ISSUE 3-2019 / YEAR 22nd - PRICE 5,00 € / $6,00
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE NEWS? LEADERSHIP
GOVERNANCE VS. DEMOCRACY ECONOMY
GERMANY IS AN ECONOMIC MASOCHIST
URSULA VON DER LEYEN “T HE EUROPEAN WAY OF LIFE ”
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Konstantinos C. Trikoukis Chairman
Athanase Papandropoulos Publisher
Christos K. Trikoukis Editor in Chief
The EU fails a serious climate-policy
Never mind the EU’s policies, where is its strategy?
22 EU AFFAIRS
The European way of life
The digital security of Europe
26 SPECIAL REPORT
Disinformation and the ‘quality of the news’
Governance Vs. Democracy
44 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
N. Peter Kramer Editorial Consultant
Anthi Louka Trikouki Issue Contributors
Giles Merritt, Ursula von der Leyen, Ilona Raugze, Jacob Kirkegaard, Dr. Thomas Kremer, Alexandra Borchardt, Sarah Bressan, Antonis Zairis, Stamatis Efstathopoulos, Athanasios Kristallis, Lex Rieffe l, Marcel Schwantes, Simon Tilford, Hans Izaak Kriek, Rein van Gisteren, Joseph Losavio, Julie Ziskind Correspondents
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ISSUE 3-2019 / SEPEMBER-OCTOBER. 2019, 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.
Germany is an Economic Masochist
6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure
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by N. Peter Kramer, Editor-in-chief EBR
The EU fails a serious climate-policy
United Nations climate summit in New York City exposed Europe’s lack of progress to tackle the climate emergency. World leaders met after millions took to the streets in unprecedented global protests last weeks and months, demanding urgent political action. The aim of the summit was to bring political commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement. As usual, with a great deal of verve, the leaders paid lip service. Their champion was the new President of the European Union Council (the gathering of prime ministers and presidents of the 28 memberstates), speaking as the leaving PM of Belgium, a country not really known for its results in the fight against climate change. Let’s realise that the world is currently on track for well over 3°C of warming, which would lead to devastating consequences for people and nature. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called on the EU to lead by example to help limit global heating to 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown. The world is looking to EU for climate leadership, but the EU is dragging its feet. Millions have taken to the streets, scientists have issued increasingly dire warnings, and the impacts of a changing climate have intensified. Despite this escalating emergency, EU-wide commitments to cut emissions to net-zero are yet to materialise, while a far more urgent decision about ramping up short-term targets in line with science has been delayed. In June, EU leaders failed to back an EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, after opposition from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Estonia. But it looks like the tide is beginning to turn – a growing number of governments and EU politicians are responding to calls for action. Those who don’t seize the opportunity for a fair and climate-friendly EU should expect to be challenged on the streets, in the courts and at the ballot box. A majority of the European Parliament, incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and several EU governments – Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland and Denmark – have said the EU should significantly increase its 2030 climate target. The EU currently says it will cut greenhouse gases by 40% in 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). Discussions to raise the EU’s 2030 climate target have been postponed until the EU summit in December. The appointment of Frans Timmermans as 1st Vice-President of the European Commission with the portfolio climate policy is not very promising. He is a man of many words rather than concrete actions. It seems that it is better not to expect too much of the EU in the fight against climate change…
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Never mind the EU’s policies, where is its strategy? The European Union needs to get its mojo back by Giles Merritt*
he installation of a new leadership team is surely the moment for a clear-sighted strategic relaunch of aims and means. Alas, there are no signs that this is on the agenda.
is mission creep within the commission combined with progressive myopia on the part of member governments. The EU institutions continue to concentrate on shortterm issues when their focus should be the horizon.
Instead, all eyes in Brussels have been on Ursula von der Leyen’s skill in juggling personalities and portfolios within her team. The suitability of new commissioners to their responsibilities is, as usual, hotly debated.
The European Commission routinely uses each fiveyear mandate to extend and gold-plate existing programmes, and sometimes to accommodate commissioners’ desires and power plays. The result has been slogans like Jean-Claude Juncker’s “last chance commission” and his predecessor Jose Manuel Barroso’s promise to “do more with less”.
This scrutiny has acquired the status of hallowed tradition, yet as the EU opens its new chapter the reality
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when solutions may be as local as better housing programmes or improved childcare subsidies to raise fertility rates. A quarter-century has passed since ‘Europe’ seized the initiative and forced citizens to face up to structural disadvantages like intra-European protectionism and the volatility of national currencies. The fall of the Berlin Wall of course helped to strengthen the EU, but the chief factor was widespread popular support for concerted policies. National governments have fought back since then, denouncing ‘power grabs’ by the EU. Despite the European Parliament’s stronger role, they have reduced the commission from an executive body to something closer to a secretariat to the Council of Ministers. Meanwhile, the price of 50 years of declining birth rates is evident. EU governments already have to devote over 40% of their spending to welfare-related benefits, and that’s rising sharply. In 10 years’ time, a quarter of the EU population will be over-65s, up from 19% today. Pensions are Europe’s most dangerous political time bomb.
The truth is that the EU is ill-suited to defeating populism and has yet to show either aptitude or ambition in confronting the long-term demographic shifts that gravely threaten future living standards. The European project has enabled national governments to achieve goals they can’t fix on their own. Its achievements span substantially freer trade, high levels of social protection and the euro. But now other urgent issues are crying out to be addressed. Unless bold pan-European solutions are found, these challenges risk undoing much that the EU has accomplished. How should Europe respond to the rising costs of its rapidly ageing population? Could shared fiscal policies encourage faster economic growth? How can productivity throughout the EU be improved to counter the shrinkage of workforces? What measures might stimulate stagnant wage levels, particularly for younger people? These are just some of the thorny macroeconomic questions that confront Europe’s national governments. They cry out for a common recognition, even
Nobody can say how Europe’s political leaders will cope with looming confrontations between poverty-stricken pensioners and today’s under-privileged younger generations. It is plain, however, that these tensions risk tearing apart the EU’s consensus mechanisms. Solutions no longer rest in the hands of the European Commission. What’s needed is a far stronger engagement of the EU’s member governments. A first step towards this would be the creation of a new ‘Strategy Council’ within the Council of Ministers with an agenda consisting of long-term issues. In theory that is the role of the European Council, but not in practice. Its summits have become a last resort for EU heads of government to resolve issues that lesser councils kick upstairs. A ministerial Strategy Council could also answer the question that has fuelled so much Euroscepticism amongst voters: “What is the EU for?”
*Giles Merritt Founder and Chairman, Friends of Europe
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The European way of life “The Union is founded on the values of the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for the human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, nondiscrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.” by Ursula von der Leyen*
ast month marked thirty years since two million people across the Baltic States joined hands to form a “chain of freedom” more than 600 kilometres long. The images were a poignant and powerful reminder of how far Europe has come in the space of a generation. But they also showed the uniting force of our common values: freedom, equality, democracy and respect for human dignity. These values, and our attachment to them, are our very foundation...
doms that we enjoy today. They define and encapsulate what our Union is about. We should be proud of our European way of life in all of its forms and dimensions and we should constantly preserve, protect and nurture it. This is why it was one of the six guiding principles in my Political Guidelines, which received the European Parliament’s support in July. For most people, the European way of life is not something that needs explaining.
They are enshrined in our Treaty and they give us the free-
It is simply a daily reality. But clearly a debate has sparked
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this week on the connotations and the concept of the term. This is good. And it is a debate we should have in the open. For me, the European way of life is best summed up by the words in Article 2 of the Treaty at the top of this article. Each of these words has two faces. To coin President Kennedy’s phrase we should not only ask what our Union does for us, but also what we can do for our Union. Each word in Article 2 is both a right and a duty for us all, wherever we come from and wherever we live in our Union. This is the European conception of life. It is about building a Union of equality in which we all have the same access to opportunities. It is about equipping people with the knowledge, education and skills they need to live and work in dignity. It is about having access to the services we need and the knowledge that we are safe in our homes and in our streets. It is about protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Ultimately, it is about how we all live together. This European way of life came at a great price and sacrifice. It should never be taken for granted – it is neither a given nor a guarantee. The proof of that is that our way of living is being challenged every day – as much by anti-Europeans from within as from without. We have seen foreign powers interfere in our elections from the outside.
And we have seen home-grown populists with cheap nationalistic slogans try to destabilise us from the inside. We should not allow these forces to hijack the definition of the European way of life. They want it to mean the opposite of what it is. They want to chip away at our foundations and sow division amongst us. They believe in politics that exposes problems, rather than solves them. We must fight back against this. Of course, words matter. I recognise that. For some, the European way of life is a loaded and politically charged term. But we cannot and must not let others take away our language from us: this is also part of who we are. Other parts of the world have their own way of life that differs from ours. We all have our own traditions, our own set of values and own way of doing things. But I would always choose Europe’s way of life – and our Union of solidarity, tolerance and reliability – over any other. The European way of life also means listening and debating with one another to find solutions for the common good. And this is what I want us to do together. *Ursula von der Leyen President-elect of the European Commission
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No place should be left behind The European Week of Regions and Cities is not just a unique networking opportunity for 6.000 participants coming from all over Europe. It is a strong reminder to the European Institutions that Regions and Cities are the backbone of the European integration process. by Ilona Raugze*
his integration process has been supported in the past years through a number of development policies most importantly the EU cohesion policy, that has been the main investment tool designed to support newcomers and lagging behind regions to adjust to the average EU standards. Cohesion Policy delivered great results in its 30 years history. It supported infrastructures, education, administration reforms, employment, SMEs, innovation and research. It initiated crossborder and transnational cooperation. Yet, despite these results, inequalities among places still persist. Countries’ average indicators improved but many areas are still lagging behind. Studies, like the ESPON Profecy revealed that even in well advanced regions inner peripheries still exist. Territorial disparities are projected to increase by 2035, despite the positive effect of Cohesion Policy. Shrinking population has become the normal trajectory for many rural regions, as agriculture has been restructured and population and employment have become increasingly concentrated in urban centres. 1. ESPON Inner Peripheries Policy Brief, October 2018 https://www.espon.eu/ inner-peripheries-brief 2. Geography of the EU discontent, DG REGIO EU Commission, December 2018 https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/
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Territorial inequalities lead to the “geography of EU discontent” . Anti-EU political movements are raising in regions that “are left behind”, as people are attacking the very factors on which their prosperity has been based so far: Open markets, Migration, EU membership, Globalisation. Pandora’s box is already open, and we need a new clear narrative for the future of these Regions to close it back. The member states have already acknowledged this challenge back in 2011. It was during the Hungarian Presidency that they adopted the “Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020” (TA2020) (footnote to TA2020). In its first chapter already, the Ministers stated that the TA 2020 aims to “support territorial cohesion in Europe” and “provide strategic orientations for the territorial development’. They also stated that “all policies and actions of the Union should contribute to the economic, social and territorial cohesion”. Finally, the text called for a “more strategic approach to enhance territorial cohesion” and “a deepening of the territorial dimension of Cohesion Policy”. TA2020 assigned to ESPON to support policy-makers providpublications/working-papers/2018/the-geography-of-eu-discontent 3. Territorial Agenda of the EU 2020 https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/ information/publications/communications/2011/territorial-agenda-of-the-eu-
ing evidence related to territorial development and cohesion. Our results since then confirmed that one of the reasons development policies fail to reach (all) their goals is the fact that they are bound by administrative and geographical borders. But peoplesâ€™ lives exceed these borders. People live, work and travel from one place to the other: They may live in a town and work in a near big city, they may enjoy cycling in a forest of their neighbouring region or go for shopping at the mall next to the borders. The effects of policy decisions go also beyond administrative borders. Social and economic developments in one place -like new infrastructure, increased labour needs, changes in legislation- have a direct impact to the development perspectives of the neighbouring areas. We need therefore to design development policies that consider these interdependencies not only on European, but also on national and local level. We need to cooperate instead of competing and avoid fragmentation that leads to lack of connectivity, waste of recourses, overlapping of activities. Although these results, together with other studies from the European Commission, the Parliament and independent researchers, helped to move this debate higher in the political agenda, the territorial approach is still far from being considered mainstream. Designing for borderless areas is a revolutionary approach, and it requires both political leadership and a change in the mentality of policymakers, administration, and citizens to think and act beyond the restrictions of the administrative borders.
