and with the Coast Guard, there were some wonderful photographs of the steamships which used to travel directly from Patras to New York, to Ellis Island. That’s where there was a long history of Greek Diaspora which departed from Laconia, from the area around Tripoli, leading from Patras directly to the United States. So this is in no way a new phenomenon. What’s interesting to me about the


Greek Diaspora is that it because the Greek Diaspora is so proud of its roots here, it comes back. They come back every summer. They come back, they circulate. And that’s different from a lot of other Diaspora experiences in America, where, and we are a nation of immigrants. But a lot of those immigrants, like my grandparents who came from Scotland, and they were very proud of their Scottish, their European heritage. My grandfather, the only thing that brought my grandfather back to Europe was fighting in the 1st World War. He returned to Europe as an American soldier to fight in the 1st World Wat. But it was not in his view to return to Scotland. He had left and like my grandmother, they both left seeking economic opportunity with no anticipation that they would be returning. The Greek Diaspora has never been that way. It’s always been a circulating Diaspora. EBR: But speaking about the European heritage, do you think that the European heritage can resist to the new issues, in all levels of our globalized world? AP: You know, America seeks a strong Europe. Europe has enormous strengths in terms of its cultural legacies, in art, in music, in civilization. Athens is ground zero for many of these contributions to global society.

And those interests, that American identity with our two coasts forces us to be inherently outward looking. That is the story of the American experience after the 2nd World War, and I’m confident that will be the story of the American experience in this era of globalization. We have debates about how those forces should be managed. We had a great debate after the 2nd World War, which was so costly in blood and treasure to America and many other countries. There are a lot of Americans at the time who said it was time to come home and to let those European kingdoms sort themselves out. That’s what the whole debate about the Marshall Plan and the Truman Doctrine was shaped by. When you go back and listen to Secretary Marshall’s speech at Harvard, what he was explaining there was the reason why the United States needed to remain engaged in Europe; the reasons why the United States needed to have an assertive, outwardly focused foreign policy. And I’m confident that the strategic logic that applied in that era remains valid today.

"I think the U.S.-European relationship will remain very important. It’s also one of the reasons that the U.S. relationship with Greece is so important, because it is understood in Washington that we can’t have a prosperous Europe without a prosperous Greece."

I think how you approach that from a legal standpoint, I’ll leave that to the experts and I will just make the point that America has benefited much more from openness than from restrictions. I’m a strong believer in building bridges because I’ve seen that that is what has made America the strong and vibrant society that it is today.

EBR: Yes, but in the new competition situation do you this openness could stay on? AP: I think so. I really do, because, again, it’s the responsibility of government to manage international affairs, to ensure that they are conducted fairly. But I think the United States is an inherently an international society. Everything about America today has been shaped by our openness. We’re a society of immigrants. We’re a society whose economic prosperity has been defined by looking outwards. In fact if you look back at American history, because we are a continental power, we are defined by our Pacific identity and our Atlantic identity.

EBR: Yes, but what about when President Trump speaks about the bilateral relations. What is the meaning of this kind of new speech?

AP: The important thing is that the President and Vice President Pence -- and I was, you know, I was there in Washington for the Prime Minister’s meetings –-- they were very clear. There’s a strong commitment to the U.S. partnership with Greece, an understanding that Greece has been a strong ally over time, that Greece has been through a difficult period, and that we need to, both sides, need to continue investing in this relationship as allies, as partners, as countries whose societies are interwoven deeply with each other. EBR: Thank you. AP: Thank you very much. * Photo credit: by Vangelis Rassias

** Special thanks to Grande Bretagne Hotel for hosting the interview



20 years old is a beautiful age Christophe Chantepy, Ambassador of France in Greece


t’s an age at which one already benefits from stable foundations, while still yearning for adventures. In the course of 20 years, the EBR has come to the fore as a media of reference dedicated to European affairs, to our Europe. These last 20 years have witnessed many changes in Europe: the EU enlargement, the establishment of the euro currency and then the consolidation, in the crisis years, of the Eurozone through the setting up of new instruments to ensure its stability, the entry into force of the Schengen Treaty, the setting up of components for a nascent common security and defense policy. But there was also the rejection, in the Netherlands and then in France, of the project of a European constitutional treaty in 2005. This rejection can be seen as the first expression of the mounting misunderstanding European citizens have had towards the European construction. That is this very misunderstanding we have to address, so that the European citizens can tell themselves: “Better in than without Europe”.

And we also need to address the concerns of citizens, not least in terms of protection : Europe needs now more than ever to be a space that protects, from economic and security standpoints. The proposals laid out by the President of the French Republic, in the defense & security fields or in the organization of the Eurozone, are steps in that direction. We also need Europe to invest more into the future, through funding and education. It is We need Europe to invest crucial that European citizens more into the future, notice how Europe takes care through funding and education. of their children in a concrete It is crucial that European manner. And it is fundamencitizens notice how tal that European youths feel Europe takes care of their as much at home in Europechildren in a concrete manner. an countries as they would in And it is fundamental that their country of origin. European youths feel as

much at home in European countries as they would in their country of origin.

Winning back the hearts and trust of the European citizens cannot be achieved simply through reciting again and again that Europe is our common future. We have to prove and show how it is indeed the case, as we have to provide convincing answers to fundamental questions and concerns that feed skepticism. To demonstrate that living in the EU is preferable to withdrawing behind our national borders is a rather easy task if you take into account the innumerable advantages we all share and experience by living in the


Union. More importantly, we need to change discourses about Europe: stop using the EU as a scapegoat of everything that goes wrong and attributing to national governments everything that goes fine, put into the limelight European successes rather than roadblocks or lack of progress.

Solidarity is the historical engine for building Europe. Solidarity needs to be brought into play, now and tomorrow. It is solidarity that has driven France to support Greece’s efforts to definitely turn its back on the crisis. Today, French investors are again looking towards Greece. Their projects give shape to the pledge, taken by France in October 2015, to help Greece revive its economy, as well as the French Embassy in Athens involvement into innovation, through the French-Greek innovation network MAZINNOV that offers development and partnership prospects for Greek startups and entrepreneurs. This is what preparing “our common future” means.




New goals in a new era According to the 96 years old French philosopher Edgar Morin, we live in the era of complexity by Athanassios Papandropoulos


hus, our civilization is a complex one and certainly needs new kinds of interpretation. In this case, within our changing world, critical thinking is the process we use to reflect on, access and judge the assumptions underlying our own and others’ ideas and actions. We need to replace Socratic questioning to our way of thinking, if we want to expand our horizon beyond simple gathering information and relying on basic knowledge principles. Reviewing the literature on the Socratic method, Paul Baterman notes the following goals that the method seeks to develop: 1. Attitudes of inquiry that involve an ability to recognize the existence of problems and an acceptance of


the general need for evidence in support of what is asserted to be true 2. Knowledge of the nature of valid inferences, abstractions and generalizations in which the weight of accuracy of various kinds of evidence are logically determined 3. Skills in employing and applying the above attitude and knowledge 4. The ability to recognize stated and unstated assumptions, and 5. The ability to draw conclusions validly and to judge the validity of inferences.


In other words, in our digital world, Socrates teaches us after 2.550 years that the best way to predict the future is to create it –which means that the future depends on enlightened people and leaders who are comfortable with global complexity, think horizontally and value people investing in their personal development.

Under these circumstances, we live in dynamic times, where the rate of innovation is very high. Technologies are emerging and affecting our lives in ways that indicate we face the beginning of a tremendous economic and social disruption. A new era that builds and extends the impact of digitalization in new ways,

Since Prometheus stole the fire of knowledge from “right under the noses” of the gods on Mount Olympus and bestowed it upon mankind, humans have not stopped giddying with it, creating striking innovations all throughout their evolution. Over the course of history, mankind has perfected its condition and way of life, not only relaying on technical evolution, but also be reinventing resources created by new technical means.

It is therefore worthwhile taking some time to consider exactly what kind of shifts we are experiencing and how we might, collectively and individually, ensure that it creates benefits for the many rather than the few. This is the goal of this magazine.

Therefore, once again we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything human kind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global policy –from the public and private sector to academia and civil society.

By our reflection we will try to ensure that emerging technologies and the new industrial revolution improve lives by creating greater possibilities and new ways to discuss the future and society. As Dr. Claus Schwab of the World Economic Forum has written: “The new-technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyze a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves –a true global civilization. We can use the Fourth Industrial Revolution to lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny”.



Greece stands at a crossroad in its history Evangelos G. Mytilineos, Chairman and CEO of Mytilineos Group


he Greek economic crisis and the inherent weakness of our country, is a result of reckless behavior mostly on the part of the governments, especially on the fiscal front, but also the very strong tendency to consume, and a very weak propensity to produce. The political aversion to reforms in a very conservative country, coupled with very strict terms attached on the ongoing rescue programs by our lenders / partners, has brought the nation to this dive condition.

4) Finally, the most aggressive cost cutting ever undertaken by a Greek Group took place between 2008-2013 with great success. All (literally all) costs had to pass through the needle - hole again and again. More than one billion Euros were invested across the total spectrum of our activities, to improve productivity and bring down costs. In late 2015, the sun started to shine, it was only a pale sun at first. In 2016 it became brighter…

For Greek companies, almost 10 years now, the name Then late in 2016, we took the bold decision, strongly of the game has been one: survival. Many did survive, backed by our shareholders, to merge all subsidiaries more didn’t. It has been an into the holding and create a economic and financial disasstrong new entity that is now ter of tremendous proportions valued €1,3 bn, 4 times highGreece needs to overcome for peacetime. The Amerier than the valuation of the can Great Depression pales in Greek recession time. its problems and create a safe, comparison. stable and prosperous We are all very happy and future for the generations to come. Few of us made it, one of proud for what we achieved, them is Mytilineos. Not only for our people and their famidid Mytilineos survive, but lies and the wider society. re-organized deeply, increased market share, improved competitiveness and gave joy to shareholders and stakeOur eyes now turn to our country: Greece needs to overholders by drastically improving its balance sheet and come its problems and create a safe, stable and prospershare price, avoiding at the same time mass lay-offs. In ous future for the generations to come. Therefore, we actual fact, not a single employee lost his/her job. On must decide to become owners of our fate and to master the contrary, a lot of the Greek unemployed found a job our own future, leaving bad practices behind for good. in the factories and construction sites of the Group in This could happen with a program that will be directly Greece and abroad. linked to the debt, by adjusting it into small, quarterly tranches whenever we succeed in implementing conHow was that made possible: crete, provable reforms. We could also agree with our 1) We saw the 2008 global crisis early enough: 2006-7 creditors that whenever we implement the reforms, we sold forward half a million tons of our Aluminium this could reduce the targets of our primary surplus. production for delivery in 2009-10-11 at high prices. Greece stands at a crossroad in its history. We are at 2) Days before Lehman crisis shocked the global finanthis critical point, where the crisis could turn into a macial system, we raised in the markets €465 Mio priced jor opportunity to exceed ourselves, move forward and for 5 years at 0.8%. International capital markets for make our country leading power of South East Europe. Greece and Greek companies shut immediately afterBy leveraging our advantages, our human capital, our wards. geographical position, our potentials in areas such as in heavy industry, tourism, innovation, education, we 3) All our sales departments timely diverted their efwill become a success story not only as a narrative for forts to foreign markets, before local demand collapsed political arguments, but for our lives and the future of at levels not seen in the early 60s. our children.





Greece has the potential to be an attractive business destination Jens PlĂśtner, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Greece


ince assuming my duties as German ambassador to Greece this summer I have had the privilege to discover a country of overwhelming natural beauty, blessed with friendly and welcoming people – and with tremendous economic potential. Now the peak of the economic crisis lies well behind us. With the completion of the secondreview of the ESM-program and the recent start of the negotiations on the third review Greece has entered the final phase


of the program. All relevant economic indicators like GDP, employment or exports have considerably improved during the past months. The numbers give room for optimism. Now it is important to avoid any turbulances and delays so that Greece will be able to continue its sustainable path after the end of the program next year. In this respect, the speedy completion of the review is of tremendous importance.


Despite of the different assessments on the actual status of the Greek economy two findings are not disputed by anyone, be it in Greece, Europe or elsewhere: First: Greece has performed ambitious reforms during the past years of the crisis and has taken some very painful decisions for a good part of its society. Reforms were undertaken in almost every sector of the society: the pension system, health system, the labour market and the tax system to name just a few. These reforms were – as we know - not an easy process and Greece deserves respect for undertaking them. As European partners we have to give Greece credit for what it has achieved during the last years. Germany and Europe share a vital interest in a socially and economically sustainable Greece. Greece’s success also is Europe’s success. However, despite all the efforts and despite the results achieved, a lot remains to be done. Consensus prevails that Greece needs foreign investmentsfor a sustainable modernization of its economy and society and to be economically successful again.

tural reforms. Of course they are more difficult to achieve than some of the fiscal measures which “only” need legislative changes. In the long run however, these structural reforms will prove to be of even greater importance for a sustainable recovery of the Greek economy.

Greece has the potential to be an attractive business destination. Tourism, pharmaceutical industry, infrastructure and logistics as well as renewable energy are often cited when attractive investment opportunities are defined. Taking a look at the numbers in the tourism sector for this year we get an idea of the potential Greece has. That is true for tourism and the sectors just mentioned, but that also applies for the field of innovation and research. Greece has a highly skilled young generation but at the same time it is true that many young people are experiencing difficulties to find a position on the Greek job market. The Brain Drain phenomenon is disastrous for the future of any country. More highGermany is ready to cooperate with tech and knowledge driven Greece in the field projects could help to create of research also in the future and to possibilities for the younger explore ways how generation. High-tech develwe can turn our research results opments could be given even more attention, in order to into marketable products bridge the gap between research, development and costumer orientation.