The New Territorial Agenda creates an opportunity to build an impactful policy framework on EU level finally that will finally mainstream the territorial dimension in all EU development policies. In this line ESPON has proposed already 6 pillars for the successful design of regional development strategies beyond 2020: 1. Develop a Long-term Sustainable development strategy for Europe to present a spatial vision and promote the development of different places. 2. Follow a visionary approach, supported by foresight methods that are not just relying on past data and analysis, but combine historic trends and potential developments. 3. Address the key development challenges that are related to technological change (digital society, post-carbon, and circular economy), social change (migration and ageing), environment (mitigating and adapting to climate change, scarcer resources) and economic transformation (innovation ecosystems) 4. Build links among places and promote connectivity among them through a functional approach and more territorial cooperation. This approach is especially important for peripheral and lagging behind places. 5. Ensure that development policies are designed through a broad partnership with stakeholders beyond the public sector through multilevel governance to build ownership.
An important step forward to this direction was the adoption of the Urban Agenda and the Amsterdam pact in 2016. It provided a solid framework to support multilevel governance and to involve local authorities in designing and implementing EU policies.
6. Invest in capacity building of local stakeholders to improve their engagement in strategic planning and implementation. Quality of governance is a strong precondition to ensure a more efficient post-2020 Cohesion Policy
This brings us to the need to renew the Territorial Agenda, in order to align it better with the current political and legislative framework and incorporate the key principles of territorial policies beyond borders and benefit from the lessons learnt from the implementation of the Urban Agenda.
2020 is a milestone year for the EU: A new Commission will be in place -following the renewal of the European Parliament, the programming period 2014-2020 is about to end and the flagship development strategy of the EU -the Lisbon Strategy 2020- comes also to an end.
In this framework the Romanian Presidency of the EU presented in June the â€œBucharest declarationâ€? , that acknowledges the key role of the local authorities and the need for a coherent strategic and operational framework for urban development based on the results of programmes like ESPON. It also sets the scene for a stronger integration of the urban and territorial agendas that will be concluded with the presentation of the New Territorial Agenda during the German Presidency in 2020.
The new development policies, like Cohesion Policy are now shaped. The technical parts will be subject to negotiations among the institutions, the member states and the local authorities. But, no matter what the result of these negotiations will be the message towards the citizens should be clear: we need to design beyond borders, we need to connect places and people, we need to ensure that no place is left behind.
ropean-union-2020 4. Urban Agenda for the EU May 2016 https://ec.europa. eu/futurium/en/node/1829 5. Bucharest declaration, June 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/urban-agenda-eu/bucharest-declaration
*Ilona Raugze ESPON EGTC Director
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EU: Global Climate Leader? The EU can take the lead in fighting climate change. But an EU “Green New Deal” requires a far higher price on carbon. by Jacob Kirkegaard*
axing carbon is probably the most effective way of curbing greenhouse gases that cause climate change. But because taxing carbon emissions will raise gasoline and other energy costs for households and industry, it may be the most politically treacherous step any government can take. Undaunted, Europe should forge ahead with an ambitious plan to make the cost of using fossil fuels effectively exorbitant. The economic impact on Europe would be enormous. But Europe’s actions could also have a significant impact on the United States. Several Democratic presidential candidates recently endorsed some form of carbon tax at a town hall meeting.
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But you won’t find much about carbon taxes in the various “Green New Deal” plans called for by candidates or members of Congress. Instead, most Green New Deal plans unveiled so far have morphed into vehicles to address social and economic inequity issues. Europe’s greener focus is therefore bold and instructive. It was enunciated recently by the incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who when addressing her new team of EU commissioners said: ’’I want the European Green Deal to become Europe’s hallmark. At the heart of it is our commitment to becoming the
world’s first climate-neutral continent…. I want Europe to be the exporter of knowledge, technologies and best practice.’’ THE PRICE OF CARBON NEEDS TO GO HIGHER Reaching her grand goals will require fundamental changes to the European economy and indeed to Europeans’ way of life. But the price of carbon is already rising again, thanks to the recovering economy and recent reforms in the European Union’s emissions and trading system, the world’s first major carbon market. These reforms reduced the amount of free carbon credits available, propelling the price on carbon up again to €25 to €30 per ton (see figure below). These increases improve Europe’s chance to fulfil its climate goals. But for Europe to have a realistic chance of reaching carbon neutrality and for an EU Green New Deal to be anything other than a political fig leaf, a far higher price on carbon will be required in the years ahead. How much higher? How much higher will provoke a huge debate, but it is noteworthy that the five-fold increase in the price under the emissions and trading system in the last two years has not impeded Europe’s economic recovery. For the future, however, Von der Leyen’s target will cause significant economic dislocation. This is the point-European gasoline prices will rise further, coal and even natural gas-powered electricity must become uncompetitive versus renewables, and jet fuel prices will rise.
have to be further curtailed. In theory, member states could undertake these changes, fueling tensions among countries. The EU may need to establish a minimum price for carbon. Such a price floor would have to be agreed decades into the future (i.e. made predictable) to enable businesses to adjust and ensure temporary business-cycle-driven drops in the carbon price are blunted and long-term investment incentives maintained. To secure the desired reduction in emissions, the price floor would have to rise faster-say 5 percentage points a yearthan headline inflation. Alternatively, the European Union could also introduce an outright carbon tax on all emissions again, set at a higher level than current ETS prices and rising faster than inflation between now and 2050. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS A high carbon price has three important broader political and economic implications for the EU: 1. A carbon border adjustment tax is inevitable. A carbon price of this magnitude will put EU businesses at a competitive disadvantage versus imported goods. Imposing a new carbon border adjustment tax is inevitable, effectively setting tariffs on imported goods from economies without equivalent carbon prices, perhaps exempting (or reimbursing) poor countries.
Advances in technology may soon eliminate bulk fuel for ships. Buildings and construction sites across Europe will have to be retrofitted and redesigned to reduce and eventually erase their carbon footprint. Estimating the optimal price of carbon in Europe is likely to be futile. But a “Green New Deal” targeting carbon neutrality is at heart a political choice in Europe, requiring that it be easy to explain to the public to get its support. A big round number makes sense-perhaps €100 per ton in 2025 and rising. DRASTIC REFORMS NEEDED But a price on carbon of that magnitude will require drastic reforms. The emissions and trading system system (ETS) would have to cover all EU economic sectors, and the number of carbon emissions credits available for trade would
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ternational trade- will need to be compensated through the carbon derived revenue. At the same time, the EU can take advantage of a fortuitous set of macroeconomic circumstances to deliberately destroy parts of its existing capital stock right now. Interest rates are rock-bottom and European businesses have been net savers of capital in recent years, despite the low interest rates. This would be a perfect time to finance a significant investment-led EU economic growth plan. A high and comprehensive carbon price will create new incentives for private businesses to invest and provide a powerful new economic stimulus to European growth. European governments would face the same investment incentives. GREEN BONDS Such a tax or tariff will certainly set up a confrontation with the United States, if the Trump administration’s policies continue. On the other hand, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for tariffs on carbon intensive imports if she is elected president. 2. Carbon revenues will change the distribution of EU revenue generation and disbursements. The envisioned carbon price is designed to raise significant new government revenue. EU general government finances are today reasonably close to balance. EU governments must therefore return these revenues to taxpayers. Shifting away from carbon fuels, though, will result in some existing sources of government revenue virtually disappearing (gasoline taxes for instance disappear once a shift to electric cars is complete). EU governments will therefore have to retain some of their new carbon revenue. The European Union will likely also have to earmark a certain share of carbon revenues to projects explicitly mitigating the impact of climate change. Because many of these projects would be regional, a percentage should flow into the EU budget. To secure all member states’ support, some redistribution to help those dependent on carbon production, like Poland, will be called for. 3. A biting carbon price will render part of the EU’s capital stock obsolete. Shifting away from fossil fuels will destroy certain infrastructure and businesses, creating large groups of economic losers who -much like those suffering losses because of in-
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The need to meet climate targets could even unlock the political will to create pan-European “Green Bonds”-issued by say the EU Commission and/or European Investment Bank (EIB) (and that the European Central Bank could purchase). This “common debt” would thus be earmarked to solve a commonly agreed European policy problem. The historical analogy for a carbon price hike spurring investment-led growth is the situation Europe faced after World War II. Fighting had devastated large parts of Europe’s physical infrastructure, and a huge investment drive -partly financed by the U.S. Marshall Plan- was required to rebuild and modernize it. German chancellor Angela Merkel recently said “We want to direct the behavior of people in a certain direction…. The pricing of CO2 is the right way to make clear that all innovations should follow the goal of emitting less CO2”-putting a serious price on carbon will offer rich rewards to those who invest and innovate to help Europe become carbon neutral. An ambitious EU Green New Deal, including a biting carbon price would -peacefully- achieve much of the same outcome as Europe’s post-war reconstruction, unleashing another long period of high growth, and help solve the climate challenge in the process.
*Jacob Kirkegaard Research Associate at the Institute for International Economics
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The digital security of Europe A clear trend can be seen for our digital future: What can be connected will be connected. But companies and societies do not network within traditional, analogous borders.Machines are also increasingly being connected to one another. The Internet of Things is growing faster and faster. These developments give us a unique opportunity to bring the citizens of Europe closer together. And we must not let this opportunity pass us by by Dr. Thomas Kremer*
achines are also increasingly being connected to one another. The Internet of Things is growing faster and faster. These developments give us a unique opportunity to bring the citizens of Europe closer together. And we must not let this opportunity pass us by. At the same time, the digital networks are and will become an increasingly attractive target for criminal or state-controlled cyber-attacks. Deutsche Telekomâ€™s systems have reported up to 70 million different attacks on a single day
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this year. A new, sad record! And a leap compared to the figures of 2018! Thanks to our efforts, these attacks are not getting through, but the number is vertiginous. For a company like Deutsche Telekom, but also for all other pan-European or globally active companies, it means being vigilant. Companies develop security strategies across borders, in Europe and worldwide. Cyber security may have been the nerdsâ€™ paradise dis-
cipline in the past. Today, cyber security belongs at board level, as it does here at Deutsche Telekom. To protect the EU’s digital internal market and the digital sovereignty of European companies and citizens, cyber security must therefore also become a top priority in Europe. With her new team the new President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is responding to this challenge and giving top level attention to Cyber Security. I welcome it. We talk a lot about the consequences of digitization these days. However, I very much miss a discussion: The European Union must develop into a digital security union. For this necessary further development, I see us all as having a duty. This is a common task for the EU, its Member States, its citizens and its businesses. Only together we will achieve a better level of security, keep Europe competitive as a strong business location and finally assume a stronger role as a technology leader again. Networks were and are the locomotive of the European internal market. Network operators are expanding this infrastructure more and more – more bandwidth, more speed. They thus promote growth in Europe and bring people closer together. This requires both strong political backing and forward-looking regulatory guidelines. Then this approach can succeed.
COUNTERING COMPLEXITY Cyber security is a highly complex issue in Europe. We are looking at a colourful patchwork of European and national regulations. In Europe, for example, we have the Directive on High Network and Information Security, the NIS Directive, the EU Cybersecurity Act and the currently discussed E-Evidence Regulation. A similar picture emerges in Germany. There are the IT Security Act 1.0 and 2.0 and additionally the security requirements for telecommunications network operators of the Federal Network Agency, the Federal Office for Information Security and the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. A comparable patchwork with partly very different security requirements exists in the European finance or energy industry. The situation is similar for security-relevant certifications and the evaluation of products and services. That cannot remain so. This complexity costs us too much strength and speed. The initiative of the new Commission-President to establish a Single Market for Cyber Security with a Joint Cyber Unit, is a step in the right direction. And it is positive news that a strong Vice-President will be in charge of the Commission’s Digital Agenda. Responsibility, resources and budget need to be concentrated in one hand. The incoming EU Commission attributes highest priority to our Digital Security. The European
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Parliament should support this policy. We need clear rules for cyberspace that are uniformly applied in Europe. This also requires more efficient EU structures. EXCHANGE OF IDEAS ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH On the question of “who should know that…”, we are fortunately one step further. The exchange between the central players in cyber security at state and private level has been intensified and improved in recent years. This applies especially to us in Germany. Nevertheless, significant improvements are still possible and necessary. The dialogue between industry, national supervisory authorities and national legislators is still too national today. This, too, is a direct result of the complicated legislative system. In the process, we need cross-border exchange more than ever on the way to a digital security union. This must be promoted. An agile body of experts consisting of state and business representatives from the EU member states is the logical consequence: network operators in dialogue with national and European institutions, with the task of drawing up concrete proposals. A pure exchange of ideas is not enough! And to avoid misunderstandings: Even in the area of cyber security, sovereign tasks cannot be taken over by private companies. LOOKING FOR EUROPEAN STANDARDS From a technical point of view, Europe’s level of security can be further improved, for example by trustworthy digital identities. Making people and machines unique on the Internet of Things is a prerequisite for secure digital legal and government transactions in the domestic market. And last but not least, this is the basis for citizens’ trust in e-government and digital services. You
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will already suspect it – here, too, every Member State is pursuing its own approach to solving the problem. That is not enough! Today, European citizens need a European digital identity, and not just ten years from now! Instead of making cooperation more difficult, European network operators must be made easier to cooperate on security issues in particular. Secure networks are a prerequisite for the digital world, for a secure, digital Europe and for satisfied citizens. And in general. For the digital space, analogue national borders are almost meaningless. The difference between digital and analogue is too often exploited by organised crime. For example, attacks via the Internet are deliberately launched from abroad in order to disguise the authors and elude access. How do we deal with this? Similar to the Schengen area in the real world, digital border controls can enable unhindered and secure data traffic to and from the EU to the whole world. In the event of a massive attack from outside the EU against the functioning of the internal market infrastructure, digital border controllers can be used to selectively prevent external attacks by means of technical filter lists. There are still many unanswered questions. But one thing is perfectly clear: digital security is a top priority on the European agenda. Europe needs a shoulder-to-shoulder approach between European institutions and network operators to protect the digital world. Europe needs a digital security union. *Dr. Thomas Kremer a board member of Deutsche Telekom Group
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Special Report: Disinformation and the â€˜quality of the newsâ€™
he world largest survey of online news consumption (Digital News Report of Reuters Institute) shows that almost one-third (32%) of respondents regularly avoid news; three percentage points more than two years ago. Worrying. The report shows also that 39% of the participants disapprove the tone used in news coverage. Even more worrying. What about disinformation and fake-news? Although in the past, wars have been won by it. But that was long before the social media, that changed the world. How can the EU fight against it? European Business Review selected three articles for this special report for your information. We hope they are useful. N. Peter Kramer Editor-in-Chief EBR
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What’s Wrong with the News? The rise of data analytics has made journalists and their editors confident that they know what the people want. Why, then, did almost one-third of respondents to the Reuters Institute’s latest Digital News Report say that they regularly avoid news altogether? by Alexandra Borchardt*
he British public can’t get enough news about Brexit – at least, that’s what news platforms’ data analytics say. But, according to the Reuters Institute’s latest Digital News Report, 71% of the British public tries to avoid media coverage of the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union. This disparity, which can be seen in a wide range of areas, raises serious questions about news organizations’ increasingly data-driven approach to reporting. The rise of data analytics has made journalists and their editors confident that they know what people want. And for good reason: with a large share of news consumed on the Internet, media platforms know exactly which stories
readers open, how much they read before getting bored, what they share with their friends, and the type of content that entices them to sign up for a subscription. Such data indicate, for example, that audiences are interested in extraordinary investigative journalism, diet and personal-finance advice, and essays about relationships and family. They prefer stories with a personal angle – say, detailing an affected individual’s fate – rather than reports on ongoing conflicts in the Middle East or city hall coverage. And they are drawn to sensational stories – such as about US President Donald Trump’s scandals and antics – under “clickbait” headlines.
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pressing issues. News organizations thus have a responsibility to report on serious topics, from political corruption to climate change, even if they are unpleasant. That does not mean that readers’ complaints about media’s negativity bias should be disregarded. On the contrary, if people are to be motivated to confront challenges that are shaping their lives, they should not be made to feel powerless. This is where so-called solutions journalism comes in. By balancing information about what needs changing with true stories about positive change, news organizations can fulfill their responsibility both to inform and to spur progress. This means occasionally recognizing that over the long term, living standards have improved globally. But if newsrooms were really giving audiences what they wanted, it seems unlikely that almost one-third (32%) of respondents in the Digital News Report, the world’s largest ongoing survey of online news consumption, would report that they regularly avoid news altogether. But they did, and that figure is up three percentage points from two years ago. The most common explanation for avoiding the news media, given by 58% of those who do, is that following it has a negative effect on their mood. Many respondents also cited a sense of powerlessness. Moreover, only 16% of participants approve of the tone used in news coverage, while 39% disapprove. Young people, in particular, seem fed up with the negativity bias that has long been regarded as a sure-fire way to attract audiences. For many, that bias feels disempowering. Conversations indicate that the problem is compounded for young parents, who want to believe that the world will be good to their children. Younger generations also feel consuming news should be more entertaining and less of a chore. One reason for the disconnect between the data and people’s self-reported relationship with the news media may be the “guilty pleasure” effect: people have an appetite for voyeurism, but would prefer not to admit it, sometimes even to themselves. So, even as they click on articles about grisly crimes or celebrity divorces, they may say that they want more “quality news.” When newsrooms indulge readers’ worst impulses, the consequences are far-reaching. Media are integral to support accountability by anyone wielding power or influence, and to mobilize civic engagement. Democracies, in particular, depend on voters being well informed about
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Reconnecting with audiences will also require media organizations to broaden their perspectives. In much of the West, it is largely white, male, middle-class journalists who decide what to cover and how. This limits news media’s ability to represent diverse societies fairly and accurately. In fact, only 29% of Digital News Report respondents agreed that the topics the news media choose “feel relevant” to them. A joint study by the Reuters Institute and the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, indicates that the key to increasing this share is to increase diversity in newsrooms. At the same time, news media need to do a better job of contextualizing and otherwise explaining the news. While 62% of Digital News Report respondents feel that media keep them apprised of events, only half believe news outlets are doing enough to help them understand what is happening. At a time when nearly one-third of people think that there is simply too much news being reported, the solution seems clear: do less, better. This means listening to readers, not just studying the data analytics. It means balancing good news with bad news, and offering clarifying information when needed. It also means representing diverse perspectives. Media organizations that do not make these changes will continue to lose trust and relevance. That is hardly a sound strategy for convincing consumers that their work is worth paying for.
*Alexandra Borchardt *senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford
Can the EU prevent deepfakes from threatening peace? Highly realistic fake videos could take online disinformation to the next level. The EU must take action to prevent deepfakes from becoming the next propaganda tool by Sarah Bressan*
n April 2019, after at least 207 people were killed by terrorist bombings in Sri Lanka, the government blocked access to social media. The reason was that disinformationâ€”lies and fabricated news deliberately spread to cause harmâ€”were said to have ignited violence against Muslims, collectively punishing them for the brutal attacks. The disinformation was only part of the picture, but the story showed the role it can play in escalating violence after a first spark. Around the world, online disinformation has affected
the outcome of elections, heightened social tensions, and led to the denial of scientific facts about immunization or climate change. Deepfakes, which are manipulated or fabricated but highly realistic video or audio clips, have the potential to take the problem to another level: experts are already warning that deepfakes could threaten national security, democracy, and the world order. Compared to text, fake recordings showing outrageous, threatening, or shocking behavior are more effective
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in triggering emotions like fear, anger, or hatred. Similar to the spread of false information on social media, which is hard to control and even harder to debunk once it takes root, deepfakes can be potent tools of propaganda. But despite the fact that apps such as FaceApp or Zao have already made deepfake technologies widespread and readily available on almost every smartphone, the EU fails to address the problem. In its action plan against disinformation, it acknowledges that “disinformation is a powerful and inexpensive—and often economically profitable—tool of influence,” but falls short on the actual action to prevent potential harm. Its only notable effort, the EUvsDisinfo project against Russian propaganda, has been widely criticized for being understaffed and not up to the challenge. Strategic foresight and scenario methods offer a way to better understand and prepare for the potential impact of new technologies like deepfakes. In a recent foresight exercise on out-of-control technologies, selected experts identified overlooked or underrated technologies that could increase the risk of conflict
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and governance breakdown in Europe’s neighborhood. In the scenarios they developed, deepfakes clearly stood out: A fake video showing an opposition candidate accepting a briefcase full of cash from an organized crime figure, in exchange for a promise to not prosecute his business interests, gives rise to violence. Fake videos of men wearing Christian symbols abducting Muslim women to sell as sex slaves spark violence between religious groups. Hackers feeding deepfakes into a government surveillance system leads to a series of false convictions. These scenarios help to better understand how the targeted use of deepfakes by the wrong people at the right time can contribute to violence. Well-known risk factors for violence include groupbased marginalization, polarization, and a history of conflict, and under such conditions, and in volatile situations like in the run-up to contested elections, uncontrolled deepfakes are particularly dangerous: they can erode the trust between communities with a recent memory of violence and the trust of citizens in political elites by reducing the perceived legitimacy of the government. The most robust policy response to emerge from the
foresight exercise were long-term investments into structural prevention against deepfakes. These include investments in education, in technological skills, in a free and high-quality media landscape, and in social trust between communities—all important aspects of social cohesion and societal resilience against violent conflict. The good news is that the EU’s foreign policy is already based on conflict prevention through resilience-building, understood as the capacity to undergo adaptation and transformation in the face of change. But such conflict prevention can only be successful in practice if sustained over a long period of time, and it’s currently difficult to get the necessary political and financial support. What’s more, media platforms and the technologies to spread disinformation are playing fields of geopolitical rivalry. So the EU has to be realistic about the influence its money and diplomacy can have in these areas. The deepfake scenarios also show what will be necessary if long-term prevention fails. The more out of control a technology gets, and the lower societal resilience is against its effects, the greater the need will be for targeted solutions to prevent conflict. Of such targeted solutions, the experts in the foresight exercise discussed banning, criminalizing, or controlling the creation and spread of deepfakes. They suggested that governments invest in research and verification tools to win the arms race between “detection and generation” or hold social media companies accountable to stop deepfakes from spreading. But such targeted measures also come with tradeoffs and unintended side effects. Government-run verification tools would be successful in situations where trust in government authorities is high. But they would probably not work in places or situations in which this very trust is being undermined by disinformation. Holding social media companies accountable could work when business, government, and societal interests are aligned and verification is reliable. However, it would be impossible or outright dangerous in scenarios where corrupt elites control both government and businesses, or when social media companies simply do not care or cannot access end-to-end encrypted communication.