Prime Minister Tsipras in his opening speech at the Thessaloniki Fair in September announced the era of “Grinvest” and his government works to attract foreign investors from all parts of the world. Undoubtedly Greece has carried out reforms during the past years which have the potential to make the country more attractive for investors: an independent tax authority has been created, the Greek labour market is among the most competitive in Europe, productivity has increased – of course also due to substantial cuts in wages and social transfers, the legal framework for renewable energies has been modernized and European standards were adopted, the creation of a Greek Development Bank is underway. In the “Doing business index” of the World Bank Greece currently ranks at position 61. Not exactly a top position – but far better than in the year 2010 when the country was placed at position 109. Nevertheless, a lot remains to be done: overwhelming bureaucracy, high tax rates combined with frequent changes in the tax system, sometimes contradictory regulations, capital controls, lengthy court procedures are only some of the hurdles for economic growth. Particular emphasis should be placed on these struc-

Germany and Greece are already working together in this field. Just a couple of days ago, the projects for the second round of the joint German-Greek research program were chosen. In total 18 Mio. Euro are being invested from both sides for bilateral research projects. By the way: this is the only bilateral research promotion program Germany has in the European Union. Germany is ready to cooperate with Greece in the field of research also in the future and to explore ways how we can turn our research results into marketable products. This has enormous potential: on the one hand it gives possibilities to young Greeks and helps tackling the Brain Drain problem; on the other hand it promotes innovation in Greece and increases Greek business possibilities worldwide. Following through on structural reforms in the public sector, persuing privatizations, and attracting foreign investments Greece has every potential to be a sustainable and successful business destination. I take this opportunity to congratulate the European Business Review on the 20th anniversary and address my best wishes for the future!



The Greek Pharma Industry can operate as a development lever for the Greek economy Nelly Katsou, CEO of Pharmathen 46 | EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW



en years ago, the implosion of Lehmann Brothers ignited a financial crisis whose impact and effects where felt virtually across the globe!

In Europe the first victim was our country. Entering the ninth year of a deep economic recession combined with political and social impacts, we finally acknowledge signs of recovery. However such a change will not happen overnight. After this long period of ordeal the development and the sustainable growth are expected to emerge only from the private sector. Investments are the missing ingredient today as Greece is struggling to rebuild Economy. It is our obligation as a nation, not only to attract investors but also to keep the existing investments! The momentum is here. There are plenty of opportunities in many sectors, and given that we build a friendly business environment, we can fight unemployment and create positive growth rates to most of Greek industries. The Greek Pharma Industry can operate as a development lever for the Greek economy and emerge to a regional force in the greater area of South Europe and South Eastern Mediterranean, as long as the necessary structural reforms move forward.

tion of generics in the greater area of S. E. Mediterranean and potentially transform to a technological Hub. Experts usually state that opportunities emerge amid crisis. Pharmathen could be a proof for this statement. Our company has an average growth rate of 10% per year in the middle of crisis. We achieved this by staying focused on our strategic plan based on the moto: RESEARCH – EXTROVERSION – INVESTMENTS During crisis we invested in Research more than 25 million per year. We build a state of the art manufacturing plant in SAPES which was the biggest investment (60 million) in SE Mediterranean. Also we created an API research facility in INDIA and a new research facility in Thessaloniki.

It is our obligation as a nation, not only to attract investors but also to keep the existing investments! The momentum is here. There are plenty of opportunities in many sectors.

Given that 60% of the total market is covered by domestic production with competitive pricing, the total impact in our country will be 3.4-3.8 billion Euro.

Also : 2000-2500 new working places will be created, productivity will be increased, human capital as well, production of know-how, reduce of brain drain, and at the same time we will have restraint of the total pharmaceutical cost as a result of the use of more economical pharmaceutical options (generics versus innovative drugs) In order that we all realize the margin comparing with today’s situation, I mention that the percentage of domestically produced pharmaceutical products used in Greece is only 22%. The 60% previously mentioned is not a random percentage but is a memorandum requirement!! The Greek Pharma Industry in such a case, could establish its position as a leader in development and produc-

Our company is the biggest R&D private organization in Greece and is ranked 49th among 4500 pharma companies in EUROPE. Our products are present in 85 countries, in all 5 continents and our clients are the 200 biggest global Pharma players. We proudly contribute to 1% of total Greek Exports.

For the period 2015-2020 we have announced investments in R&D and infrastructure up to 120 million Euro. It is worth mentioning that last month our SAPES Manufacturing Plant became FDA approved, giving us the access to the biggest pharma market of the world. Pharmathen has proudly left her footprint on the global map of innovation achieving two major landmarks: 1. The development of a new technology called LAI (Long Acting Injectables) and 2. The development of PF (Preservative Free) ophthalmic products. Our story confirms the significance of the pharma industry for the Greek economy and the need for investment to R&D as a tool for differentiation and sustainable growth even in periods of deep crisis.





Technology and Innovation as key elements for Greece’s New Economic Model Peggy Antonakou, CEO Microsoft Greece, Cyprus and Malta


ince the inception of the steam engine in the industrial revolution, and even before that, innovation constitutes the main ingredient of economic growth. While Greece is still in search of a viable economic model different to the one that collapsed in 2010, innovation could be the answer to the country’s quest for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. How? It comes as a common ground that Greece needs to focus more on how to innovate its capabilities and become more competitive on sectors that are already considered competitive. Technological solutions based on cloud computing can act as enablers generating growth for companies both with a local and international presence. Initiatives aiming to narrow the significant digital skills gap of the Greek economy are also essential towards this path. Finally, a key point in this endeavor, involves the implementation of structural reforms, such as public-sector modernization. A recent Microsoft study regarding Greek small- and medium-size companies, shows that two out of three respondents believe that cloud is an important success factor for a business, while more than half consider cloud solutions to be significant for the development of the business. Companies that invest in cloud services become more flexible, change faster and achieve decreased costs while maintaining a high level of security. In addition, they manage to serve their customers in the most efficient and productive ways, best utilizing the new trends of mobility and big data. As the European Commission estimates that by 2020 as much as 90% of jobs in the EU will require digital skills, one of the main priorities should touch upon education, supporting students in improving their digital and entrepreneurial skills. We acknowledge our role and responsibility to lead the way towards this direction. In the last few years of crisis, we have witnessed an increasing number of young Greeks willing to improve their digital skills through several free-coding courses initiatives that we run locally. At the same

time, others are leveraging technology tools to create their own businesses. In 2017, Microsoft YouthSpark initiative officially supported the “Tech Talent School” program which aims towards the development of digital skills within the Greek labor market and the networking between professionals and the private sector. Providing free ICT training programs, it focuses on ages between 15 – 25, high school and university students, newly graduates, young unemployed people, members of underserved communities, immigrants and refugees. It is essentially important to proceed with the implementation of disruptive structural reforms, referred as the public-sector modernization. New tools that will increase the productivity of the public sector and reduce administrative burdens are essential to cut red tape and unleash the creative and entrepreneurial potential of Greeks. For example, the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOVE)[1] predicts that the adoption of digital signature solutions in the Greek public administration is expected to save about 380 million Euros within the first year of its implementation. Finally, it is also apparent that Greece needs to invest in a more targeted and coordinated manner at its emerging entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. The Microsoft Innovation Center in Athens founded in 2008 by our company’s founder, Bill Gates, has supported more than 500 startups in almost 10 years of operation, while having incubated more than 30 novel entrepreneurial ideas, and hosted a sequence of initiatives, such as TED events, Startup weekend etc. At Microsoft Hellas, we do believe that in this great effort to restore growth and create a new economic model for Greece, embracing technological changes is essential. It is in this grand challenge of national proportions that we locate our own share of responsibility for the future of this country, in order to help its citizens reestablish prosperity on more solid grounds. [1]ICT Adoption and Digital Growth in Greece, 2015 (



This is the right moment to invest in Greece Enrique Viguera Rubio, Ambassador of Spain in Greece


feel that Greece is now in a very interesting economic juncture, experiencing some growth and accomplishing relevant structural reforms, said H.E. the Ambassador of Spain in Greece, Mr. Enrique Viguera Rubio,in an exclusive interview at EBR. In addition, heexpressed his optimism about the current economic developments in the country, highlighting the need to attract more investments in a wide range of strategic sectors, such as renewable energy and tourism. by Eirini Sotiropoulou



European Business Review: Undoubtedly, the current economic crisis has affected both Greece & Spain crucially. However, the Spanish unemployment rate fell in 16,38% the first quarter of 2017 and as a result the strong economic growth has led to the creation of more job positions after the deep recession of 2013. Moreover, there was a 3.4% increase in GDP last year. It is clearly illustrated that Spain's economy is significantly developing thanks to the structural reforms promoted by the government. Can Greece take any lessons from these developments? How did Spain manage to overcome the crisis?

other sectors. I am telling everybody that this is the right moment to invest in Greece.

A.V.: Many Spanish companies left Greece during the crisis. Some of them also left Spain and targeted other more interesting markets in America or Asia. Nevertheless, I have noticed an increased interest by Spanish companies to invest in Greece lately, particularly in renewable energy, real estate and tourism. Those companies are trying to divert their exposure to the Spanisvh market and are looking at countries with similar characteristics. There are also, of course, interesting opportunities in infrastructures tenders, like roads and metro and in other business sectors linked to privatizations processes, like gas. But I feel Greece is now in a very interesting economic juncture, experiencing some growth and accomplishing relevant structural reforms. It can’t go backwards and the future looks pretty good and stable as a full member of the Eurozone. That may attract direct investments in

EBR: According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the arrivals in Spain have tripled, with more than 14,000 migrants and refugees this year compared with 2016. The majority of experts claim that this number might outperform Greece. How can we deal effectively with this challenge? Do you think that a plausible collaboration among Greece and Spain might help in the long term?

EBR: Turkey's geographical position is of vital geopolitical importance as it seeks to become an energy hub for the European market, particularly in the natural gas. In this light, it intends to make use of the gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. Do you think its ambitions could upset the balance between Greece and Spain or Spain and the EU?

A.V.: There are many countries that would like to become an ‘energy hub’ for Europe. In the South Mediterranean Ambassador Viguera: Structural reforms made the Basin I have heard this not only from Turkey but also, difference. It was clear for the voters in Spain back legitimately, from Greece but also from Italy. Spain has in 2011 when the general elections were convened also ambitions in this field and we are well prepared that it was necessary torigorously implement some to channel the new American non-conventional gas to measures. The government that resulted from those Europe through our numerous regasification facilities. elections had four years to carry them out and it did so. Unfortunately our interconnections with France Particularly the financial sector and the labor market need to be further enlarged. The same happens with experienced deep reforms and partly as a consequence electricity. We need to increase our interconnections we are experiencing the economic growth right now. with France to be able to export to Europe our energy This help Spain to overcome excesses, including our the financial crisis but electricity possibilities and unfortunately there were also those coming from North side effects such as growing Africa from renewable energy Germany is ready to cooperate with social inequalities which sources. Greece in the field gave rise to further political polarization. Although many But I don’t think our interest in of research also in the future and to targets were accomplished, developing interconnections explore ways how there are still some structural with France and further we can turn our research results reforms pending in other investing in the gas pipelines into marketable products sectors. coming from Azerbaijan collide with one another. Both EBR: Spain is considered a aim at increasing Europe’s strategic ally for Greece in energy security. Don’t forget its efforts to attract investments. How is the overall that there is a Spanish gas company with an important economic climate among the countries in terms of investment portion (15%) in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. bilateral business relations? So we have also a direct interest here.

A.V.: Illegal immigration occurs where the roads are easier. Once the Eastern Mediterranean road has been more secured, other routes, such as the western Mediterranean or the Central Mediterranean roads are used. Although the irregular immigration inflow coming from the Western Mediterranean and the African Atlantic coast were dealt with exclusively by national means in the 90’, because at that time there



were few EU tools, nowadays the European Union has developed several instruments, some of them based on our own national experience, which can benefit all member States equally, not only bordering countries. In this sense, EU relations with third countries are essential. But it has to be the EU the one defining which external borders have to be reinforced, which third countries have to be our security cooperation partners, with which there is a need to negotiate readmission agreements, increase development cooperation etc. in order to try to better manage the flows. Of course this has to be a global approach, in our case, the whole Mediterranean Sea, because otherwise member countries will always try to benefit first their own geographic interests. This is a matter affecting the whole of Europe. EBR: In which sectors should cooperation be strengthened?


A.V.: There are many sectors that could be strengthened. I have mentioned some of them where due to our similar backgrounds there may be an objective economic interest, such as renewable energy or tourism. Infrastructures are essential for tourism and is a sector that has experienced a great development in Spain, partly using the European structural funds. We may clearly cooperate further here.


Beyond the economy, being both South Mediterranean countries we share similar interests in many fields, including foreign policy issues. Take the Middle East Peace Process for example or the need to bring further stabilization to the Sahel or Northern Africa. We share the same views with regard to the Barcelona process and the need to keep a fruitful Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. Culture is clearly a field where our societies recognize our similarities. Everything action we do to enhance our cultural cooperation will be very positive. Institute Cervantes is doing a great job in Greece not only on behalf of Spain and the Spanish language but also for all Latin American countries. EBR: Do you think that the Catalan issue might destabilize the whole EU in general, posing significant threats? A.V.: Certainly! We have been speaking about immigration or energy but there are many other fields where we the best way to tackle complex global issues is at European level. I have always been a convinced Europeanist and I believe that what we need now in Europe is more Europe, further integration. Not disintegration.


ani being in Southern Greece, only 3 hours from Athens represents the ideal destination for winter’s short escapes. With an average temperature of 16oC and a natural environment totally different from that in summer, welcomes the visitors to find out winter’s beauty.