In the wider foreign policy community, targeted solutions go as far as to suggest that politicians and other public figures use “life-logging equipment . . . and authenticated storage services, similar to body cameras for police officers” to always have a credible alibi as a defense against deepfakes. But even in an ideal world in which such services were provided by reliable companies, sensitive to their users’ privacy concerns and accountable for respective breaches, most people would surely like to avoid recording around-the-clock footage of their private lives. If what awaits is anything like the scenarios described above, there’s little time to lose. The EU’s peace project could be at stake. Every effort to build resilience and trust ahead of time would save the EU many of the troubles that would undoubtedly come with technical solutions to such a political problem.
*Sarah Bressan a research associate at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin
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10 ways the EU is fighting disinformation Countering online disinformation is one of the biggest challenges democracies face today by EBR
isinformation is nothing new but with the growth of social media platforms, it has become easier and faster for it to spread. “Harmless,” you might think, but it is becoming clear that disinformation can affect public opinion, create divisions in society and undermine trust in public institutions and electoral systems.
tify examples of disinformation targeting the EU and its citizens. Whether it is claims that “‘the fire at the Notre Dame was a satanic ritual,” or that “Germany will become a Muslim country by 2050,” you can delve into the EUvsDisinfo public database, where more than 6,000 such cases have been debunked to date.
The European Union is listening to the concerns raised and taking serious action to counter the phenomenon. Here are 10 things the EU is doing to tackle disinformation:
2. PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF ELECTIONS The prevalence of disinformation has increased the risk of interference and manipulation in elections. The EU has taken steps to make sure that our elections run freely and fairly. This set of measures includes protecting your personal data, guaranteeing the transparency of the political ads you see online, tightening cybersecurity, and bringing
1. IMPROVING DETECTION AND ANALYSIS Ever seen a story online, and doubted what you were reading? The EU has a dedicated team, whose job it is to iden-
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together authorities from all EU countries to tackle the threat jointly and, where necessary, impose sanctions. 3. DEBUNKING EU-RELATED MYTHS None of us are strangers to some of the wackier myths published about the EU (see some of the best examples below). We have developed a series of tailored campaigns in different EU countries, debunking the local variations of those ‘Euromyths’. Baffled by some of the claims you read about the EU? Then check out Bolas de Bruxelas in Portugal, Slovakia’s ‘Euromyty’ and the German initiative. 4. BRINGING EU COUNTRIES TOGETHER In a Union of 500 million citizens living in different countries, it is not always easy to keep track of the latest Euromyths doing the rounds. When one misleading story breaks in France, it is useful to follow its spread across borders, and monitor the responses it receives. A new dedicated digital platform — the Rapid Alert System — makes it easier for national contact points to work together and develop responses to the myths as they appear. 5. COOPERATING WITH ONLINE PLATFORMS Social media is nowadays the main vector for the spread of disinformation, and the EU and national governments cannot tackle it alone. Leading internet companies like Google, Mozilla, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft signed a voluntary EU-wide Code of Practice on Disinformation. By doing so, the platforms committed themselves to being stricter in applying their own policies and community guidelines, ridding their platforms of fake and bot accounts and making it clearer when you see a political advert and who is paying for it. The Commission follows the implementation closely. 6. PROMOTING MEDIA LITERACY To avoid falling victim to disinformation, it is more important than ever to think critically about what we read or hear. The EU set up the annual European Media Literacy Week to highlight more than 320 events promoting media literacy across Europe. We also recognise projects like Lie Detectors that encourage schoolchildren to think critically. Learn more about its founder Juliane von Reppert- Bismarck and her work here.
mation. Everyone can make a difference, even by replying to a misinformed comment under an online article and setting the record straight with facts. One such initiative is the volunteer-based project Keyboard Warriors in Poland. Read more on Weronika Ostrowiecka’s role as a Local Coordinator of the project here. 8. FACILITATING THE WORK OF FACT-CHECKERS The work of independent fact-checkers and researchers is becoming more important in the age of disinformation. By bringing together teams from different EU countries and creating a more cohesive community that can share their experiences, they can continue to fine-tune the way they work. One way the EU helps is by investing in new technologies that verify content and track the spread of disinformation across social media, such as Truly Media, co-developed by Nikos Sarris and his team. 9. IMPROVING SOCIETAL RESILIENCE When citizens are aware about the positive impact of the EU’s policies and values on their everyday lives, they also become more resilient to the negative effects of disinformation. Our communication campaigns InvestEU, EUandMe and EU Protects inform Europeans about their rights, how the EU benefits their daily lives and protects them against some of today’s global challenges. Armed with this knowledge, Europeans are less likely to be misled or misinformed about what the EU stands for. 10. SUPPORTING QUALITY JOURNALISM We promote media freedom because we believe that the work of independent media is essential to creating the free and open public debate necessary for a healthy democracy. Support to independent media and investigative journalists underpins high quality, factual reporting that can expose disinformation.
7. EMPOWERING CIVIL SOCIETY To tackle the problem, we first need a better understanding of the sources of disinformation. This means getting a better grasp of the intentions, tools and objectives behind it, and the ways in which we are vulnerable to it. The EU encourages NGOs and citizen-run organisations to be active and vigilant in identifying and exposing disinfor-
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The development of Entrepreneurship and the role of Education by Antonis Zairis, Stamatis Efstathopoulos, Athanasios Kristallis
t is obvious that the development of entrepreneurship courses at all levels of education is very important. Today, due to the prolonged economic and financial crisis that has influenced us, almost all vectors rely on entrepreneurship as a driving force that can broaden their development horizons, not only through the restructuring of existing small enterprises but also through the newlyformed innovative businesses’ establishment. Of course, the challenge is how this liberation of business potential can be achieved, mainly through the following immediate active intervention areas: • the entrepreneurship education and training in order to support the growth and the job creation • the strengthening of the framework conditions for
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growth faced by entrepreneurs by lifting the existing structural barriers and • the support of Entrepreneurs at critical stages of the business life cycle Researches show that the attending of courses by young people, in areas on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, help them in the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills and clearly enhances their employability. Additionally, one in five secondary school students participating in a mini-business plan is sure to start their own business at a later stage! Investing in business education promises long-term socio-economic benefits. Whether pupils / students
advance to the establishment of companies or social enterprises, young people, who benefit from the business knowledge, not only develop learning basic skills but also the required business mindset that helps them transform their ideas into practice. From the other hand, as a government entity, we have to say that we are in the early stages of the business revitalization and development. Indicatively, however, we lack in the following main business measurable indicators: • the registered numbers of startups units, • the basic patents • the introduction of entrepreneurship courses at all levels of education. In order to set free the huge potentials of Renewal 'business', we have to ‘build’ a new corporate culture and implement new education policies as well as institutional innovations that will connect education with businesses, which are the main engines of innovation and entrepreneurship as well. THE PRINCIPLES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SECONDARY EDUCATION: Today, in Greece, the entrepreneurship’s promotion in secondary education has not the expected reform and introduction to analytical programs of thematic units which cover the essential knowledge and practices related to creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship as well as the relation between cultural background and entrepreneurship. There is a need for new sections that aim at an education that will be implemented through practical experiential learning standards and involvement of experienced entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis. Young people should be encouraged to develop business skills, both through formal and non-formal education, such as volunteering. Bridges of cooperation between schools, universities, businesses and the local community should be ‘built’. THE HIGHER EDUCATION IN PRACTICAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The university leadership should invest in culture and development strategy Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The appointments’ plans as well as academics’ promotions should also recognize actions and initiatives in the field of Innovation &Entrepreneurship. Moreover, the establishment of Innovation &Entrepreneurship Centers is needed which will have the task of promoting a culture of entrepreneurship into curricula and also assist in designing training programs both for novice entrepreneurs and managers of small and family businesses engaged in various stages of development.
Investing in innovation and entrepreneurship requires not only medium to long-term finance but also opportunities’ provision for financing startups, through support services. Note that the issue "education and entrepreneurship" is part of the questionable «knowledge-based economy». Teaching and learning aspects of entrepreneurship introduce new types of knowledge, new issues of teaching methods and new skills of all student levels to solve problems as well. The scholar needs to meet the new conditions associated with technological changes and globalization of markets and develop new types of knowledge, such as: • Knowledge of natural and human resources management, • Knowledge of action within partnerships, • Knowledge of new skills’ acquiring and managing ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND BUSINESS CULTURE It is now necessary for both education and society to be released of the "business paradigm" from the close approach of creating new businesses and its connection to the general problem relating to globalization and competitiveness. The role of entrepreneurship education is necessary because it provides students with the necessary skills to: • analyze and solve problems • get acquainted with uncertainty and risk, • identify and create opportunities, • make decisions,
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• be able to communicate clearly and effectively, • be able to innovate. However, apart from the cultivation of a business competence, the scholar has to develop the knowledge about entrepreneurship as well as acquire a sense of 'corporate culture'. It should also be understood that investing in entrepreneurship educational programs has medium and long term results. WHY SHOULD ENTREPRENEURSHIP BE TAUGHT? Because in addition to the role of individual characteristics, there are behaviors and attitudes cultivated and other skills acquired. On the other hand, nobody is born a businessman, but this is something that can be achieved through experience, education and the environment. Therefore, entrepreneurship education must focus, to a large extent, on the following issues: • in the impact of entrepreneurship education (in higher education) in the economy, • in pedagogical methodologies used for teaching entrepreneurship • in use-contribution of new technologies in education for entrepreneurship and • in experience acquired from education entrepreneurship at different educational levels. Previous research in the 1970s, based on business management areas conducted in the USA, revealed that only sixteen courses were offered for teaching entrepreneur-
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ship. The University of Southern California launched the first MBA program with a focus on entrepreneurship in 1971, which was followed by the first undergraduate program in 1972. Beyond that, the business sector began to take root and grow in the USA through a university team. So a ‘burst’ of entrepreneurship teaching appeared, which began in the early 70s and continued in the 80s and the 90s until today. Therefore, we can observe a massive appearance of entrepreneurship education in the USA. Today, in the USA, education for entrepreneurship coexists more • than 2,200 courses, • in 1,600 schools, • offers 277 jobs in universities • appears in 44 international academic journals and • in over 100 research centers. The role of education in development of entrepreneurship not only through specific knowledge and experience but also through personal skills’ development aims to: • familiarize the trainees with the business world and their greater acceptance as important members of economic activity, • the emphasis in the concept of responsible business practices that helps business career to become a more attractive option, • the proliferation of novices choosing a business career, the increasing of probability success of new startups and the growth of self-employment, • the increasing of employment opportunities, economic reward as well as satisfaction of individuals, • the increasing of the benefits for existing businesses, particularly SMEs, by the recruitment of young people who
• autonomous and active forms of learning (including role playing, presentation of simple examples, participation in a project, visits to local businesses, etc.) • the premature knowledge for both economic life and understanding about the role of business in society Examples include: • The Program: "the competition for young inventors' which is applied in primary schools in Finland, the UK, Iceland and Norway. • In Luxembourg, education includes a section concerning the creation of a business, based on an animated film.
have an entrepreneurial mindset and skills, • the development of young people's creativity and the increasing of their self-confidence and social accountability, • the improvement of social conditions and economic integration for specific population groups with problems of access to the working world. ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SCHOOL PROGRAMS In most EU countries, lessons or other activities for entrepreneurship education are elective or extra-curricular activities. However, some countries have included the relevant education in the compulsory curriculum. INTER ALIA: • In Poland: the obligatory course "Basics concepts of business function" is in all schools of general secondary and vocational education. Objective: the development of entrepreneurial mindset as well as learning how to start a business. • In Austria: part of the curriculum of technical and vocational secondary education, for example in the form of establishing and running a virtual enterprise. The participation in entrepreneurship courses in business economics schools of secondary and higher education is mandatory. EDUCATION LEVELS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP Courses on entrepreneurship aim to: In primary education: • the strengthening of personal attributes (creativity, initiative and self-reliance),
In secondary education: • the acquiring of additional knowledge and experience about business, • the increasing of students’ awareness about self-employment and entrepreneurship, • the realization that besides paid employment there is the entrepreneur’s path as well, • the learning-by-doing method (i.e. through the establishment of virtual enterprises and business simulation) It should be noted that in most European countries programs in entrepreneurship are implemented, under general or specific courses, with their incorporation into traditional courses. The most widespread means of teaching entrepreneurship is its establishment and management from students of micro-enterprises. As entrepreneurship is perhaps the most important of productivity factor, it must receive the maximum boost from the State. The encouraging of pupil and student population must be a continuous process which will have the support of the Greek Ministry of Education, to all levels of education. However, the process should have such a concept, which will introduce a new way of thinking through incentives and also approach entrepreneurship through similar educational activities. Targets that are not only small and achievable but also specific and quantified can be implemented with a predetermined strategy that will lead to the change of a deep- routed- until today- Greek way of thinking concerning both the perspective and approach of young employees’ professional development.
*Antonis Zairis, Deputy Vice of HRBA, Assistant Professor in the University of Neapolis, Paphos, *Stamatis Efstathopoulos, Senior Advisor in the Super Market Group ‘Market in’, *Athanasios Kristallis, Associate Professor of International Business, American College of Greece ‘Deree’, Consultant of Marketing and Market Research
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Governance Vs. Democracy Why U.S. foreign policy should focus on “good governance” instead of “democracy.” The world is in turmoil and one of the biggest questions on the global agenda is the future of democracy. One could fill a bookshelf with volumes written in the past five years about reversals and declines of democratic rule, even in the United States and Europe as well as beyond. The 2019 annual report from Freedom House records a 13th consecutive year of decline in the global health of democracy by Lex Rieffel*
rom its founding days in 1776, the U.S. government has been a passionate advocate of democratic rule globally. Since World War II, the United States has spent billions of dollars and sacrificed thousands of lives to establish and maintain democratic rule in foreign countries..
NEW REALISM NEEDED
It has achieved impressive successes in countries like South Korea, India and Chile. It also failed miserably in countries ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Venezuela.
The first reason is that democracy has become such a fuzzy concept that it is (ab)used by authoritarian governments advertising themselves as healthy democracies. Turkey is a case in point. For many people, democracy is a broad concept that includes all political systems where power rests in “the people”—as opposed to a king or a dictator or the ruling elite.
It is thus important to note that the U.S. success rate in democracy promotion abroad was decidedly mixed, even before Donald Trump moved into the White House and began to embrace authoritarian rulers.
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In my view, U.S. foreign policy should from now on focus on “good governance” instead of “democracy.” I see this as beneficial for three reasons.
For other people, democracy is a narrow concept of a politi-
cal system like that of the United States, with a constitution, free elections and three branches of government that provide checks and balances. DEMOCRACY AND SPECIFIC NATIONAL CULTURES The second reason for being less focused on democracy as such is that the unique culture and history of each country has a direct bearing on the kind of political system best suited for it. Put conversely, there is no single political system that will produce good outcomes for all countries.
WHO ENFORCES IT? If this prediction is accurate, then the key to a good life in each country will be a political system that provides physical security to almost all of its citizens. What follows from this is an uncomfortable thought: The desired degree of physical security can only be established by the parts of a political system able to use “lethal force” — the military and the police. Ultimately, it’s about who controls the guns.
The importance of this national and cultural angle is what has made U.S. efforts to promote democracy abroad so problematic.
In today’s high-income democracies, the military and police are controlled by elected politicians. This formula has worked pretty well in the decades behind us and may continue to work well.
Americans are simply too ignorant of the culture and history of other countries to know what kind of a political system will produce the best results for a particular country.
However, it is not a formula that has worked well in the rest of the world and is less likely to work there in the future.
Moreover, the U.S. government lacks the patience and the full tool kit required to nourish democratic rule in foreign countries striving to establish it. A SHINING CITY ON THE HILL, REALLY? The third reason to back off from promoting democracies abroad is that the domestic performance of the United States, which has traditionally been keenest on democracy promotion, has been underwhelming recently. Other leading democracies have lost their special glow as well, especially when measured by social cohesion and a broad sense of well-being in the population. The global consequence of this state of affairs is self-evident: If we in the West are having trouble making our own political system achieve above-average results, it is not credible to advocate this system as a model for other countries. GOVERNANCE AND PERSONAL SECURITY Which brings us to governance, defined here as the performance of a national political system, measured by its impact on the well-being of the great majority of its citizens. The most controversial point in this argument is a prediction that, for the rest of this century, physical (personal) security will become the primary concern of citizens in almost every country on the planet. This is because climate change, population growth, migration, urbanization and technological change (including robotics, artificial intelligence and biotech) will combine to threaten physical security in new, terrifying and unsettling ways.
This may foreshadow an uncomfortable prospect: Military-led and military-supported governments, rather than decreasing, are likely to become prevalent in the rest of the world. Support for this view can even be found in the philosophy of St. Augustine. He argued all the way back in the fourth century A.D. that order must precede justice. CONCLUSION With its penchant for the military and the use of force, the U.S. government actually appears to be better prepared for this trend if it does materialize. It can provide positive reinforcement to military-led or military-supported governments. The key point, however, is that it should only provide support to regimes that meet a high standard of “good governance.” And it should avoid helping countries with regimes exhibiting symptoms of “bad governance.” This approach echoes to some extent U.S foreign policy in the Cold War period of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, the United States actively supported military governments that were anti-communist. In the decades ahead, however, the threat for the United States will not be an alien ideology. It will be the chaos that emanates from countries plagued by bad governance. In a shrinking world, the well-being of the U.S. population will suffer if too many foreign countries are unable to maintain good governance. *Lex Rieffel a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
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Bill Gates Says This 1 Simple Habit Separates Successful Leaders From Everyone Else The co-founder of Microsoft prescribes a principle that will raise every leaderâ€™s bar by Marcel Schwantes*
hen you think of great leaders, do you conjure up images of charismatic, high-profile executives in expensive suits who make all the right business moves? Allow me to bring you back to the real world. Leaders are often contrarian types who set themselves apart by employing the skills and habits required to effectively influence human beings. One of those habits takes more heart than head, as prescribed by a Bill Gates quote years back. It should reso-
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nate deep within our collective conscience if we are to raise the bar of our own leadership. The co-founder of Microsoft said: "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." While that may sound vague to some (what exactly does "empower" mean?), letâ€™s put some definition around it, in the context of effective leadership performance today. But first, we need to clear an obstacle to our thinking about any misconceptions and false
truths about what leadership is not. 1. LEADERSHIP IS NOT ABOUT TITLES OR POSITIONAL AUTHORITY. True leadership doesn’t require a fancy title that comes with a corner office or company car. It doesn’t imply having a position in the hierarchy to "lord over" someone else. 2. LEADERSHIP IS NOT ABOUT PERSONALITY TRAITS. Plenty of people with varying personality traits and temperaments have all proved their leadership abilities. And true leadership is far from what the world perceives makes a good leader: charisma, confidence, extraversion, and a dominant, larger-than-life, takecharge personality. Truth be told, people with such traits may be placed and promoted into positions of leadership quicker than others but rarely will they effectively lead long-term. 3. LEADERSHIP IS NOT MANAGEMENT. Managers maintain the work, leaders lead people. And sometimes it may be the same person (but often that’s not the case). To take it one step further, legendary management thinker Peter Drucker said, "One does not manage people...the task is to lead people. And the goal
is to make productive the specific strengths and knowledge of every individual." 4. LEADERSHIP ISN’T ABOUT YOU. True leadership requires egos to be humbled and personal agendas to be surrendered. It’s not about you. It’s about the achievement of goals that bring you and your tribe closer to the noble pursuit of something--a vision or calling--greater than yourselves. On the flip side: What great leadership is Gates’s leadership quote runs counter to the archetypal boss who merely gives orders and "drives" people through fear and positional authority. And while leading a team is no cake walk in today’s fast-paced business setting, leaders are expected to empower their teams to innovate and produce great work. This is the essence of what great leadership looks like. So let’s get practical. Here are four leadership practices you can start implementing to effectively empower your employees: 1. GREAT LEADERS ALLOW PEOPLE TO FAIL. The billionaire founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, fosters a culture that encourages and even celebrates failure. There’s an underlying theme at Virgin Group that, without trying something new and fail-
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like their involvement in new initiatives truly matters to the overall success of the business. 3. GREAT LEADERS EMBRACE RESPECTFUL DISAGREEMENT. One of the myths of a great leader is that they’ll magically align everyone to a common vision or goal, and then voila--people are off to the races. Yes, building consensus and pulling people together may be a hallmark of great leaders, but the reality is, people will disagree, choose sides, and voice their opinions. And you know what? Great leaders will let them. Great leaders rely on the strength of their team’s diversity and encourage divergent thinking and respectful dissent to examine all alternatives before making a well-informed decision. This is empowering to employees, who feel like their ideas are heard and considered before the decision is made. But first, a leader’s job is to ensure that people feel safe expressing dissent. You do that by seeking out opposing viewpoints cross-functionally and across reporting levels and letting your people know that you expect them to challenge the status quo and question decisions. ing, it’s virtually impossible to innovate and grow.
4. GREAT LEADERS SHARE LEADERSHIP.
Branson says, "We’ve never been 100 percent sure that any of the businesses we’ve started at Virgin were going to be successful. But over 45 years, we’ve always stood by our motto: ’Screw it, let’s do it.’ Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again. Making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the DNA of every successful entrepreneur, and I am no exception."
If you want to foster high trust, high risk-taking, high creativity, and open communication, and you’re still riding on your autocratic leadership high horse, it may be time to get off, release control, and stop dictating. Now I’m going to tell you to do something very counter-intuitive as a leader: Let your people take turns leading.