The hardness of the dry land is being replaced by the softness of the greenish ground, by verdant slopes full of cyclamens and wild flowers that timidly grow on the rocks and by the colour of the mature seed of the olive trees, waiting to be harvested and offer the precious “green” gold. The blowing wind and the white waves that dash against the rocks and the shore create a unique scenery that cannot be described by words. The silent towers and the semi abandoned villages liven up, smoke comes out of the chimneys and the smell of the burnt wood blows in the air while the stone built alleys witness the everyday toil of the people. In the middle of the peninsula of Mani, in Itilo, viewing the breathtaking Itilo’s gulf, “Petra & Fos Boutique Hotel & Spa” offers hospitality in consistency with excellence and harmony and traps the guest into a trip to authenticity and dream. The hotel has been built with absolute respect to the traditional architecture and is uniquely integrated into the natural environment. Frugal luxury characterizes every detail and invites the guests to discover the wild beauty of Mani, revealing an authentic experience all around the year, when the sun shines over the stones, the olive trees and the furzes and when the “music” of the rain and the wind grip you by the warmth of the fire place. The hotel has 23 fully equipped rooms and suites, of high quality and elegance in decoration. All rooms offer spectacular sea view for a memorable stay with the coziness of a modern luxury hotel. Mani o ffers visitors many choices. Stone built towers that stand like cypresses, being the silent relics of the period of the pirates, are met everywhere, in

the villages, on the mountains, by the shore. Castles and fortifications drive you back to time. Churches with exceptional frescos remind the Byzantine history of the area. Among the unique landmarks, the lake caves of Dyros are considered to be a spectacular attraction. Furthermore, you can visit picturesque villages, small towns and traditional settlements and can interact with people who strive daily cultivating the dry and infertile land. On the other hand, you can enjoy tranquility and relaxation at “Petra & Fos Boutique Hotel & Spa” gazing into Itilo’s gulf, by the warmth of the fireplace, visit the “Ioni” Spa and discover our exquisite face and body treatments, with purely natural products, that embrace your senses with luxury on every detail, creating the ideal environment for short and long escapes to relaxation and rejuvenation. End up your experience at “Anerousa” restaurant where the combination of the freshness of the products with the seasonality and the talent of our cooks guarantee an unforgettable result signed by Christoforos Peskias. The warmth of the fire place together with the delicious local snacks and a glass of wine result in emotional lifting and complete relaxation.

If, by any chance, you want some action and exercise we welcome you to join us in the harvest of our olive trees and the production of our precious “green” gold that we use in all our viands. It is a painful procedure but at the same time so amazing because the “sacred” tree pays off so unstintingly and gives away generosity, wellness and internal peace. Mani is not an area that is simply offered for sightseeing, but a place that calls for exploration, with an amazing history and internal strength that if you manage to find its truth, you have found your haven.

Athens office: Tel.: (+30) 210 6199610 Fax: (+30) 210 6199612 Hotel Tel.: (+30) 27330 54050 Fax: (+30) 27330 52915



Health sector in Greece will radically change Dr. Vasilis Apostolopoulos, CEO of Athens Medical Group 54 | EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW



e are living in a world which is changing rapidly. The global economic landscape has undergone an essential transformation process and it is obvious that we are in the middle of a revolutionary turning point driven by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, with significant challenges ahead of us. On a national level, the prolonged period of recession has resulted in extensive economic implications, such as: a fall in aggregate demand, vertical reduction of consumer purchasing power and increase of the NPL (Non-Performing Loans) ratio, practically eliminating the ability of the banks to substantially stimulate production and innovation in the private sector, which are the key elements of economic growth.

posely reveals our long term planning and prospects. Throughout the 7 years of the crisis, AMG has paid approximately 400 million EURO for procurement expenses to Greek companies, while foreign exchange inflow from international patients was €240 million. The payments to the Greek insurance funds reached almost €200 million.

A key axis of this strategy is Medical Tourism, an area of strategic focus for AMG for quite some time. It all started in 2000, with the founding of European Interbalkan Medical Center (EIMC) at the core of our Strategy. A hospital dedicated to Medical Tourism and of course to the well-being of people in Northen Greece. MedicalTourism Departments have been successfully introduced, since then, to all hospitals of AMG, thanks Even though the road to “regularity” for Greece will be a to the high quality of medical services provided, abiding difficult one, I truly believe that Greece is currently inby the strictest international criteria, the specialized atransitionphase and finally a prospect of stabilization and experienced medical personnel, the state-of-art and growth is visible. The posequipment and the numeritive evaluation regarding the ous International Strategic third Economic Adjustment Co-operations and Centers of Programme, combined with Excellence. In line with global challenges and the settlement of NPLs, will prospects, Athens Medical Group kick start the recovery proAs a CEO, as well as a proud (AMG) will take a leading role in cess. Theendeavorfor efficient leader of an institution in a the new era, becoming the Greek investments, high return on very sensitive line of operainvestment “power”, shielding invested capital and employtion such as healthcare, I preour country’s place within the ment, and good prospects of fer to speak with numbers. international economic battleground establishing long term profWe are in the global elite of of Healthcare. itable ventures, could decihospital groups, who consissively reinforce the country’s tently cater for the needs of potential. international patients, withthis line of business yielding As we speak, large-scale domestic and foreign investmore than 20% of our Group revenues. Further more, ments within the Healthcare sector are already in one of our biggest investments, EIMC, at an aggregate progress.It is more than obvious that during the followcost of close to a quarter of €1 Billion, is fully focused ing months,a year at most,the landscape of theHealth on Medical Tourism since 2002. Last year only, we hossector in Greece will radically change. In line with pitalised more than 8,500 international patients comglobal challenges and prospects, Athens Medical Group ing from 53 different countries, while our emergency (AMG) will take a leading role in the new era, becoming departments treated more than 27,000 outpatients. the Greek investment “power”, shielding our country’s More than 80% of our personnel are bilingual, speaking place within the international economic battleground among other, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Manof Healthcare. darin and Arabic. Taking a step back to see the wider picture, I can proudly say that, since its foundation, AMG has succeeded in being “always one step ahead” in Science, the Economy, and Society, having people at the center of attention. We tackled financial recession with an outward-looking strategy, new investments, new jobs and the continuous upgrading of our services, a strategy that pur-

Forward thinking and strategic outlook kept us going and became the leverage for a successful course of 33 years that we aspire to maintain, especially during these times where Europe and Greece are at the crossroads of change. In the next months, we are planning to shake the waters, so I am proud to invite you to keep a close eye on Athens Medical Group.



Where Next for Greece? Encouraging the Green Shoots of Recovery Despina Anastasiou, Regional President, Dow Central Europe and President Greece and Cyprus 56 | EUROPEAN BUSINESS REVIEW



t is now eight years since the beginning of The Crisis in Greece, and just two years since the country become the first developed nation to default on an IMF loan repayment. In that time, significant progress has been made. Public finances remain steady, and Greece is on track to meet the surplus targets set under the European Stability Mechanism Programme. Consumer confidence is up, and as a result Greece is seeing tentative growth.

to be proportionate and carefully framed;ensuring the safety and sustainability of operations while incentivisinginnovation. This should encompass reducing regulatory delays, so enterprises can launch products that have already been approved at an EU level. For smaller businesses, the overall administrative burden needs to be reduced. Currently, too many enterprises in Greece are failing – or not being started at all – because of expensive administrative burdens. This must change.

Our nation has not only pulled back from the brink of economic catastrophe, we’ve put in place a foundation for the future. Greece remains a major economic hub for Southeast Europe and a safe-haven in an unstable corner of the world. Our global links are supported by a very strong shipping sector and a tourism sector that is the envy of many. Additionally, thanks to labour market reforms, the overall competitiveness of Greece’s workforce has improved.

There’s also a case to be made for tax reform. Business and trade needs to be encouraged to boost growth and prosperity. And while we don’t want to become a tax haven, at present Greece’s tax rates go too far in the other direction. By putting in place a transparent and simple tax code and pinning its corporation tax rate to the EU average, Greece will boost its competitiveness and encourage businesses to set up shop in the country.

A final priority is diversifying our energy supply. As However, the economic revival of Greece is far from the world migrates to more sustainable energy sourccomplete, nor its long-term es, natural gas will play a key success assured. GDP sitswell role in meeting energy needs below former levels (in 2016 more cleanly and cheaply. We need to engage GDP topped out at $194bn Moreover, natural gas is the all Greek citizens with compared to $356bn in 2008), source of the feedstocks used andconsumer confidence rea positive story about bymany industries, and is mains much lower than the the power of business therefore a building block for EU average; indexing at 98.4 to increase prosperity for all a large proportion of manucompared to 101.7. Perhaps factured products. Competimost importantly, inward tively priced feedstocks will Foreign Direct Investment therefore boost the chemicals (FDI) remains low at 1.6% of GDP last year (overall, FDI industry in Greece as well as the many downstream inin the EU is 3.3% of GDP). dustries it supports. To keep energy prices competitive, we must do everything we can to ensure that pipelines Greece has therefore accomplished much, but more resuch as the Trans Adriatic Pipelineand the East Med mains to be done. If the nation is to drive growth and are built. These pipelines could have a transformative attract inward investment, it will need to overcome a value for Greece if regional cooperation to accelerate number of barriers. Capital controls remain in place access can be agreed. from July 2015, which, combined with a rigid business environment, fragile banking sector and weaker indusGreece is at an important crossroads. Over the past few trial base than other EU nations, may stifle investment. years we’ve shown incredible resilience and have built Additionally, Greece’s high corporation tax rate (29% a good foundation for our future. From here, we must compared to an EU average of 21.51%) will make the commit to further transformational changesto encourcountry unattractive to manyinternational companies. age investment and growth. Key to our success in doThe critical question facing Greece today, therefore, is ing so will be whether we can bring the Greek people how it can build on its economic strengths, address its on the journey with us. For that, we need to engage weaknesses and create a country that global businessall Greek citizens with a positive story about the powes want to work with and in? er of business to increase prosperity for all. If we can succeed in this task, we will open the door to a more For me, the most important shift will need to take place in the regulatory sphere. Regulation in Greece needs dynamic and successful society.





What is the role of brand in the digital economy Many thinkers postulate that the role of brand is to define the organization's purpose. by Nikos Karageorgiou, President of the Greek Association of Branded Products Manufacturers


irst of all I would like to wish long life to the European Business Magazine and I hope that its contribution to the understanding of the new era in the economy and the social affairs could be a matter of high utility. I spent much time in professional life pondering how the role of brand is changing in the midst of digital transformation. As branding grew to prominence, important branding practitioners define the role of brand as a decision tool, information search and risk mitigator. Brand helped guide customers to better purchase decisions. As we shift in new era, called the digital economy, customers are socially connected with one another in horizontal ways of communities. Today, communities are the new segment. Unlike segments, communities are naturally formed by customers within the boundaries that they themselves define. Customer communities are immune to spamming and irrelevant advertising. In fact, will reject a company’s attempt to force its way into these webs of relationship. To effectively engage with a community of customers, brands must ask for permission. Permission marketing revolves around the idea of asking for consumers’ consent prior to delivering marketing messages. However, when asking for permission, brands must act as friends with sincere desires to help, not hunters with bait. Similar to the mechanism on Facebook, customers will have the decision to either “confirm” or “ignore” the friend request. This demonstrates the horizontal relationship between brands and customers. However, companies may continue to use segmentation, targeting and positioning as long as it is made transparent to customers. But they must take into account the brand clarification of characters and codes. In a traditional sense, a brand is a set of images – most often a name, a logo, and a tagline – that distinguishes a company’s product or service offering from its competitors’. It also serves as a reservoir that stores all the value generated by the company’s brand campaigns. In

recent years, a brand has also become the representation of the overall customer experience that a company delivers to its customers. Therefore, a brand may serve as a platform for a company’s strategy since any activities that the company engages in will be associated with the brand. In our connected world, the concept of marketing mix has evolved to accommodate more customer participation. Marketing mix (the four P’s) should be redefined as the four C’s (co-creation, currency, communal activation, and conversation). In the digital economy, co-creation is the new product development strategy. Through co-creation and involving customers early in the ideation stage, companies can improve the success rate of new product development. Co-creation also allows customers to customize and personalize products and services, thereby creating superior value propositions. As we shifted into the experience economy, practitioners evolved their thinking to focus on defining on brand as actions that contribute to a more fulfilling experience. In fact when you look at new brands like Airbnb and Uber, the brand and the experience are one in the same. The brand simply took shape as the experience gained traction. Lately, many thinkers postulate that the role of brands is to define the organization’s purpose. They hold that purpose driven brands are uniquely capable of forging emotional based connections with employees, b2b and b2c customers. This is especially true when building an employer brand strategy. My sense is that brand plays all of these roles, but no one of these ladders up to the primary role for brand in the digital economy. A review of practitioner websites yielded no consensus. In fact, it led to more questions than answers. It seems that the branding world is at an inflection point with little clarity as to the path forward.