2. GREAT LEADERS CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO THRIVE. Your people have individual strengths and gifts which you may not even be aware of, which could be leveraged for unique contributions to the business. So, a top priority for leaders to elevate their game is to recognize and acknowledge those strengths and craft opportunities that will grow their employees in areas where they’ll naturally excel. This is empowering to employees because they’ll feel
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My favorite boss takes me back to 2006. He didn’t get caught up in his personal power; he inspired me by making me feel like an equal. And while we had different roles--and mutual respect in our respective roles-we shared our business challenges and decisions as real people. If you’re in management, consider this: When you build a great team under you, take the higher road of sharing power and decision making. Because when you do, you actually gain real power--your team will have your back and do great work for the company to succeed. *Marcel Schwantes founder and chief Human Officer
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Germany is an Economic Masochist Europe’s biggest economy could easily stop its own slide into long-term stagnation—but it would prefer not to by Simon Tilford*
or much of the last 10 years, Germany has been lauded for its successful adjustment to globalization, its sound management of public finances, and its political stability. Some have even breathlessly talked of a new Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle). Now fears are mounting that worsening global trade tensions and China’s slowdown spell serious trouble for the country’s export-dependent economy threatening to return the country to the “sick man of Europe” status it held in the early 2000s.
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The situation is less dramatic. German’s economic performance has not been as good over the last 10 years as is often claimed, but the German government could now easily take steps to boost the economy should it choose to do so. There is little to indicate that it will do enough, however, thanks to a deep-seated belief in Germany—spanning the political spectrum—that deficit spending would be counterproductive economically and unpopular politically. Seen over the last 10 years, the German economy has performed relatively well in comparison with similar
European economies such as France and the United Kingdom, but it has done no better than the United States. Moreover, over the last 20 years, Germany has grown largely in line with other large European economies (bar Italy, which has done terribly) and on many measures less well than the United States. There has certainly been no Wirtschaftswunder. Moreover, the German economy has become strikingly dependent on exports over this period. Germany has long tended to run a trade surplus, but never of the present magnitude. The country has averaged trade surpluses of close to 8 percent of GDP since 2005 and 6.5 percent since 2004. At close to $300 billion in 2018, the German trade surplus is easily the largest in the world. The heavily trade-orientated focus of the German economy helps explain why Germany bounced back more rapidly following the financial crisis than comparable European economies, but it also explains why Germany’s prospects have turned down particularly sharply over the last 12 months as the external environment has worsened rapidly. There is a tendency in Germany and elsewhere to talk about trade balances in terms of competitiveness, with countries with surpluses being “competitive” and those with deficits being “uncompetitive.” Indeed, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism in 2017 of the scale of Germany’s surplus, the country’s then-Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel—a social democrat—joked that the United States simply needed to build better cars. German economists and representatives of the economy and finance ministries also tend to throw their arms in the air and argue that Germany’s trade
surplus is simply the product of private-sector decisions over which the German government has no influence. Both claims are at best misleading. A country’s trade balance is the difference between what it produces and what it consumes. Germany produces far more than it consumes, because the country saves far more than it invests. This is not primarily because of its aging population—the household savings rate has always been high and hasn’t risen significantly over the last 15 years—but because of ballooning corporate sector and government savings, as Germany has been running a fiscal surplus since 2013. The United States, by contrast, consumes more than it produces; that is, domestic savings are insufficient to fund domestic investment. This tells us little about the success of the two respective economies—at least if by success we mean productivity levels and hence living standards—as opposed to the price competitiveness of a country’s exports on global markets. It is highly unusual for an economy as big as Germany’s to be so acutely sensitive to changes in foreign demand; typically an economy of its size is driven primarily by domestic demand. And there is nothing inevitable about Germany’s degree of export dependence— it reflects domestic policy choices in Germany over the last 15 or so years. Far from being at the mercy of global forces beyond its control, the German government could take steps to rebalance the country’s economy. The principle reason why German savings have risen and investment has weakened is a big transfer of national income from households to firms, reflecting very weak wage growth for those on low to average incomes
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and tax policies that have favored the business sector over households. According to the IMF, German household consumption has fallen from around 63 percent of GDP in 2005 to 51 percent in 2018.
fund investment would more than pay for itself. Most conservative economists and business figures, however, continue to argue that what the country needs is tax cuts for business and more labor market flexibility.
While the transfer of income to the enterprise sector boosted its profits and the price competitiveness of German exports, it has done nothing to boost investment and hence productivity growth across the German economy as a whole. The reason is that the weakness of consumption has undermined firms’ incentives to invest at home—they are sitting on the cash instead. Foreign demand for German goods is now shrinking, bringing the country’s economy to a standstill. But there is no reason for Germany to return to being the sick man of Europe. The biggest challenge facing the country comes from its own politics rather than the worsening international environment. Germany can easily take steps to boost domestic consumption and offset the weakening of external demand.
There will be a compromise: an easing of the country’s fiscal rules and higher public investment but also the abolition of the so-called solidarity tax, a 5.5 percent surcharge on income and corporate tax introduced in the aftermath of reunification to fund the rebuilding of the eastern states. Higher public spending, particularly investment, will certainly provide a boost to the economy—especially given that the government can easily borrow for free.
The German government could reduce taxes on low to median incomes, raise public-sector wages, launch a major public investment program, and overturn the elements of the Hartz labor market reforms implemented in 2003 to 2005 that undermined the bargaining power of workers and helped to create a large low-wage economy. Many German economists, and not just those on the left, are now calling on the government to reform the country’s constitutionally binding commitment to balance the federal government’s budget over the economic cycle. They rightly argue that it is preventing the country from upgrading its worsening infrastructure, and that with the government’s borrowing costs having turned negative—that is, investors are prepared to pay the German government to lend to it—borrowing to
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Higher public investment could certainly boost productivity, for example by alleviating the country’s transport bottlenecks and improving its poor telecommunications infrastructure, but it will not be a substitute for stronger private investment. And contrary to the claims of conservative economists, abolishing the solidarity charge will do little to boost investment, because it will disproportionately benefit the better off and firms, groups which that a high propensity to save. With the proportion of German business profits going toward taxes having already fallen sharply, firms are already sitting on unprecedented cash holdings. All that a further cut in the corporate tax burden is likely to do is further increase savings and with it the economy’s export dependence.
*Simon Tilford Member of the Global Economy and Finance Department at Chatham House. He was previously chief economist in the Renewing the Centre team at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
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Can Huawei play a role in enhancing EU’s technology sovereignty? by N. Peter Kramer
uawei offers to become an indispensable partner for the EU as it strives to develop secure and trustworthy networks to empower a common digital future across the continent. This was the message from the DigitALL lunch debate held at the Huawei Cybersecurity Centre in Brussels. The EU could play a leading role in the 5G mobile communications revolution by developing Digital Trust with its technology partners. Dr Hui Cao, Head of Strategy and Policy at Huawei EU said, that ‘the EU’s technology sovereignty -emphasising cybersecurity, data protection and privacy- will be enhanced by working closely with the ICT industry.’ Dr Cao pointed out that ‘as the world’s leading supplier of
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telecommunications equipment, Huawei stands ready to address the EU’s concerns about a wide range of issues, from data governance and AI ethics to the management of supply chain risks for equipment used in EU’s critical infrastructure and digital systems.’ THE 10 MEGATRENDS ARRIVING BY 2025 The 10 Megatrends identified in Huawei’s Global Industry Vision 2025 report, presented by Dr Cao, ‘will shape the future and inspire a new age of digital inclusion’. 1 – Learning to live with robots: the adoption rate of intelligent domestic robots will reach 14% by 2025.
2 – Learning to work with robots: industrial robot will work side by side with people in manufacturing, with 103 robots for every 10.000 employees introduced by 2025. 3 – Super Sight: the percentage of companies using Augmented and Virtual Reality will increase to 10%. 4 – Augmented Creativity: 97% of large companies will be using AI in their services and operations. 5 – Communication will become frictionless: enterprises will be making efficient use of 86% the data they produce. 6 – Zero search needed: the adoption rate of intelligent personal digital assistants will reach 90%. 7 – Cars will be increasingly connected to the Internet and to each other: C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything) technology will be installed I 15% of the world’s vehicles. 8 – We will live in an increasingly symbiotic economy: 85% of business applications will be cloud-based. 9 – 5G is arriving fast: 5G networks will cover 58% of the world’s population by 2025. 10 – Global Digital Governance: the amount of global data produced annually will reach 180 Zettabytes (ZB =1021 bytes. GB is 109 bytes) by 2025. ‘If the EU is forward thinking and seizes the opportunities these new technologies represent, it can lead the world in the digital revolution while maintaining a wise approach to technology sovereignty’, concluded Dr Cao. The Chinese giant Huawei is world leader in 5G and other technologies. The company is challenging the EU with the opportunities mentioned in its report ‘Touching an Intelligent World, as Huawei’s Global Industry Vision 2025 report officially is called. But the problem is of course the US. President Trump blocked cooperation with Huawei because of the Chinese law requires Chinese companies to deliver data to the national government. What will the EU do? Poland ‘connected’ itself already with the US. Some memberstates hesitate about it. Other governments are far behind and hardly know where it is all about. The US and China will easily stay frontrunners.
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Nancy Pelosi leads charge on impeachment by Hans Izaak Kriek*
he leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, decided no longer to resist the pressure of her party's left wing and announced an impeachment inquiry against the incumbent president. Ever since Trump’s inauguration, the Democrats didn’t stop to attack him, but all those attempts have failed. Think of the unsuccessful case of the supposed Russia intervention in the 2016 elections, public prosecutor Mueller flopped. No evidence was found that Trump would have conspired with the Russians. Now Pelosi claims President Trump's behavior undermines the integrity of the U.S. and accuse him of abuse of power. The president is said to have delayed military aid to Ukraine ($ 250 million) to urge President Zelensky to start a corruption investigation against Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He was commissioned by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014 and according to the Trump team is said to have been guilty of corruption. Some of the Democrats want to extend the charge against Trump with other accusations. These range from personal gain during the presidency, violation of legislation on campaign financing, unlawful use of government funds for the
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construction of a wall along the border with Mexico to the unlawful grant of grace. But lawyers warn them to limit the charge to violate the law, abuse of power, persecution of political opponents and lying to the people. HOW DOES DONALD TRUMP REACT AND HOW BIG IS THE CHANCE THAT DONALD TRUMP WILL HAVE TO CLEAR OUT? President Donald Trump says Democrat’s impeachment inquiry is a continuation of the ‘witch hunt’ against him. At the end of 2016 and early 2017 the Democrats already started to threaten with impeachments plans. They are still crying crocodile tears over the loss of the 2016 elections. Since then, the so-called witch hunt against the president begun. The main issue for the Democrats only is hatred and do nothing for the American people. They forget there is a 2/3 majority needed in the Senate, what means that 20 Republican senators have to vote in favour of an impeachment. That will never happen. The already fierce battle between Republicans and Democrats is now expected to escalate further and to dominate next year's presidential election campaign. Nancy Pelosi has
always resisted an "impeachment" from Trump for fear that the procedure could possibly help him in a victim's election. The latest polls indicated that 57% percent of the American people don’t want an impeachment. VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN’S ROLE IN UKRAINE Joe Biden played a key role in U.S. diplomacy with Ukraine. He has said he made at least a dozen visits to Kyiv as vice president. At one point, the U.S. threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee unless Shokin was removed from office. Biden delivered the message directly to Ukrainian officials. “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” he told them, according to an account of the conversation he gave at a 2018 conference. Shokin was ousted in March 2016, and the loan guarantee came through. The U.S. push for Shokin’s dismissal wasn’t the vice president’s idea and filtered up from officials at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. The International Monetary Fund was also faulting Ukraine for a failure to tackle corruption, and demonstrators on the streets of Kyiv were calling for Shokin’s ouster. Joe Biden has said that he’s never spoken with his son about his foreign business dealings. Hunter told the New Yorker earlier this year that they once touched on Ukraine obliquely. “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.’” "Joe Biden and his son are corrupt, but the fake news doesn’t want to report because they’re Democrats," Trump said Monday. "If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair." Trump added: "Look at the double standards, you people ought to be ashamed of yourselves…You got a lot of crooked journalists, you’re crooked as hell." The President of Ukraine, Zelensky declared the other day in a meeting with Trump, ‘nobody pressured me or pushed me’ to probe Biden. NANCY PELOSI 'HURT OUR NATION' WITH FORMAL IMPEACHMENT PUSH The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, congressman Doug Collins condemned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for her remarks that officially commenced a Trump impeachment inquiry. Democrats like Pelosi do not want to give President Trump a fair chance nor do they want to handle the relevant hearings in a responsible manner. "What Nancy Pelosi did yesterday was a disservice to the House," he said. Republican senator Graham: “The fact that Pelosi would argue
for impeachment before she read the transcript was released tells me that she has lost control“ .The White House released a transcript of Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky showing he sought a review of Biden family dealings the country, but the document does not show Trump explicitly leveraging military aid as part of a quid pro quo, as Democrats have suggested in pressing forward with an impeachment probe. “Read the transcript. No rational person would conclude that the president was threatening to cut off aid to Ukraine unless they did something against Joe Biden and his son,” said Graham. IMPEACHMENT TRUMP AND THE ROLE OF BIDEN The impeachment research will undoubtedly affect the role of father and son Biden and thereby damage Joe Biden's candidacy. By the way, there are researchers who question Joe Biden's lecture on Shokin and can make the prospect even more turbulent for him. Will Democrats sacrifice Biden and portray him as one of those traditional elite politicians who abuse their position by arranging all kinds of jobs for friends and relatives and the American hates that? This may be a turning point for Elizabeth Warren to become the Democratic presidential candidate. But she can’t beat Trump with her ‘socialist’ proposals for free education, medicare for all, tax the rich, social security tax, Green Deal. *Hans Izaak Kriek International political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media
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‘The UN should open its doors for Taiwan’ Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu* by N. Peter Kramer
resident Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) transited through New York as a preload to her state visit to Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean. While meeting with the Permanent Representatives to the UN of Taiwan’s allies, President Tsai reiterated that Taiwan’s 23 million people have the right to participate in the UN system. She also emphasised that Taiwan is committed to joining hands with global partners to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to forge the world we want, and the future we need.. The SDGs form a blueprint for a better and more sustainable future, aiming to guide the world down a sustainable and resilient path with “no one left behind.” In the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed again the pressing need to accelerate relevant actions. Likewise, he called on nations to advance the “Inclusion Imperative” because “development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive.” The principles of inclusiveness and leaving no one behind are key to realising the SDGs. Taiwan, a full-fledged democracy, has made considerable progress in fulfilling the SDGs and has provided assistance to countries in need. Nevertheless, it continues to be barred from participating in related meetings, mechanisms and activities due to political interference. This has seriously undermined the principle of partnership, the foundation of the SDGs, which requires the participation of all countries, stakeholders, and peoples. Taiwan is willing and ready to share its success story and contribute further to the collective effort to achieve the SDGs. After many years of effort, Taiwan has made great strides in alleviating poverty and achieving zero hunger. The country’s low-income households has been reduced to 1.6 percent. Launched in 1993, the National Health Insurance program now covers 99.8 percent of the population. In 2018, the waste recycling rate reached 55.69 percent, the literacy rate 98.8 percent, and the infant mortality rate 4.2 per 1,000. These fig-
ures far surpass SDG standards. The government of Taiwan has further identified six major areas of interest with respect to the SDGs: smart water management, sustainable energy transformation, clean air, sustainable materials management and the circular economy, ecological conservation and green networks, and international partnerships. These areas complement the main theme of the UN High-Level Political Forum 2018, the SDGs, and the 5Ps—people, planet, peace, prosperity, and partnership—referred to in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In recent years, Taiwan has been providing development assistance to and engaging in cooperation programs with partner countries in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2018 alone, Taiwan conducted development projects in SDG areas of interest in 39 countries. We will continue to track international trends and the needs of partner countries to ensure that all operations are aligned with the SDGs. Considering Taiwan’s robust experience and contributions, it is absurd that Taiwan is barred from sharing experience and critical information that could be used to better coordinate international efforts. The oft-cited legal basis for excluding Taiwan from the UN is Resolution 2758 (XXVI), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1971. However, the resolution does not address the issue of Taiwan’s representation in the UN, nor does it state that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In fact, Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC. Only Taiwan’s democratically elected government can represent its 23 million people. Unfortunately, the UN continues to misuse and misinterpret the resolution to justify its wrongful exclusion and isolation of Taiwan. International organisations are created to meet the common objectives of its members, not to serve the interests of just one member. Article 100 of the UN Charter clearly states that “In the performance of their
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duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organisation.” Regrettably, the UN sits idly by whenever China seeks to impose its so-called “one China principle” on the UN system. The most recent example involves dozens of NGOs being denied Consultative Status by the UN Economic and Social Council simply because a reference to Taiwan in their documents contradicts China’s demands. A truly inclusive UN would not leave anyone behind. Today, however, Taiwan passport holders are blocked from entering UN premises for public visits and meetings. Taiwanese journalists and media outlets are also denied accreditation to cover UN meetings. These practices are unjust and discriminatory, and contravene the principle of universality upon which the UN was founded. The UN should make its actions and words
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congruent, and take immediate action to rectify its exclusionary practices. This dire situation does not, and never will, intimidate Taiwan. Taiwan is ready, willing and able to contribute. If the UN continues to yield to China’s coercion, rejecting Taiwan’s participation, it will only encourage Beijing’s callousness. Efforts to fulfill the purpose of achieving international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all, as stated in Article 1 of the UN Charter, will also be impaired. If the host of nations is serious about promoting inclusion and making development sustainable for all, it should open its doors to Taiwan. *Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu *Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
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EXTRAIT DE CULTURE
A decade of paying homage to the eternal ancient symbol of Acropolis via its Museum An exclusive interview with Mr. Dimitrios Pantermalis, President / Board of Directors of the Acropolis Museum by Alexandra Papaisidorou*
n July 25, 2019, a few days after the events taken place on the frame of the 10th anniversary of the Acropolis Museum, EBR had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Mr. Pantermalis, who has been the Director for these 10 years of the Acropolis Museum's operation while over 14.5 million local and international visitors have passed its doors to enjoy its exhibits. From a holistic viewpoint, the President walks us mentally around the museum and on the occasion of its ten years anniversary, he expresses himself in a very interesting and stimulating context on the issues of cultural diplomacy and the role of museums on the direction of a common European identity. EBR shines a light on what Mr. Pantermalis’ work made the difference during this decade and the motives of moving forward as “we now start”, such as literally the President pointed out. EBR: ARE YOU STILL CONSCIOUSLY DREAMING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE HAPPEN IN THE MUSEUM OF ACROPOLIS AS THE CRADLE OF CULTURE? COULD YOU PLEASE NAME ONE THAT COMES FIRST ON YOUR MIND? DP: What we really expect in the Museum of Acropo-
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EXTRAIT DE CULTURE
lis, which is, also, a sustainable and constant pattern, has to do with the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures. It is an issue that dates back 200 years, however, it remains to be still highly alive nowadays and concerns not only Greek people but so many foreigners especially since it opens its Gates. This problem, being only orally worded as a problem as it is a visual topic in real that makes observers to spot what is missing from the Parthenon marbles and how they could be partitioned, so, how much feasible is their rehabilitation meaning the effort to get them back of the British museum. This is a goal that we constantly look forward to and believe that one day the solution would come up. EBR: HOW DO YOU CONFRONT THE ALLURE FROM THE PAST THAT HAUNT THE PRESENT RELATED TO GREAT ISSUES OF CONCERN TAKING FOR EXAMPLE THE PARTHENON MARBLES RETURN? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT CULTURAL DIPLOMACY COULD PLAY A SIGNIFICANT ROLE AND BRING NEW PERSPECTIVES TOWARDS CERTAIN TOPICS? DP: Absolutely, the cultural diplomacy consists a highly useful tool not only for the Parthenon sculptures but generally for the cultural, cross-national and International Relations. The civilisation is a gentle way of approach and communication among people as it is released by the political parametres and targets directly the man itself and the universal expression of societies represented by these people. It goes without saying that it is the basic background for a creative dialogue that as we believe is the condition of the achievement of a solution, to say it differently, I personally canâ€™t agree more that this issue cannot be solved just with a decision of a certain authority but only with the refinement of the cultural diplomacy and the fertile dialogue.
EBR: WHAT THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS COME TO YOUR MIND WHEN YOU COUNT DOWN THESE TEN YEARS AND HAVE YOUR ORIGINAL VISIONS COME TO AN END? WHAT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? We do not think that these decades mean the end of our planning for the museum, but, on the contrary, it is the springboard to step forward and dare more. The Museum of Acropolis has chosen as its main target to have numerous visitors and then to try to convey in the new broadened Greek public, but international as well, all the messaging emerged by the works of art which houses and we consider that it is not by chance that during the first decade more than 15 million of visitors sightseeing it. EBR: IN WHAT WAYS ART, CULTURE AND HERITAGE CAN CONTRIBUTE AS THE BEST PIECE OF LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES AND THUS COMPOSING A COMMON CULTURAL EUROPEAN IDENTITY. IN WHAT WAY MAY IT INSPIRE YOU FOR A ROBUST FUTURE AMONG STATES, SUBJECTS AND INDIVIDUALS? DP: The Greek classical culture has already played a main role for the common cultural identity of Europe and we consider that it is our obligation, on behalf of the Acropolis Museum, to contribute again so as to make Europe re-discover the Ancient Greece.
EBR: THE MUSEUM OF ACROPOLIS CONSISTS ABSOLUTELY A UNIQUELY SYNONYM OF GREEK CULTURE, DEMOCRACY, ETHOS AND HAS TAKEN OVER THE REINS OF THE SIXTH MOST POPULAR MUSEUM IN THE WORLD. DOES IT SHOW OFF DECIDEDLY A SIGN OF THE UNIVERSAL PAN-CATHOLIC AND PAN PHILANTHROPIST GREEK SPIRIT GLOBALLY? DP: Yes, of course, the Museum of Acropolis disposes emblematic masterpieces of the archaic and classical period that their existence consisted the archetype of many artistic creations of the subsequent years, centuries and there is undoubtfully the global interest for all these archetypes which express a society with high mental rate and achievements in each aspect of spirit.