In the Greek Food Industry, we face the crisis with a winning spirit Evangelos Kaloussis, President Federation of Hellenic Food Industries


ithin a challenging and competitive environment, on both national and international level, the Greek Food & Drink Industry continues to be one of the most dynamic, competitive and extrovert sectors of the Greek Industry. It represents 25% of the transformation sector and 4% of the country’s total GDP. It has a turnover of more than € 14.2 billion and increasing exports reaching € 4.5 billion. It is interesting to mention that even during the headwinds the exports of our Industry increased continuously year after yearand we have a strong presence all over the world. Over the last eight years, we are facing challenges that have significantly impacted both the public and the business world, resulting to uncertainty, increased taxes, loss of income, lack of liquidity, limited purchasing power. Despite that, the Greek Food & Drink Industry continues to striveforthe recovery of the economy of the country. We, at the Federation of Hellenic Food Industries, believe that in order to find the way towards a sustainable growth, we should focus on: the improvement of Competitiveness, the reinforcement of Extroversion, the promotion of Research &Innovation and the attraction of newInvestments. Regarding Competitiveness& Extroversion, our sector is committed to innovate followingthe worldwide trends and invests on continuous improvementsin order to respond to new consumer needs, by providing safe & healthy products of top quality, as consumers’ trust is non-negotiable. In this context, it is important, now more than ever, to support the modern Greek agricultural production, to keep producing products that stand out for their authenticity and quality, to promote the Greek diet and lead the famous traditional Greek products to new markets abroad. This will not only help the food industryand the Greek economy to recover but will positively impact the image of Greece abroad. Furthermore, recognizing the importance of extroversion, our Federation hasundertaken important initiatives, such as the development of an Electronic Platform for Greek Exporters (available in 5 languages), which aims to present thehigh quality and competitive characteristics of Greek Food Products across the world


and facilitate the communication between potential buyers and the Greek Food Producers / Exporters. We also constantly support innovation through sustainable actions, such as the European ECOTROPHELIA competition, as well as the Greek Technology Platform and the Brokerage Events, aiming to promote entrepreneurship, through the collaborationbetween Research Institutes, Universities and the Food Industry. This is also an opportunity to attract new investments for the development of innovative, added value products that correspond to evolving consumer demands. In the Greek Food Industry, we face the crisis with a winning spirit,focusing onthe opportunities that arise, having as main objective the return to growth. Given the current emphasis on healthier food options for everybody and taking advantage of thesuperiority of the Mediterranean diet, we believe that there is a good potential for growth.Thus, we work hard, with passion, commitment to quality and respect of the environment, in order to achieve consumers’ satisfaction and sustainability of the food sector.



Why do the Greeks abroad call others to go there? by Alexandra Papaisidorou


t is not the time where you cannot make the difference. It is nothing more but a system of beliefs that limits you to see all those realities, the views, the reasons that you can really make the difference. And mainly the economic difference in your life! Brain drain ... at first, a single neologism, but simultaneously a whole philosophy. Who, why, how, when are the common questions and a whole generation - but also previous ones – grow fast the huge ‘’drain’’ in the ‘’brain’’ and backwards. The need became a trend, fashion, reflective movement. Never before had such a high number ever been made, even if the political and economic problems were more crucial at a national level. The trend, the season, the "comfort" bring the data to a new drain! This new drain is the ‘’easy solution’’, the way out, the immediate recourse. But in what? In the promising future? Who can ensure this and who defines it? A well-paid ticket from the parents and a suit-



case of disappointed dreams? Unfortunately, no, this is not an essential passport.

The trend, the season, the "comfort" bring the data to a new drain! This new drain is the ‘’easy solution’’, the way out, the immediate recourse.

«Holding 5 Master’s degree’s, the Greek researcher abandons the country deeply dissatisfied», the Greek mind excels at NASA - they never took into account his resume in Greece», «Greek scientist created the treatment of anincurable disease» and many other poisonous phrases that are unrelated to the national pride.

for finding hope, unless it comes from the inside of the soul- yours, mine, everyone’s. Then, the change will come. This means change.

But what if they all returned in their country? If the appeal was not to leave but to demand the return of the many promising scientists to a new ‘’brain rain’’ in their place? And so like a sudden first rain will rinse the rage, the disappointment and the anger with offer, motivation, strength! To stand in the place that nurtured them and next to those with the same skills, hard work, dreams, who they continued to fight here unceasingly, undisturbed, with low salaries and demanding tasks in a harsh daily routine of work or unemployment without any room





Greece is recovering, "slowly but steadily" by N. Peter Kramer


reece is recovering ‘slowly but steadily’ after central bank data show that tourism receipts are up eight years of crisis and recession. That was the almost 10% from a year ago. The spending totalled €13 message Prime Minister Tsipras brought to the billion in the first nine months of 2017, up €1.2 billion members of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Comfrom the same period a year before, the Bank of Greece merce in Athens on December 5. Confidence in Greece’s made known. financial system seems to be returning as the country prepares to exit the last of the draconian bailout proThe perspectives look positive, but the price is high, grammes in August 2018. “Instead of our own words, I very high. Comparing the Greece of today with the would like to highlight what recently was said publicly country of eight years ago is shocking. For instance, on behalf of the European Commission by the Commisthe unacceptable high unemployment rates especially sioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici. He made among young people; many pensions are nowadays on clear that Greece will be again, from August 18, a reguan inhumanly low level; the quality of health care for lar member of the Eurozone. As was the case with Porall is not consistently optimal; many teacher jobs have tugal, Ireland, Cyprus after been cut. It is all the result their programmes; without of the austerity programmes additional programmes and the EU has forced down the European shipping with no additional committhroat of Greece. The German is also the EU’s success story ments.’ Finance Minister Schäuble and his Dutch colleague Dijsand every effort should be made The progress Greece made selbloem, President of the so in order for the EU to retain its has been reflected in the called Eurogroup, were parleading position in the international country’s cost of borrowing. ticular culprits. shipping arena. Greek sovereign bond yields have dropped dramaticalThe real wrongdoers in the ly and declined in the last negotiations with the Greek 12 months. Early in 2017, government were, in the eyes Greece returned to international debt markets for the of the Greeks (but not only in theirs), the experts (whatfirst time in three years. And last November, the Greek ever that are) representing the Eurogroup, the European debt management agency announced plans to replace Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF, the so-called Troika. In its crisis-era debt issues with a series of new five year his book ‘Adults in the Room’, the former Greek Finance notes that will add liquidity to the Greek government Minister Varoufakis calls their way of negotiating ‘fibond market. It allowed Greek companies, including nancial waterboarding’: ‘Like waterboarding a prisoner, two of Greece’s leading banks and the country’s largest in this case a Eurozone government is brought to the cement producer Titan Cement, to return to the private edge of asphyxiation. But just before an actual default, debt markets. the creditors provide just enough liquidity to keep the suffocating government alive. During this brief respite Also in November, the Greek government announced the government passes whatever austerity or privatia further easing of capital controls after bank deposits sation measures the creditors demand.’ rose for the fifth month in a row. Greek banks are reducing their reliance on emergency central bank fundIn the meantime, both Schäuble and Dijsselbloem have ing; they borrowed half the level of a year ago in Oclost their ministerial status. The German became Prestober. The easing of capital controls and reduced bank ident of the Bundestag, the parliament of his country, dependence on official funding show that Greece is a more ceremonial function; the other disappeared into emerging from a years-long squeeze that has cramped oblivion after his party was wiped out in the Dutch Parthe economy. liamentary elections. As a consolation, he is allowed to chair the Eurogroup one more time in January, but Tourist spending in Greece is also on the rise. The latest without the right to vote…



The Greek (and EU) success story


he year 2017 was declared «European Maritime Year». This is hardly surprising given the paramount importance of the shipping industry for retaining the strategic and economic role of Europe and sustaining the welfare of its citizens. With Europe being one of the biggest players in global trade, European imports account for around 20% of global seaborne trade volumes (Clark sons, 2017),making this part of the world heavily dependent on the provision of an uninterrupted flow of goods into the continent by sea. Undoubtedly, the most important mode of transport for the trade between the European Union and the rest of the world is maritime transport. It is a fortunate, although not accidental, concurrence that European ship owners control 40% of the world’s merchant fleet. Indeed the strategic significance for one country (or bloc of countries in this occasion) to be in the position to carry on its own vessels its external trade is wellknown, not least since ancient times, definitely in the colonial era but also in modern times. Many countries go to extra lengths to build and protect such a fleet (the USA is one such example, while China is another newest one). Europe, due to its long-standing maritime tradition, owed largely to a number of EU member-states which represent some of the most important maritime nations in the world, has a mature and internationally competitive shipping industry. This brings a number of additional economic benefits for the EU; the EU shipping industry directly employs 640,000 people and supports a €57 billion contribution to GDP (Oxford Economics, 2017). Once indirect contributions are taken


into account the related figures rise to 2.1 million people and €140 billion, respectively. Instrumental in achieving these impressive economic results and in maintaining the EU’s strategic supremacy in terms of carriage of trade is the country of Greece, as 50% of the European fleet is in the hands of Greek ship owners. In fact, over the last decades the Greekowned fleet has held continuously the first position worldwide, controlling about 20% of the world deadweight tonnage. Today, Greece is the largest ship owning country in terms of cargo-carrying capacity (309 million dwt) (UNCTAD, 2017) with more than 4,500 ships trading worldwide. Greek shipping is active in all segments of the shipping industry; it has the largest share of oil tankers and represents 21.53% of the world dry bulk carrier fleet, while it has remarkably increased its share in the container ship market to 8.13% compared to less than 3% at the start of the decade. The Greek flag is also particularly well-placed in the list of leading flags of registration (by dwt tonnage), as it ranks seventh in the world and second in the EU (IHS Maritime &Trade/World Shipping Encyclopaedia, 2017). The above are by no means insignificant on their own; but they acquire additional weight considering the small size of the country and its population and the small scale of trade taking place between Greece and other trading partners. In fact, the Greek-owned fleet is the world’s largest cross-trading fleet with 98.5% of its trading capacity carrying cargoes between third countries, essentially serving the whole world (Clark


nature, i.e. its cross-trading business activities, carrying cargoes between third countries and earning its living outside Greece. A study of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (ΙΟΒΕ)has indicated that the total contribution of Greek shipping to the national economy amounts to €13 billion of added value per year and 192 thousand jobs (January 2013). Hundreds of offices with multiple employees in different sectors related to the shipping industry exist in Greece. These are, inter alia, managing companies, shipping law firms, ship brokerage offices, crew agencies, travel agencies, suppliers of shipping equipment, bunker companies, insurance companies, P&I Clubs, and others. According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the total contribution of the Greek shipping cluster to the economy has remained very important throughout the years and it exceeds 7% of the Greek GDP. The Greek ship owners have been investing shipping capital in various sectors of the Greek economy, such as energy, transportation, construction, financial services, tourism, real estate, technology and retail.

sons, 2016). This diverse fleet is also one of the safest and one of the newest fleets in the world with an averGreek-owned shipping age age the 11.3 years, compared with the average age of the world fleet which is 14.6 years.Greek ship owners European shipping have always been in the first is also the EU’s success story line when it comes to adoptand every effort should be made in ing technological progress in order for the EU to retain its leading shipbuilding, taking, on many position in the occasions, a pioneering approach to shipping services. international shipping arena. For Greece, Greek shipping is a national asset, fortunately beyond political parties, with a decisive and multifaceted economic contribution and of political and strategic importance for the country. Shipping, generally, has an important strategic role to play for the defense of every country, as ships can be requisitioned for the purposes of transportation of military personnel, equipment, goods and supplies at times of war. But, first and foremost, Greek shipping’s economic contribution to the country is quite impressive. In particular, its contribution to Greece’s Balance of Payments, especially since the repatriation of Greek shipping companies which commenced in the 1980s,has been substantial and irreplaceable. It is justly considered to be one of the two stalwarts of the Greek economy. Having said that, it is, however, worth-noting that the Greek shipping sector was never part of the country’s debt crisis. And this is, primarily, due to its very

is one of the last remaining truly entrepreneurial sectors comprising primarily small and medium-sized unquoted private companies, mostly family businesses, with a truly global character and activity. With its economic contribution in Greece and its strategic role in securing vital imports and exports needs for the economies and welfare of many regions in the world, including Europe, Asia and the USA, it cannot but, rightfully, be regarded as the Greek success story, one that should be well safeguarded. The same is true for Europe at large; European shipping is also a European success story and every effort should be made in order for the EU to retain its leading position in the international shipping arena. To this end, shipping should be placed at the centre of the vision of European policy makers who are called upon to reorient their focus on shipping at the global level and to maintain a level playing field for it vis-à-vis global competition. Given that Europe faces fierce competition as a location for shipping activities, EU shipping policy should enhance and guarantee the long-term competitiveness of European shipping, thus ensuring the longterm sustainability of this very important sector and the European maritime cluster as a whole.



London, United Kingdom

Dreaming of a White Christmas: The best European cities for the holiday season


t is an undeniable fact that the Christmas period induces aninner child in many of us.Amazing parades, illuminating cities, hot cocoa, decorated trees and lots of gifts for our beloved ones make up the festive backdrop. No matter what your holiday style may be,European Business Review brings you a small, magical taste of the Christmas spirit from the most famous European capitals. Happy holidays! PARIS, FRANCE Paris undergoes a major transformation with the approach of the festive season. The city’s most beautiful monuments are illuminated, Christmas decorations adorn the streets, and department store windows are filled with animated displays. Markets, nativity scenes, merry-go-rounds and a plethora of activities and events take over the city, offering fun for the family. Restaurants keep the festive spirit alive with special menus for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration. The Christmas markets held all over the capital:


in Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Place de la Nation on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and in Place du Trocadéro. Don’t miss to pay a visit in Disneyland Paris, where you can enjoy a full-fledged magical Christmas theme on Main Street, a sparkling holiday parade and other festive events full of surprises that should help you and the whole family create precious memories for a lifetime. BERLIN, GERMANY Berlin has between 50 and sometimes up to 100 Christ-


mas markets. The most famous of them are Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz, Red Town Halland Opera Palace. Cozy and a bit of luxury between the German and French Church with its mighty towers, the Gendarmenmarkt has stalls with food and drinks, exclusive crafts and of course, Christmas decorations and souvenirs. Great-smelling food and drink of the stalls entice visitors to spend the evening exploring the sights and sounds on offer in the Berliner Weinachtszeit, which is located behind Alexanderplatz and it is considered as an excellent place to soak up the Christmas spirit. You'll enjoy discovering rides, mulled wine and traditional toys among many other gifts here. Last but not least, the Winterwald(winter forest) in front of the small orangery offers magical attractions for children, including a nostalgic carousel, an air swing and a small railway. MADRID, SPAIN Madrid can offer the ideal backdrop for a romantic vacation or a memorable holiday season with the entire family. The fair gathering antiques, artworks and collectibles is coming back to Madrid once again this year with more than 12,000 items. Collectors will find thousands of reasons to visit the Christmas Market: vintage pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s, archaeological pieces and paintings. The main Christmas market each year in Madrid is in Plaza Mayor. Its stalls usually open in the last week of November. Stalls usually spill over into nearby Plaza Santa Cruz. Many public displays and contests are everywhere during Christmas. Belenes(na-

tivity scenes) are set throughout the city, in churches, shopping malls and other public venues. Moreover, you should definitely visit the Cabalgata de los Magoswhich is celebrated each year on the evening of January 5th. A massive parade weaves through Madrid and during that time children hurry to catch candy thrown from the floats. The traditional end to New Year’s Eve is to visit the Chocolateria San Ginés in order to calm the after party hunger pangs with some delicious chocolate con churros. ATHENS, GREECE Celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Greece is like finding yourself in an expressionist work of art: decorated Christmas trees, shiny bright ornaments, harmonious bells and children’s carols echo through the cities. Traditional culinary delights such as ‘’melomakarona’’ and ‘’kourabiedes’’ symbolize good luck in the New Year. Downtown Athens you can enjoy free concerts in Sýntagma Square and dance in the tavernas in Pláka and Psiri or light up your nights at all the clubs withurban and mainstream music. Additionally, you can go shopping at the heart of the city inErmou, Monastiráki, or Kolonáki or just take a stroll around archaeological sites, such as the Acropolisand relax relishing a fine meal outdoors. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM London promises Christmas holidays full of adventure, fun and lots of activities for the whole family.The most

Prague, Czech Republic



spectacular Christmas destination is theHyde Park Winter Wonderland, whichreturns on the 20th November for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with free admission and even more entertainment than before, having more than 100 rides and attractions on site. For those Christmas shoppers, there’s the traditional German Christmas market with over 200 chalets. The Angels Christmas Market of London offers unusual and handmade gifts and crafts, including ceramics, candles, jewellery, wooden toys, nativity scenes and Christmas decorations. Pick up luxurious Christmas puddings and mince pies from the famous food halls at Harrods. You can wander along an illuminated trail through beautiful botanical gardens during Christmas at Kew and experience Christmas as it would have been in Victorian times at Kensington Palace. Find everything from traditional carols to Christmas hits at the Royal Albert Hall’s annual Christmas Festival or tuck into festive treats and dance to the beat of steel pans at Portobello Winter Festival.

giore. The largest Christmas tree in the city is located in St. Peter's Square. On the 5th of January the evening is the feast of Befana, who is a good witch flying over Italy, giving gifts to the children.



From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating to traditional markets and Christmas shows, London is a Christmas wonderland. In December, the famous baroque Piazza Navona Square turns into a huge Christmas market, where you will find stalls with Christmas sweets, toys, ornaments and gifts while the kids will meet the Santa Claus. Also, you should not forget to take some pictures from the oldest manger in the church of Santa Maria Mag-

An illuminated market square filled with stalls selling tree ornaments, warm drinks, and sugary treats, carolers that sing traditional tunes and colorful lights twinkle from the buildings above. These are the main reasons why Christmas in Vienna constitutes one of the most populardestinations for family holidays. You can fully enjoy the festive atmosphere of the town and visit the plethora of markets for your shopping. The largest and most popular of them is Christkindlmarkt at

BERN, SWITZERLAND Christmas in Switzerland has an unforgettable atmosphere. From November 21st the city is adorned and illuminated by 12,000 crystal lamps. On December 19th, the children leave hundreds of lit candles floating on the river, next to the Town Hall. Guests can walk to the historic old town and enjoy concerts, such as the Rämistrasseoutdoor or the Grossmünster temple. In Bern, you will, also, discover two Christmas markets; the main one fills the central square, Waisenhausplatz, with good cheer and colourful stalls. However, for something special follow the locals to the smaller market in Münsterplatz, right in front of the cathedral. This is where artists and craftsmen sell their creations.

Rome, Italy



Vienna, Austria the Rathausplatz, which is located in front of the City Hall. Another hot spot before Christmas is the cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace. It offers sheer romance in front of an imperial backdrop and is transformed into a New Year's market after Christmas. AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS The Dutch Christmas festive season officially starts with the arrival of Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) and his legion of Zwarte Piet helpers in mid-November. He arrives by boat from Spain to a different Dutch city every year in an event broadcast live on television. The Amsterdam Light Festival lights up Amsterdam in a feast of colours, best seen from the water on a special Canal Cruise. Moreover, don’t forget to visit the Museum Square, which turns into a wonderful Christmas Village, where you can enjoy Dutch treats, visit the Amsterdam Christmas market and go ice skating. At Nieuwmarkt Square and Dam, in front of the palace, the New Year's Eve is a great celebration.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC Undoubtedly, the unique atmosphere in the medieval central Prague mesmerizes you. The Christmas market at the Old Time Square consists of brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with handicrafts such as glassware, ceramics, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, tree ornaments and dolls dressed in traditional costume. Visitors will find nice souvenirs to take home, to decorate their houses or for Christmas gifts. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK If you are looking for a fairytale then the house of Hans Christian Andersen is the ideal destination! Visit the famous Little Mermaid and then take a stroll to the city's lovely bars and cafes to watch the snowfall from the windows. At the heart of Copenhagen you will find the Tivoli Amusement Park, where Christmas is a romantic spectacle with touching illumination and mugs full of glöggto keep you warm!



When fake news takes over by Wout van Wijk *


ake news is big news. In that sense, it is no surprise that the term “fake news” was made “word of the year 2017” by Collins, following what the dictionary called its “ubiquitous presence” over the last 12 months. Sadly, trust in quality journalism by mainstream media, is under pressure. As in any relationship a business establishes with a customer, trust is key. This is no different for the news media sector, who are amidst a transition towards securing a more digital future. In our industry, consumers generally have a strong connection with a certain news


brand, on which they rely for bringing them reliable quality news content, in a format they identify with. With the increase of news consumption through online channels, but also with the proliferation of online news channels of all sorts,this holds true even more. Publishers aim to maintain their transparent and reliable brands for the consumption high high-quality local, national and international news. Bringing quality journalism to consumers, is expensive. Think about the time and travel of the journal-


ists that need to be covered, fake news are fishing for the the editing, setting up and same advertising revenues as Fake news is not a new issue as maintaining the physical and quality news media. such, but the power of the platforms digital distribution channels, has significantly amplified the and so on. It is also therefore So, in an arena where we very important that news compete with the platforms magnitude of the problem. brands remain well funded, for advertising revenue, fake to remain independent and to news becomes yet another enable them to provide high layer of competition, by playquality, and relevant content to its readers. ers that don’t play by the rules as a principle. I see an adequately funded and pluralistic media landscape as one of the key remedies against fake news. Unfortunately, publishers are faced with the fact that it has become increasingly difficult to monetize their content online. Stricter rules on advertising will lead to a decrease in value of advertising as such and some upcoming European legislation could seriously hamper certain business models for the monetization of publishers’ content online. On the other hand, the European Commission has acknowledged the imbalance between publishers and platforms in its recent copyright reforms and we are eagerly looking to correct that imbalance by establishing a publishers’ right, which would help publishers to better enforce their copyright online. The business models that the news media sector applies to its digital offerings depend on online advertising. And while European legislation might affect the ways that publishers can use online advertising as a funding model, there’s a clear issue when we look at the proliferation of fake new online, as providers of

Fake news is not a new issue as such, but the power of the platforms has significantly amplified the magnitude of the problem. The role of online platforms as amplifiers of disinformation is one that needs to be discussed urgently. I’m not necessarily calling for regulation, but I would want to see them step up to plate when it comes to their Corporate Responsibility. Perhaps we should also realise that the issue of fake news online, and its disruptive powers, is one of which we only recently started to understand its implications. It is therefore that I’m grateful to Commissioner Gabriel for prioritizing this issue.

* Wout van Wijk is Executive Director of News Media Europe (News Mews Europe represents over 2200 titles of newspapers, radio, tv and internet. News Media Europe is committed to maintaining and promoting the freedom of the press, to upholding and enhancing the freedom to publish, and to championing the news brands which are one of the most vital parts of Europe’s creative industries)



Life in 2030: these are the 4 things experts can’t predict Alvin Toffler predicted a future in his 1970 bestseller Future Shock that looks much like today’s reality by Lee Rainie *


e anticipated the rise of the internet, the sharing economy, companies built on “adhocracy” rather than centralized bureaucracy, and the broader social confusions and concerns about technology. He foresaw that the evolving relationship between people and technology would shape how societies and economies develop. This is also the focus of much of the World Economic Forum's work. It explores how technology advances and how relevant challenges will be addressed by the year 2030. Here are some of the uncertainties that policy-makers, corporate executives, and civil society actors face as they move into this new world. CAN WE MASTER GREATER CONNECTIVITY? Many are convinced that the internet will be every-


where - or nearly everywhere - in the next generation. It will be "on" most things and built into many objects and environments. Experts claim that the internet will fade into the background, becoming like electricity less visible but deeply embedded in human endeavors. Even those without high levels of literacy will interact with digital material and apps using their voice, igniting an unprecedented expansion of knowledge and learning. This explosion of connectivity brings new possibilities, but also economic and social vulnerabilities. The level of coordination and coding required to stitch the Internet of Things together is orders of magnitude more complicated than any historical endeavour yet. It is likely that things will break and no one will know how to fix them. Bad actors will be able to achieve societal disruptions at scale and from afar.


Consequently, we are faced with some hard, costly choices. How much redundancy should these complex systems have? How will they be defended and by whom? How is liability redefined, as objects are networked across a global grid and attacks can metastasize quickly? WILL WE CREATE MORE MEANINGFUL WORK? There is no consensus about whether the forces unleashed by technology destroy more jobs than they create or whether the historic pattern of human upskilling prevails as new, more valuable jobs replace those supplanted by technology. The next advancements in machines are clear, but the human response is not.

These will all be monitored by artificial intelligence systems that assess student performance and the sufficiency of the course. Employees are also self-training with online material. Will this adaptation be sufficient to the task? It depends on the talents rewarded by the next economy. When Pew Research Center queried experts, a considerable number focused on how the best education programmes would be those teaching how to be a lifelong learner. Some say alternative credential systems will arise to assess the new skills people acquire.

The experts also discussed specific human talents which they doubt machines and automation will be able to duplicate for some time. These include social and emotional intelligence, creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication skills, and the ability to thrive in diverse environThere is considerable concern ments. It is unclear whether that the way people use American schools and univerthe internet is degrading trust. sities can re-orient to emphaThe fate of trust and sizing these non-technical truth is up for grabs. skills.

How the ecosystem of education and skills-training will adapt is extremely relevant. Colleges, community colleges and trade schools are in the early stages of adjusting to a disruption in their business model that could rival the challenges already faced by the media and music industry. Many institutions now embrace teaching through online video or hybrid courses which provide both online and classroom experiences.

CAN TRUST AND TRUTH BE REVIVED? Trust is a social, economic and political binding agent.



A vast research literature on trust and social capital documents the connections between trust and well-being, collective problem solving, economic development and social cohesion. Trust is the lifeblood of friendship and care-giving. When trust is absent, all kinds of societal woes unfold, including violence, chaos and paralysing risk-aversion. There is considerable concern that the way people use the internet is degrading trust. The fate of trust and truth is up for grabs. On one hand, many worry that the fake news ecosystem preys on deep human instincts. Preferences for convenience, comfort, and information that reinforces their views make people vulnerable to the ways new tech tools can identify, target and manipulate them. On the other hand, humans have a decent track record of confronting problems caused by communications revolutions. There are new ways to fight back, at internet speed. HOW MUCH CAN SOCIAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION ALLEVIATE NEW PROBLEMS? With so much upheaval, people, groups and organizations will be forced to adjust. Some primary aspects of collective action and power are already changing as social networks become a societal force. These networks


are used for both knowledge-sharing and mobilizing others to action. There are new ways for people to collaborate to solve problems. Moreover, there are a growing number of group structures to address problems, from micro-niche issues to macro-global affairs such as climate change and pandemics. New laws and court battles are inevitable and are likely to address questions such as: Who owns what information? Who can use and profit from information? When something goes wrong with an information-processing system (say, a self-driving car propels itself off a bridge), who is responsible? Where is the right place to draw the line between data capture - or surveillance - and privacy? What kinds of personal information can be legitimately considered when assessing someone’s employment, creditworthiness or insurance status? Who oversees the algorithms that decide what happens in society? There is a long road ahead to 2030. There is a lot of opportunity to make the uncertain more certain.

* Lee Rainie Director, internet and technology at the World Economic Forum



Innovation is called “smart-tinting glass” by Niels Schreuder *


lass unlimited, used to be AGC’s tagline. What seemed to be a material producer’s wish has become plain reality. The flat glass products of today are simply available in all kinds of applications. Sales people bring product samples along to show what is new but glass is already everywhere around us in our houses’ windows, kitchens, bathrooms, in offices, meeting rooms, cars and busses, railway-stations and airports. Glass is everywhere. Known for glazing in windows with high insulating properties, the sector is now extending into new territory. The innovation is called “smart-tinting glass”, to be placed into the global marketplace by mid-2018, is not just glass, it is a system for the management of natural light that transitions from clear to dark in less than 3 minutes. Offering sun blocking, anti-glare protection and near privacy, thissmart-tinting glass system makes of the building’s occupants wish its command. Connecting the building occupants to their external environment while providing them with their desired


internal environment, it’s all-in one with asmart-tinting glass system. No curtains or sun-shading blinds are needed no more. Imagine a Board room fitted with smart-tinting windows (see below). Also private houses can be fitted with a smart-tinting glass system and switch the window from clear (66% light transmittance) to dark (0,1% light transmittance). The innovative system comes in two versions: just smart and smart Black. Where smart-tinting glass blocks the glare and the heat to manage thermal comfort, it’s Black version can go one step further blocking up to 99.9% total transmitted light to provide near blackout and enhanced privacy. That last solution is ideal for internal meeting room walls. Transparent building components aim to assure the connection with the environment outside the building, letting the light in. Adding the electrochromic technology to the glass represents a true innovation and provides for interactive windows and walls. Together with the Californian start-up Kinestral Technologies, the AGC Group developeda smart-tinting glass system,


called Halio™, as a key stepping stone into the new business paradigm of the “connected” building windows.

Two-third of the glass products that the world will be benefitting from in ten years do not exist yet today. The sector innovates onwards because glass as a material truly provides unlimited solutions.

But how does it work? Kinestral and AGC have not revealed the exact technology behind this glass system but it works when applying electricity. The electric current passes through electrodes turning the glass from clear to dark. The process can be stopped and the tint attainted in between remains there. When the current is switched again the electrodes are reversed and the window turns transparent once again. No power is needed to maintain electrochromic windows in their clear or dark state—the only power needed is to change them.

Halio™ works as easy as a light switch. A stand-alone system gives users multiple control options by a mobile app and/or wall mount controls. It can even be activated by voice commands, all standard security provisions included.

The world gets more and more connected and so do buildings and cars. They will soon become ideal connectors in the smart cities of tomorrow. What still looks like ordinary glass will soon play a role in the “Internet of Things”. Able to be uniformly darken within three minutes, the window can also be linked up and be part of a building management system (BMS). Halio™ is a cloud connected system. With its exclusive algorithms, the system automatically adjusts to the building’s function, its location, orientation of the facades and weather conditions. The remote management system enables users to check the status in real time. Two-third of the glass products that the world will be benefitting from in ten years do not exist yet today. The sector innovates onwards because glass as a material truly provides unlimited solutions.

* Niels Schreuder Public Auffairs Manager AGC Glass Europe



Why culture matters: fostering identity through cultural heritage A museum director’s reflections on vexing global issues such as identity, tolerance, conflict and war by Markus Hilgert *


ulture is the expression of how we perceive the world, how we interpret our environment and assess the people we meet. Our personal interpretation of what we perceive is guided by such diverse factors as affections, convictions, preconceived notions, beliefs and values.


In other words, culture is about positioning yourself within your environment and your community. At the same time, however, culture can also be about distancing or separating yourself from individuals or communities.



Especially at a time, when pluralism, free speech, democracy, human rights and equal development oppor tunities are threatened around the world, we need culture and cultural heritage more than ever.

When culture aids us in positioning ourselves within our environment, it provides orientation and creates identities. However, just as cultures, identities are not very stable. Material culture and cultural materials are so powerful and attractive to us, because they are potentially more stable than human identities and social communities.

Buildings and monuments may last for hundreds, if not for thousands of years. Some valuable family heirloom may be passed down from generation to generation, a ring, a watch, a painting, a hand-written letter. And even though cultural objects do not possess a meaning by themselves, they literally are what we make of them and what we see in them. For that reason, cultural objects – be they movable or immovable – give us a sense of stability, of duration and lasting values, something that many human beings long for, especially in times of growing uncertainties. In addition, cultural objects frequently are an

expression of achievement, of prosperity, of success. They are tangible and visible proof that a society commands the resources, the capacities and the expertise to produce these objects. CULTURE AND OTHERNESS

Cultural objects always and invariably point to the past and evoke history. In fact, they are the material anchors of all of our narratives about the past. Thus, cultural objects aid us in the creation of lasting identities. They frame historical narratives and are material witnesses to past greatness or failure. For some, they even embody values and beliefs. When cultural objects are considered by communities to represent something special, something related to the chosen identity of that community, they become heritage, cultural heritage. As much as cultural heritage is an expression of identity for any community, it is also a material expression of difference for anybody who does not belong to that community. In that case, cultural heritage and culture as a whole



may be perceived as a symbol of the “other,” or even as a threat to one’s own identity. It is through culture, in particular through cultural heritage, that “otherness” becomes palpable and that differences may be emphasized and reinforced, or mitigated, mediated, or overcome, as the case may be. CULTURAL OBJECTS AS BEACONS OF CONFLICT AND WAR This is the reason why throughout history, cultural heritage has been a target during wars and periods of pronounced power asymmetries, such as imperial or colonial domination. At the same time, culture and cultural heritage are powerful instruments for rehabilitation in post-conflict societies. Thus, when you destroy or displace the culture of a community, you erase its history, you negate its achievements, you take away its common point of reference, its orientation. But there is something else: By destroying or displacing the cultural heritage of a community, you also reduce its chances for sustainable development, cultural diversity, post-conflict rehabilitation and reconciliation. The history of humankind abounds with examples for the willful destruction of cultural heritage as a strategy of war. The earliest recorded cases reach all the way back to Ancient Mesopotamia, the latest are the acts of cultural cleansing committed by Daesh in Iraq and Syria.


DEALING WITH THE DISPLACEMENT ISSUE In addition, power asymmetries in the late 19th and early 20th century have led to the displacement of large amounts of cultural objects brought to Europe and North America. This was done for the purpose of doing research and establishing “universal” museums. Not all of these displacements were illegal or violent, as is often claimed. But it is true that we are still a long way off from understanding in detail under what circumstances these objects were displaced and what their future status might be. Yet, there can be no question that both destruction and displacement of cultural objects are equally harmful for any society affected by them. Today, as we are more acutely aware of the social, political and economic power of culture and cultural heritage, we must do all we can to protect, promote and share cultural heritage. It is by protecting and sharing culture that we enable orientation and identification. Culture is a synonym for diversity. When we promote culture, we foster tolerance, the ability to accept the own and to embrace the other. At any given time in human history, culture has been an instrument for rehabilitation and reconciliation. Caring for their cultural heritage enables communities to overcome differences and to strengthen social cohesion.


RECONCILIATION ACROSS BORDERS In countries like Iraq and Syria, rehabilitating in particular the pre-Islamic cultural heritage will provide the opportunity to promote the much-needed processes of dialogue and reconciliation across social and confessional borders. What does all that mean for us, our way of dealing with culture and our responsibility to protect cultural heritage? Naturally, answers to this question will vary according to expertise and capacity. On an institutional level, expert institutions like the Ancient Near East Museum at the Pergamon Museum may use their considerable expertise in the area of archaeo-logical cultural heritage to contribute to its protection through: • capacity building projects • research on illicit trafficking in cultural objects • the development of procedures and standards for the 3D digitization of archaeological heritage, and • awareness-raising initiatives. ESTABLISHING TRANSPARENCY



At the same time, museums created through the displacement of cultural objects in the past need to make all necessary efforts to establish accountability and transparency as to the history of their collections. States have the responsibility to provide adequate legal frameworks for the protection of cultural heritage including effective laws against the illicit traffic in cultural goods.

Last but not least, the international community has the duty to provide aid to those countries that do not possess the means to protect or care for their cultural heritage. This is particularly true in situations of conflict or disaster. A PRACTICAL EXAMPLE One great example for an innovative initiative is the international public-private partnership ALIPH, the “International Alliance for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones”. Initiated by the governments of France and the United Arab Emirates in March 2017, the global fund ALIPH is certain to set new standards in providing financial support for emergency action and long-term research in the area of cultural heritage protection. Especially at a time, when pluralism, free speech, democracy, human rights and equal development opportunities are threatened around the world, we need culture and cultural heritage more than ever. Culture and cultural heritage are not just a “symptom” of strong, resilient societies. Culture and cultural heritage are the key to strong, resilient societies.

* Markus Hilgert Assyriologist/current director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin



Social Media and SMEs by Nantia Tigani & Antonis Zairis *


ocial media refers to online services that support social interactions among social media users through highly accessible and scalable web-based publishing techniques (Dutta, 2010), in order to co-create, find, share and evaluate the online information repository. Kaplan and Haenlein, (2010) define social media as a


group of internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and the internet-based applications allow the exchange of user-generated content (Lee, 2014). Safko and Brake (2009), refer to media that people can use to be social. In the end, social media are about online interactions and connections (Looy, 2016).


Social media regarded as a medium of marketing by Social media tools can provide improved communicamany businesses. Social media have changed the ways tion and collaboration between the firm and its stakein which businesses communicate with their customers holders (e.g. customers, suppliers, business partners) and vice-versa. It allows busi(Burke, Fields and Kafai, nesses to customize messages 2010, Culnan, McHugh and and make them interactive by Zubillaga, 2010), an innovaSMEs have to introduce new involving the user in the contive way for firms to identify technologies to enter into struction of the message. As products with high selling global markets and find ways noted by Oracle (2012) and potential (Liang and Turban, to attract customers if Salermo et al., (2013), con2011) and a better channel sumers are helping business for attracting and retaining they want to compete in shape their brand and service online customers (Informaglobal scenarios. by having conversations with tion Resources Management other consumers that will ulAssociation, 2016). According timately affect the revenue of to Coremetrics (2010), social the businesses. Moreover, according to Trusov, Bucklin media is the fastest-growing marketing channel in the and Pauwels (2009), word-of-mouth on internet social world, (Pentina, Koh and Le, 2012). networking site has a strong impact on new customer acquisition and has longer carryover than traditional SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS AND THEIR OBJECforms of marketing. TIVES.SOURCE: CASTRONOVO & HUANG, 2012 Social media and internet have proven to be the most ________________________________________________ powerful tools in directing the mindsets of customers. Tool Objective There is a large number of social media that SMEs can ________________________________________________ use to interact with their customers. The most popular Chats: improve customer service create social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, sense of community room for cusYouTube and Blogging ( Peres and Mesquita, 2015). tomer feedback



________________________________________________ Blogs: prompt recommendations via WOM build a meaningful relationship with the customer increase loyalty ________________________________________________ YouTube: harness power of video to increase sharing of content in other sites ________________________________________________ Facebook: advertising community development target specific audiences ________________________________________________ LinkedIn: connection with professional community ________________________________________________ Twitter: customer engagement conversation propagation ________________________________________________ FourSquare: increase local and mobile connectivity increase network engagement (Lena Malacka, 2015) ________________________________________________ MEASUREMENTS OF SUCCESS OF SOCIAL MEDIA According to Castronovo and Huang (2012), social media can be used to accomplish one of three goals for a business: building awareness, increasing sales, or building loyalty. If the goal is to build awareness, measurement of success will revolve around the analysis of web traffic, web traffic referrals, volume of followers, social mentions, and share of voice. If the goal is to increase sales, measurement of the social media program’s success must take into account web traffic, time spent on the site, repeat visits, content acceptance rate, followers, social mentions, and share of voice. If the goal is to build loyalty, success measurement will need to include an analysis of time spent on the site, repeat visits, followers, content acceptance rate, repeated social mentions, share of voice, recommendations and reviews, and social connectivity among purchasers. Therefore, the most appropriate success measurement techniques depend on the specific goal that is being pursued through the social media marketing program (Baer, 2009). THE TABLE BELOW SHOWS THE SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY GOALS AND THEIR RELATED METRICS: ________________________________________________ Goals Related Metrics ________________________________________________ Build Awareness Web traffic and web traffic referrals Search volume trends and volume of followers Social mentions Share of voice


________________________________________________ Increase Sales Web traffic and time spent on site Bounce rate and content acceptance rate Repeat visit and volume of followers Social mentions Share of voice ________________________________________________ Build Loyalty Time spent on site Repeat visit and volume of followers Content acceptance rate Repeat social mentions Share of voice Recommendations and reviews Social connectivity among purchasers ________________________________________________ SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY GOALS AND RELATED METRICS As traditional marketing and sales methods no longer work because the traditional methods are less effective, companies should incorporate into their strategy the social media whose use offer significant benefits to the competitive advantage and increase of profitability (KPMG, 2011, p.2). According to Statista (2017), in 2015, worldwide revenue from social media came to a total of 22.9 billion euros. SMEs have to introduce new technologies to enter into global markets and find ways to attract customers if they want to compete in global scenarios. As larger organizations are entering into Internet-enabled business, SMEs have to upgrade their tools and techniques to equip themselves with the abilities to compete with large organizations. In addition, more has to be done to encourage stability and growth in the SME business sector, and to establish globally competitive firms. SMEs face the challenges of fast-changing technology and business scenarios in the knowledge-based economy (Al-Qirim, 2004). SMEs who engage in social media sites and product/ service specific blogs have in some cases shown a tremendous ability to engage with customers and ultimately drive sales (Brychan and Geoff 2010, p. 131). According to Neti (2011), social media gives businesses on small budgets the ability to find out what people are saying about them in their industry, without paying large sums on market research. With its ear to the ground on social media, the company will be the first to know if its product is working or if changes need to be made. The following table sums up the most common


social media tools and their objectives. BENEFITS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SMES.

es. Micro and small enterprises, which are usually deep-rooted in their local environment, may take advantage of Web 2.0. (Cesaroni and Consoli, 2015).

According to Kaplan & Haenlein (2010), the benefits of social media are currently a topic of great discussion in the business press. The use of social media applications has extended beyond individuals to attract the interest of businesses (Stockdale, Ahmed and Scheepers, 2012). According to Meske and Stieglitz (2013), social media becomes increasingly relevant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

According to Stockdale, Ahmed and Scheepers (2012), smaller businesses can gain business value from the use of social media for internal and external purposes (Geho, Smith & Lewis 2010). The ease of use and ‘elementary directions’ of the different applications make social media accessible to both inexperienced and technically orientated people (Lacho & Marinello 2010, p.128).

There are number of opportunities for gaining competitive advantage that can be realised by SMEs using social media, including improved communication with customers (Meske and Stieglitz, 2013, Schaffer, 2013), better interaction with suppliers (Michaelidou, Siamagka and Christodoulides, 2011), brand and reputation enhancement (He, Wang and Zha, 2014), market research (Kim, Lee and Lee, 2011) and knowledge sharing (Peres and Mesquita, 2015).

This accessibility is of particular relevance to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that have traditionally lacked the skills to effectively use IT, but who benefit from the technology when they use it well (Wielicki & Arendt, 2010).

Small enterprises can interact with their stakeholders and can receive opinions/suggestions to improve their products/services. Social media open a wide range of opportunities for small firms, because they are cheap and don’t require high-level technological competenc-

* Nantia Tigani Marketing and Public Relations Professional

* Antonis Zairis Vice President of Hellenic Retail Business Association



Lech-Zürs, Austria

Top 5 of the most glamorous ski resorts in Europe


ltimate luxury, opulent hotels,gourmet food and intense nightlife there is a large variety of luxurious ski resorts that attract millionaires, royalties,CEO’s and professional skiers.EBR recommends the top world-class ski areas and extraordinary chalets to spend your Christmas holidays. by Eirini Sotiropoulou GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND


Many professional skiers have settled in the Gstaad in order to take advantage of the steep slopes, varied conditions and resort culture, making it a truly cosmopolitan destination.The Gstaad-Zweisimmen-Rougemont ski area comprises of five separate hills while nearby Château d’Oex offers a further 30km.Moreover, the designer boutiques lining its main promenade (Chanel, Cartier, Louis Vuitton) reflect its sophistication. This explains the reason why Gstaad is a famous destination for CEO’s, business executives and political leaders.

France remains the epitome of aristo chic – home to seven five-star hotels, three restaurants with Michelin stars and several of the world’s finest mountain spas. Situated in the Northern French Alps, close to Mt Blanc, the scenery is magnificentA Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass gives access to Megève as well as Chamonix, Courmayeur, Verbier and Les Contamines.On the other hand, Courchevel is a part of Les TroisVallées, the largest linked ski areas in the world. Named the St. Tropez of winter sports, it attracts almost only a select clien-



tele of VIPs, wealthy people and royal families, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Beckhams and Giorgio Armani, among others. Courchevel is also known for its fine dining, since ithas the most Michelin starred restaurants. A total of seven restaurants share 11 Michelin stars, including four restaurants that have been awarded two Michelin stars, including Le Chabichou. It also hosts a variety of luxury shops including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Valentino, LoroPiana, Prada, Cartier, Fendi, Dior and Chanel. So, if you’re planning a glamorous winter adventure and search for thevibe of the ski culture, then Megève or Courchevel are the ideal destinations! LECH-ZÜRS, AUSTRIA Lech and Zurs are situated in the Arlberg region of Austria with 100 five-star and four-star hotels between them. The 22.5km Weisse Rausch (White Ring) circuit is popular with intermediates who can follow blue and red pistes around Zürs, Oberlech and Lech. Perfect for families and couples, Lech and Zürs share an uncompromising commitment to quality. The predominantly wealthy clientele can enjoy refined nightlife, 5 star luxury hotels and sophisticated restaurants. CORTINA, ITALY Cortina is renowned as Italy’s most upmarket and fashionable ski resort.Cortina’s ski area spreads across four sectors: lifts rise out of town to Faloria and Tofana, while Cinque Torri and Lagazuoi are accessed by bus. Additionally, the visitors prefer to shop fur, antiques and jewellery or watch snow polo while drink-

Lech-Zürs, Austria ing champagne. We highly recommend you visit the gourmet restaurants, wine bars and chic boutiques. Last but not least, the five-star Cristallo Hotel Spa & Golf captures the visitor’s attention, since it is all about old-school glamour with lavish suites and room service delivered on silver salvers. ST MORITZ, SWITZERLAND Glamorous, chic and naturally expensive, St Moritz is understandably exclusive and preserved as a haven for the rich and famous.Its name is a registered trademark and stands for style, elegance and class.The Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains gets all the kudos, but for the position and pure opulence we love Hotel Steffani. There is also an excellent Club Med St Moritz here with its own luxurious mountain restaurant. Famous guests appreciate the modern Alpine lifestyle, characterized by top-class restaurants that can satisfy gourmet demands even by the side of the slopes, hotels that set standards in every category and events of international caliber. The Via Serlas guarantees great shopping, though you can also find local specialities.

Cortina, Italy



Crisis reputation management: quick steps for Kobeiko and brand Japan Corporate crises are the new norm. Every couple of months the world finds out about some corporate missteps which, given the involved companies, create panic on the international markets and make the stock indices turn red by Radu Magdin *


he attempt to bring together performance, responsibility, and transparency often fails and a debate about consequences is quick to follow. The recent Kobe Steel scandal and the other corporate debacles that affected major Japanese manufacturers are a good case study in terms of what can be done in the short and medium term, at the company and industry levels. However, a broader debate about corporate responsibility and appropriate business practices have to take place and to address the uncomfortable truths if Japan's brand reputation is to be saved. Japan is a great country and deserves a continued great reputation, since it has a strong inner culture for work, community and excellence. So, action should be swift, with this purpose in mind. The recent revelations about the commercial practices at four Kobe Steel plants, making know the way in which quality control tests were manipulated, sent shock signals and sharpened the strategic senses of those who are used to privilege the communication crisis approach. What is to be done, both for the company and for the Japanese industrial brand in general,


so that the negative effects will be contained and the trust relationship (between suppliers and manufacturers, between consumers and businesses) restored? I sketch some preliminary answers before discussing a broader point about the more formal checks and balances that have to be in place to improve corporate culture to avoid such episodes in the future. In the Kobe Steel case, the right attitude to mitigate the reputation damage should be centred around two main concepts: full transparency and the adoption of/ support for pro-active, externally-driven actions. We observe that, on the one hand, the image and commercial interests of the concerned company are affected. The stock markets have spoken and the lawyers will follow suit - recalls will be probably issued, compensations will be demanded, and some people will lose their corporate jobs as a consequence of reputation damage and falling profits. On the other hand, the brand of the Japanese industrial products could be increasingly questioned, as more and more scandals accumulate and show not only sub-standard products, but also a problem in corporate culture. As can be easily observed, this type of crisis


has become all too common: it is not only Kobe Steel, but also Toshiba Corp, Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, and Takata Corp. However, generalisations are, like in Germany's case with some car scandals, totally unfair. From a strategic perspective, three main issues have to be addressed in a potential communication crisis strategy. The first one refers to the public safety component. Can the company and the manufacturers guarantee that the products based on the suboptimal steel do not create safety concerns for the consumers? If this is the case, what measures are put in place to immediately alleviate and address the public concerns? What are the best tools to reassure the public, to create the sentiment that "we are all in this together" and to demonstrate that someone is well in charge of the whole situation? The second one is about the corporate culture dimension. What kind of mechanisms and processes should be adopted for such crises to be avoided in the future? What should be the balance between internal and external audit, between protecting industrial secrets and letting the concerned publics get a sense on how the crisis is dealt with internally? Finally, the country's industrial brand reputation is at stake. How can the tarnished Japanese industrial brand can be strengthened? How can resilience become the dominant concept and how can the come-back narrative impose itself? A comeback campaign is needed. We can think about specific actions to answer these questions. A first idea, partly embraced by Kobe Steel according to media reports, would focus on an externally-directed audit to address the public safety concerns, with the results published as soon as possible and with the company assuming responsibility and

presenting a comprehensive plan to respond to the audit's conclusions. Empathy should be as important as responsibility in this case. Many companies that use the Kobe steel are conducting their own investigations, but what would be more appropriate is a coordinated investigation effort bringing together the supplier and the manufacturers. The capacity to unite in face of crisis is more than a good story, it is simply efficient and the right way to act. in the same vein, the company should launch an externally-directed process to overhaul its corporate procedures, with the goal of eliminating disfunctionalities and of setting in place checks that would avoid similar debacles. From the onset, Kobe Steel should commit to implementing the experts' recommendations, irrespective of their scope. Most importantly in my opinion, and directly related to the Japan Inc. conversation, the company should use the crisis as an opportunity to launch a broader debate about how the Japanese brands have suffered from these crises and about how a comprehensive answer should look like. The extensive reflection process could bring together public institutions, regulatory bodies, civil society actors, and the corporations; business watchdogs or associations can play a key role in structuring the conversation, analysing the appropriateness of recommendations and the implementation pace. Much could be learned from similar negative evolutions and it is no wonder that many parallels with the recent German corporate evolution will be drawn. Both industrial sectors are known for privileging quality over price and for being damaged by a plethora of scandals in recent years. The global competition has become more and more fierce. Increasing profit margins or simply staying alive has made many established businesses to cut corners. The corporate imperatives centred around short-termism and lavish bonuses have led to a culture of systemic irresponsibility and to debacles that, in many parts of the world, question the utility of capitalism, as the population is fed up with "business as usual" and is ready to try "exotic" solutions. A few CEOs resigning will not suffice. Stronger mechanism of encouraging a righteous corporate behaviour are needed. This would be the perfect antibody and the answer to the reputation loss we witness today. * Radu G. Magdin is International Analyst and Consultant; CEO of Smartlink

** Read more articles of Radu Magdin in the new EBR online series “Management - Power, Strategy and Communications Essentials"



Why the amount of emails we are receiving is stressing us out Email is integral to the way that many of us work. Yet there is no universally accepted standard for its use, which leaves many of us struggling to find strategies that will help us work effectively without also overstressing or causing email fatigue. by Emma Russell *


here is no shortage of self-help books and time management gurus who argue that email zen is possible. But with so much research being conducted in different fields there is a risk that populist volumes and consultants simply cherry-pick the data and findings to fit their point of view – that is, if their recommendations are even evidence-based at all. We were commissioned by UK workplace experts ACAS to produce a systematic literature review across the fields of psychology, human-computer interaction and management of the strategies people use to try and deal with the torrent of work email. This approach examines published data in a rigorous way, and after excluding many papers that didn’t fit our sifting criteria, we settled on assessing 42 papers. From these, we identified a number of themes relating to how email is used today, which were then matched against markers


of productivity and well-being. Finally, these themes were sense-checked in a qualitative study with 12 representative participants. What did we find? It became apparent that there is no one-size-fits-all set of strategies that improve both people’s productivity and well-being across job roles and industries. For example, a strategy such as catching up with email outside of work hours might help people feel more in control of their work, but it does not tangibly reduce work overload – and can create conflict in families where work is brought home. But we were able to identify a number of strategies that research indicates are generally beneficial, and these can be used to dispel many of the popular myths about work email and how we “should” be using it. Here are the top five work email myths – busted by science.



Many of those sending email report that they neither expect nor require a quick response, so the pressure to respond quickly may be ill-founded as well as counterproductive. Organisations may do well to revisit such policies and possibly remove them.

It’s not efficient to allow ourselves to be constantly interrupted by email alerts. But this doesn’t mean we should ignore email for prolonged periods. We found MYTH #5: USING ‘CC’ that workers who regularly AND ‘REPLY-TO-ALL’ checked and processed their ARE UNNECESSARY When organisations set a email reported feeling more AND IRRITATING. policy that requires a response in control and less overloadwithin a particular time frame, ed, regardless of the volume The “CC” function of email this is considered important of email they received. Keepthat imitates the “carbon ing on top of incoming email for satisfying the customer. copy” duplicates created from is important for taming the carbon paper days of handinbox and keeping email written notes and typescript, stress at bay. has been extensively studied. From our review, we concluded that the use of “CC” and MYTH #2: EMAIL IS A TIME-WASTING DIS“reply-to-all” have different effects on people dependTRACTION FROM REAL WORK. ing on the culture of trust in which a worker operates. Our research found that today only a tiny proportion of email sent and received at work is not work-critical. People use email as an essential tool in getting work tasks done efficiently, and most workers report that they would not be able to get their jobs done as effectively without it. MYTH #3: RESTRICTING EMAIL OUTSIDE WORK HOURS WILL REDUCE STRESS. We follow this area with interest, since new employment law in France coming into effect January 1, 2017, gives workers the “right to disconnect” after working a certain number of hours per day. In our research, we found no significant evidence that workers particularly want this, and instead reports are that workers like the flexibility that email can afford. But it is considered poor etiquette to send an email that arrives outside of work hours. Functionality, such as delayed sending, allows staff to continue to process email out-of-hours without affecting those who want to switch off. MYTH #4: WE SHOULD SET CLEAR EMAIL RESPONSE TIMES. When organisations set a policy that requires a response within a particular time frame, this is considered important for satisfying the customer. This may be undoubtedly necessary in some jobs, such as those that are particularly customer service-focused. But use of response times in other industries can create an unnecessary pressure to respond that causes high levels of strain for workers, and promotes a reactive rather than strategic approach.

Where there is a blame culture then “CC” tends to have a negative reputation, seen as a way workers may use email to cover their backs, hold others accountable, or engage in boasting, broadcasting or presenteeism. Where there are good work relationships among email partners, however, then “CC” is viewed positively, as helping workers share knowledge, keeping colleagues involved, and including colleagues regardless of their status. Newer tools like Slack, Yammer and team inboxes were mentioned in our research. These were found especially useful by allowing workers to coordinate digital activities and communications, particularly on team projects where messages could be shared and discussions and threads could be picked up and linked to project documents. For shift and part-time workers, team-based systems can prevent the build-up of messages during non-work hours because other team members will pick these up in another’s absence. So what can we conclude from this study? It’s clear that our coping strategies are evolving alongside the communications technology we use. And it should remind us that email does not exist in a vacuum: its usefulness at work depends on the individual and the office culture – that’s where organisations should look first for ways to improve communication at work while preventing staff from burning out. * Emma Russell Senior Lecturer in Occupational Psychology Management, Kingston University



17th ’NAVIGATOR 2017 The Shipping Decision Makers Forum The Forum organized by Navigator Shipping Consultants was held for the 17th consecutive year and proved that it still remains one of the most popular events in the shipping industry worldwide


he event took place on Friday, November 3rd 2017 at the exceptional floating museum «Hellas Liberty». More than 500 high-ranking officials and executives of the Shipping community, ambassadors from 20 countries, members of the banking sector, representatives of major maritime organizations, academics, students and journalists were present at the NAVIGATOR 2017 - "The Shipping Decision Makers Forum". Danae Bezantakou, CEO of NAVIGATOR welcomed the participants underlining the significance of this year’s Forum, as it comes back to Piraeus and takes place in the historical floating museum HELLAS LIBERTY. The President of NAVIGATOR, Capt. Dimitris Bezantakos, during his opening speech stressed that «it is our duty, and especially of the Hellenics, to convey the importance of shipping to students, society and international fora and to defend shipping with vigor, without expediencies and show the respect the shipping deserves». He also suggested the establishment of an Organisation with the collaboration of IMO, INTERTANKO, BIMCO, INTERCARGO & European Owners Association, that will mediate between P & I Clubs - shipowners and government –individuals who raise claims from the vessels, in the event of any damage to third parties in order to be able to intervene and avoid unnecessary delays and costs for the vessels, discomfort for crews and depreciation or destruction of the cargoes being transported. The Minister of Maritme Affairs and Insular Policy, Mr. Panagiotis Kourouplis, referred to the country's leading position in shipping, the need for educated mariners and the Ministry's efforts to implement practices, such as mediation and arbitration. Piraeus’ Mayor, Ioannis Moralis welcomed the Navigator Forum in Piraeus after 17 years and stressed that the future of the country looks towards the sea, as the sectors that we can develop economically are tourism and the big port, Piraeus.


Vassilis Korkidis, President of - PIRAEUS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (PCCI) presented Maritime Hellas and the coordinated efforts between the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce, Greek Shipowners' Association and the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for the establishment of the first Greek Maritime Cluster. The Ambassador of the United States to Greece, H.E. Geoffrey Pyatt, stressed that he hopes to see increased U.S. investment in Greece, mainly in the fields of energy, infrastructure and industry. The Ambassador referred to the key role that Greece plays in the Balkans and the Mediterranean as a pillar of stability, highlighting his hope that an investment in Syros’ shipyards will be completed soon. He also mentioned that the strategic position of Alexandroupolis’ port is on full display right now: elements of the US Army’s 10th Combat Air Brigade are using it as a staging area for Blackhawk helicopters and cargo demonstrating the potential of that port to play a much bigger role in regional infrastructure and connectivity. MacGregor the world-leading engineering solutions and services provider for the offshore and marine industries has been supporting NAVIGATOR Forum. The Managing Director, Athena Kanellatou, underlined MacGregor’ s family commitment to serve the Greek shipping miracle, presented sustainable solutions that maximize efficiency and minimize downtime for cargo handling equipment lifecycle. She referred to the latest developments of the group, the involvement in the world’s first floating wind farm, company’s tailor made solutions, the upcoming digital offering and the pilot program for cranes “Macgregor On Watch Scout”. At the end, she presented Cargotec corporations strategy, shaping the future of cargo handling. Smarter cargo flow for a better day. The first panel, entitled “Ports and Supply Chain” was moderated by Mr. George Xiradakis, Managing Director – XRTC Business Consultants Ltd and President – The Propeller Club (Port of Piraeus). The panel


Danae Bezantakou, CEO of NAVIGATOR

consisted of Sotiris TheoThe technical panel started with fanis, Coordinator & Aua survey of Norwegian and Greek The main topic discussed was the thorized Representative, shipping companies on the digiDIEP GmbH- Terminal Link tal transformation, revealing its room for further development of the SAS– BELTERRA Investkey role for the industry’s fusupply chain in Greece and the steps ments Ltd Consortium, ture. The panellists presented that should be followed in order to Kostis Achladitis, Managinnovative projects responding take full advantage ing Director – Golden Carto the environmental challenges of the country’s significant go, Mary Pothitos, Marine such as the Carbon Free Project Insurance & Claims Han2050 of the port of Rotterdam geostrategic position. dling Consultant, PARALEand the Tote’s LNG project. GAL MARITIME SERVICES, Sotiris Raptis, Senior PoliAll panellists highlighted the cy Advisor for Environment and Safety, EcoPorts Coorimportance of digital innovation to operational effidinator – ESPO. ciency, environmental performance, safety and logistics as well as the value creation from data analytics. The main topic discussed was the room for further deThey also emphasised the significance of supporting velopment of the supply chain in Greece and the steps innovation and collaboration to create an innovative that should be followed in order to take full advantage ecosystem. Finally, audience and panel recognised that of the country’s significant geostrategic position. A refshipping companies need to be more open to innovaerence to the port of the future was made, focusing on tion, better equipped with resources and infrastructure the aspect that by incorporating advanced technologiand ready to fundamentally change the way they do cal systems, the transportation of commodities to their business. final destination will be done in zero time. H.E. Cristina Liakopulos de Papadikis, Ambassador and The second panel entitled “Sustainable Innovation: General Consul of Panama in Greece, addressed comChallenging Tradition to Create New Opportunities” memorative words regarding the celebration of the was moderated by Helena Athoussaki, Head of Mari100 years of the Panama Ships Registry and the Indetime Sustainability Centre - PwC and consisted of Jeff pendence of Panama from Colombia on 3rd November Horst, Commercial Director - FOSS MARITIME, Yoong 1903. Hui Chia, CEO – ASCENZ SOLUTIONS, Michael Lund, Deputy Secretary General – BIMCO, Dimitrios MatA short presentation regarding Lesvos island also took theou, Managing Director - ARCADIA SHIPMANAGEplace by Capt. Gabriel Haldezos, Master Mariner, DiMENT & Chairman – Green Award Foundation and ploma in Shipping – Shipping Expert and Dr. Kostas A. Hugo Du Mez, Advisor Business Intelligence - Dry Bulk Damianidis, Architect, PhD on History of Shipbuilding, – Port of Rotterdam. as Lesvos was the honored island for this year’s Forum.



Interview with the Rosetta Project Scientist Matt Taylor:

‘‘There’s nothing that runs close to having all the ingredients that Rosetta has’’ by Margarita Chrysaki *


osetta, the first spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with a comet concluded its mission on 30 September 2016. The purpose of Rosetta and Philae, its lander, was to gain insight into the origin and evolution of the solar system. Following on from this historic day over a year ago, EBR talks with Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor about his tremendous experience in implementing this project and its outcomes to date. “The whole mission was a risk. The fact that we were looking to land on body whereby we had no idea what it looked like - it’s not done very often”, Taylor points out at the beginning of our conversation. But how you can mitigate the risks of such a mission? The Rosetta team always had a huge number of backup plans: ‘We found the comet in August 2014 and then we started doing these strange pyramid-like orbits to see how the spacecraft would behave depending on the gravity and activity of the body and in September there was around four parallel plans depending on what we would find!’. At the same time, a risk mitigation process would have been too much work to support this amount of planning. As a result, the team had to make a decision. It decided to focus more on one particular scientific operational plan than the back-up plan. That was the case once they got the lander onto the comet’s surface. ‘You evolve in time and become very dynamic, in particular with this mission because the comet was growing in activity, throwing out 10s – 100s of kgs of dust, ice and gas every second’. Taylor referred to how the dust around the comet blinded their navigation which became the dominant issue and challenge for the team rather than the pressure of the gas and dust coming out. At that moment, the team had to gently approach the problem and again try to solve it. Undoubtedly, approaching an object whose appearance


no one knew about and to attempt to land on it, shows in the most impressive fashion the complexity of Rosetta’s mission: ‘if we hadn’t have had Rosetta, and if someone from the science community came to the ESA submitting the proposal today, I don’t think that in the current system we would accept it because it’s too risky. So it was good that we had colleagues 20 years ago who took the initiative to accept this proposal as it was a great success in many ways’ Taylor says, adding ‘we had the best possible team to do this job’. Taylor said that his experience on Rosetta was one of the most intense out of anyone working on that project. It was a 24/7 mission or as Taylor calls it ‘a 24/7 e-mail interaction’: ‘Sometimes this interaction was simply iterating about where cells on a spreadsheet were allocated, trying to ensure the high level science was being addressed, making sure that everything was lined up to allow us to get to the next step in the operations’. The team was working intensively on monthly weekly and

Matt Taylor


even daily schedules at time. From a project science perspective the aim was to try to make everyone happy or equally unhappy. ‘There are hundreds of people who worked on this mission to make it work and I just happened to be lucky to be one of those people that did work on that mission’. ‘There will always be discussions on every future mission about what we learnt with Philae’. So what would happen if deliver a number of small spacecrafts to orbit a comet or a small body like an asteroid? ‘That could eventually lead to a lander being considered. Any mission looking to get close to a small solar system object will always have Rosetta and Philae to refer to, Taylor underlines, adding that there are some ongoing activities taking place on this within ESTEC. ‘This is what we are working on at the moment while colleagues in other agencies are putting out a call for potential future missions for cometary landers’. The original Rosetta proposal from 1986 was to land on a comet, take a sample of its nucleus and bring it back to earth for testing. However, the major problem here is that material from the comet has to be captured without changing its molecular make-up, the chemistry or the temperature. ‘That’s one of the challenges for future missions and lessons learnt from Rosetta and Philae will help there- in particular the challenge of locating the lander when things didn’t fully go to plan.

You might also need to paint the spacecraft a different colour so it will be easier to observe from orbit, ‘ jokes Taylor, ‘That was a major problem with Philae, as it looked quite similar to the comet’. ‘We got all of the data. But the analysis process will continue over the following decades’. One of the big scientific questions from the beginning of the mission concerned the water on the comet: what was it like? Is it similar to that on Earth or to an asteroid? According to Taylor, the team found that the water on the comet is very different to what we see on Earth. This is important when considering how water got to the Earth in the early stages of the solar systems evolution. ‘We think that the comets may not have been a major contributor to the water on the Earth, delivered through impacts during the so called later heavy bombardment period, when the inner planets were being hit by numerous comets and asteroid. However, the measurements of other molecules on the comet suggest that comets could have delivered a significant amount of material to the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition, we have found significant amounts of organic material on the comet. These would be ‘the building blocks of DNA, the building blocks of protein: the small glycine molecules, which could have gone on to form more complex molecules, and life itself’, he added.



Getting closer to the comet allows scientists to detect the dust and the gas in greater detail, and the different molecules that would come off from it. Being closer can provide an idea on what the comet is made up of, where it came from, how old it is and the process that created it in the first place. The Rosetta team detected molecular oxygen within the comet, the result of which Taylor stressed was ‘very striking’. ‘You don’t expect to have this molecular oxygen; it’s a very friendly molecule that wants to bond with other molecules. So, to have it by itself means it’s been captured within the comet in a certain way – it’s been locked in the ice in a certain way. For this to happen you have to restrict how the comet was put together and the temperature that it has always had. This provides constraints on the conditions within the solar system when it was formed’. At the end of the mission, the scientific team tried to investigate the difference between the two parts of the comet. There has been an ongoing debate about whether the lower part the comet’s body is bigger or smaller in size than its head. Therefore, the Radio Science Investigation (RSI) of the ESA will measure the change in mass during perihelion so it hopefully shows that there was a change before it came close to the sun (August 2015). They will analyse it afterwards to check how much mass was lost in the comet. ‘We‘ve got all the data and now we will see how the surface changes over time. I’m looking forward to hearing about this because the analysis takes some time’ indicates Taylor. “In terms of public interest, there’s nothing, I think, that runs close to having all the ingredients that Rosetta has”. The positive feedback from the public and the great interest they’ve shown in the first science


results after the Philae landing reminded Taylor that Rosetta’s mission was unique and historic: ‘When you have the chance to give a presentation on the mission you suddenly remember that those spreadsheets, reports and e-mails – the dry part of the job that you have - are a part of some massive machine that’s called Rosetta and then you remember that we are talking about something you can’t even see!’. The mission ended with very mixed emotions for Taylor, but a high note was when Eberhard Grün, one of the originators of the Rosetta proposal, approached him ‘grinning’. ‘He came up and hugged me and said ‘’Matt, this is so good, this is exactly like when they found the Rosetta stone” and he began to describe it, saying this is the equivalent to where we are now, we now have the years to decipher the science’. Indeed, Rosetta completed its mission and now scientists have to interpret all these data and make decisions on the outcomes. After being asked if he would like to travel someday to space, his reply was surprising: “I had considered responding to an ESA call a few years back (the one that Tim Peake entered ESA on). You have to get this very high-level medical certificate and you need to pay something like 300-400 euros for it. Well, I thought I can do that or get a play-station. So I got a play-station instead!”

* Margarita Chrysaki is a Brussels-based Scientific Journalist. She has a BSc and a MA in Political Sciences and was recently admitted for the Master of Space Studies in KU Leuven.



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