*Alexandra Papaisidorou Editor-at-large - PhD cand., University of Piraeus, Cultural Diplomacy & International Relations
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Fighting dreaded diseases with camel blood brought a huge success to a Belgian biotech company: sold for €3.9 billion! by Rein van Gisteren*
bit of camel blood from the fridge in a lab of a Brussels university (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB) became the basis for a breakthrough: exactly 30 years ago, Brussels’ scientists discovered that it contained miniscule antibodies, which are now called Nanobodies®. In 2018 the spin-off of the invention, the Belgian biotech company Ablynx, was sold to the French company Sanofi for € 3.9 billion! Camelid animals carry tiny antibodies in their blood that help fight infections, cancers, thrombosis and rheumatism. You can strengthen the immune system of a patient with these antibodies. This is because the protein attach-
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es itself to the diseased cell and attacks it, without side effects. "When our students demonstrated these unique antibodies, I was called in," tells biochemist Serge Muyldermans. “Of course, there was still a long way to go, but we saw immediately that we really found something very promising. " “We bought a camel in Morocco. Out of pocket, because in the 1980s there were hardly subsidies for such fundamental research. It seemed as if only we saw the opportu-
nity for innovation. After our camel turned out to be stolen, one of our students brought fresh camel blood from Morocco. We also found a budget for this specific research. The results showed indeed that the specific antibodies in camelids have a much more limited repertoire to recognise foreign substances than humans and other animals, and still they have increased immunity. Moreover, they can be made up to ten times smaller and much more efficient for penetrating in tissues that you want to combat.” Summarising. First discover ‘the needle in the haystack’. Then look for camel blood. Find corroboration there has been something serious discovered. Disparagement of the impact. Uncertainty about subsidies. Establishing a startup. Learning to deal with patents ... “Yes, that's how it really went, Nature refused our article. It didn't even get a peer review! The editors didn’t take it seriously. When asked (at that time, you could simply call Nature), the advice waas to check it ourselves with renowned colleagues. In the end, it was finally published in 1993. After that, the search for the applications continued, we had to draw up a business plan. "It was through a science grant of € 1.8 million that took off things. Now more than 500 people have a job.” If the researchers at the VUB could have exploited their invention, they would have been multi-billionaires. But
that is not what Serge Muyldermans' life is about. "A nice job and being happy is enough," he says while tickling his alpaca Paco under his chin in his hometown of Hoeilaart near Brussels. “What is my core message? I would like to demystify the image of the researcher working alone in his lab in a white labcoat. You don't do such a thing on your own. Unfortunately, science does not always lead to honest business. Look at the rejection of our article. I would like to make a warm plea for more research funding. Hundreds of people are now earning a living, not to mention the quality of life gained for all those patients who can be cured without nasty side effects. Fundamental and multidisciplinary research is very important. Especially because of the cross-pollination between disciplines that are nowadays often isolated.” "What would be the first decision I would take if I was EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation? Less bureaucracy and more resources for fundamental and multidisciplinary research. What for? That is politics, not science.”
*Rein van Gisteren Communication consultant and publicist
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6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure by Joseph Losavio
hen New Yorkers finally welcomed the opening of the Second Avenue Subway in 2017, they had been waiting nearly 100 years from the project’s conception to completion of its first phase. Beleaguered Berliners are still waiting on Brandenburg airport – scheduled to open in 2011 – to start accepting passengers. Over-budget and over-deadline projects too often seem the norm, all while innovation is flourishing in the rest of the economy. However, appearances can be deceptive; innovation is actually thriving at all stages of infrastructure development. Exciting new ideas are being generated around the world and have the potential to change the field. 1. BIM: DESIGN THAT KEEPS TABS Observing a construction site from afar, one can be forgiven for thinking not much has changed. Yet, a closer look will reveal advances that are changing the way infrastructure projects are designed. Building Information Modeling (BIM) software programs grant the ability to digitally design a construction project that moves beyond two-dimensional technical drawings and Computer Aided Design. BIM allows professionals at all stages, from the architects to the engineers to the building managers, to collaborate on a construction project. It not only enables three-dimensional computer-generated design, but can also provide insights into functional considerations like time and cost, and even environmental impact. Will floor-to-ceiling windows increase the energy bill? The architect wants to add a new wall: How does this affect the engineering requirements? BIM can answer all these in real time and give access to all necessary parties on multiple platforms. This, among other things, optimises design, decreases errors and gives greater cost predictability, which help to deliver projects that are on time and on budget.
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2. 3D PRINTING: TAKING THE STRAIN OF CONSTRUCTION While on-screen advancements like BIM are increasing collaboration to improve infrastructure design, on-site technological advances are changing the way infrastructure is physically constructed. 3D printing is poised to totally disrupt the construction site. MX3D, a Dutch 3D printing company, attempted to design and built the world’s first 3D printed steel bridge – all in mid-air. The project involved constructing a special six-axis robot that could create weight-bearing structures beneath it, which it could slide forward upon to continue the project as the building material set. The 12.5-metre span is due to be installed over a canal in central Amsterdam this year after safety testing and will include sensors to gather insights on how the bridge reacts over time. The technology holds the potential to increase the efficiency of infrastructure mega-projects, while reducing the cost and safety concerns of operating in sprawling, chaotic construction sites. 3. MASS TIMBER: THE ERA OF WOODEN SKYSCRAPERS The brave new world of infrastructure development isn’t confined to new designing and building technologies – new materials are also leading the field. The centuries-long reign of concrete as a primary building material may be coming to an end, as the use of various Mass Timber alternatives continues to become more mainstream. Mass Timber is increasingly replacing other building materials like cement and steel, and new products like CLT (cross-laminated timber, formed by stacking and gluing perpendicular layers of wood) and Glulam (glue-laminated timber, formed by stacking and gluing layers of wood directly on top of each other) are allowing for even higher and stronger wood buildings. Vienna’s HoHo tower is set to be 24 storeys and 84 metres tall,
and Norway’s recently completed 85.4 metre, 18-storey Mjosa Tower is now the tallest timber tower in the world. The Fort McMurray International Airport Terminal in Canada was the largest cross-laminated timber building in North America at the time it was built in 2012. Using CLT in the terminal’s construction to cut building time was ideal given Fort McMurray’s small labour force, its remote location in Canada’s northern Alberta province and its harsh seasonal weather conditions. Using Mass Timber can reduce construction time up to 25% and use up to one-third the energy production of steel and one-fifth of concrete in addition to using significantly less carbon-intensive production methods. The airport terminals and train stations of tomorrow could be built faster and cleaner using Mass Timber, as builders tackle taller and larger projects with materials like CLT and Glulam. 4. PLASTIC ROADS: RECYCLING UNDER OUR WHEELS This disruption of traditional building materials continues with efforts to replace asphalt as a primary material in road construction with plastic. Dutch engineering firm KWS has developed a lightweight, prefabricated, modular road made with recycled plastic waste. Advantages over asphalt include a quicker installation time, triple the service life and introducing an effective way to recycle the plastic that ends up in our oceans and landfills. The road is hollow to allow room for utility pipe placement and rainwater drainage. It is also covered in a special coating to prevent the release of microplastics, which often end up our food supply. Though the pilot project has been a 30-metre bike path made from the equivalent of 218,000 plastic cups in the Dutch city of Zwolle, sensors imbedded in the road are helping the team capture insights that can be used to develop plastic roads, plastic highways – perhaps even plastic airport runways. Plastic roads not only have the potential to take plastic waste out of the environment, but to introduce savings through faster installation and less disruptive maintenance. 5. BLOCKCHAIN: STREAMLINING CONTRACTS Improved design technologies and new building materials are positive steps, but a transformation-ripe area of infrastructure development lies long before the first blueprints are drawn. Moribund contracting and procurement processes dramatically slow down projects before they even begin. Blockchain is one such technology that can eliminate the many layers of contracts and middlemen that sit between the conception and delivery of an infrastructure project. Blockchain’s potential to undergird smart contracts can be used to pay for important aspects of an infrastructure asset (for example, a subway car or important parts of an ventilation system) by releasing direct payments over time to the supplier, the shipping company or the installer without a web of separate contracts and intermediate parties. Additionally, it provides full traceability. Its identity certification applications could reduce issues around finding workers or firms with the right construction certification or security
clearances. Indeed, leveraging Blockchain’s use of digital IDs could lead to automation of contract and sub-contract administration making for more direct agreements and less confusion. Using blockchain throughout the project life cycle, particularly in conjunction with BIM, could significantly cut down on time, cost and fraud. 6. REPLICA: MAKING PASSENGERS COUNT In addition to having a plan for procurement, designers need to understand the best way to plan for a new system. For mass transportation infrastructure projects, this means knowing where the people are and where they need to go. Misunderstanding passenger demand can lead to costly missteps like Montreal’s abandoned Mirabel airport, once projected to be among the busiest in the world, or the Jacksonville Skyway operating at 10% of projected daily ridership (though the city has interesting plans to revitalise the system). When planning new rapid transit routes, urban planners often rely on inefficient household surveys, limiting trip counters or data quality-plagued modeling software. Sidewalk Labs endeavours to solve this problem with Replica, a software that can use real-time location data to plan mass transportation systems. The program de-identifies mobile location data from smartphones and apps, combines it with aggregate demographic information, and gives planning agencies information on how, when and why people travel in urban areas. Replica can help planners decide where to build a new subway line or widen a street, or when to plan repairs on utility lines when they are the least disruptive. It is a tool that could improve the speed and efficacy with which infrastructure is planned and maintained, avoiding the potential for bridges to nowhere. Clearly, there are many exciting things going on in a field that can appear staid to the uninitiated. The technological transformation sweeping the rest of society is indeed primed to revolutionise infrastructure. However, decision-makers, for a variety of reasons, are still hesitant to create the kind of enabling environment necessary for widespread embrace of these emerging technologies. Several organizations aim to address this by helping the public and private sectors better understand effective methods for technologically transforming infrastructure. This includes the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Infrastructure, currently designing a casebook of real-world best -practice examples to equip decision-makers with knowledge to develop a new generation of infrastructure. The technological advances rising for infrastructure have the potential to change the way we live, work and play in an increasingly interconnected world. If we can create the environment where the Fourth Industrial Revolution spurs the infrastructure technology revolution, the prosperous, dynamic and inclusive societies the world needs are only a short ride away. *Joseph Losavio Community Specialist, Infrastructure and Development Initiatives
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‘The idea having a European destiny Greece owes to 19th century western intellectuals’ A book review: ‘Greece: Biography of a Nation’ by Roderick Beaton. by N. Peter Kramer
ew scholars are better qualified to write about the latest Greek crisis than Roderick Beaton, one of the English-speaking world’s leading authorities on modern Greek culture. He is the author of Byron’s War (2013) an examination of the English poet’s life through his devotion to Greek war for independence of the Ottoman occupying power. And of George Seferis: Waiting for the Angel (2003), a biography of the Greek diplomat-poet who won the 1963 Nobel Prize for literature. Beaton’s new book Greece: Biography of a nation (2019) is written before the rightist political party Neo Demokratia took over from the leftist Syriza with its charismatic leader Tsipras. Interesting is that this
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youngest political switch in Greece proves what Beaton describes in his book about earlier situations. It is a perpetuum mobile that occurs in Greece since becoming independent of the Ottoman. Financial clean ups are always followed by returning big spending. Exactly what’s going on at the moment. The only difference now is that the process takes place under severe supervision of ‘Brussels’. Tsipras was ordered to tell the Greek people to tighten rigorously their belts. His rightwing successor, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is now asking permission of the European Commission to untighten these belts. Probably he will get that permission. His party Neo Demokratia is a member of the powerful European People’s Party (EPP). Tsipras represented the by the establishment accursed left populists.
destiny in its soul originates, according to Beaton, to western intellectuals and travellers, who portrayed the Greeks as ‘modern Hellenes, descendants of the ancient Greeks to whom western civilisation owed an incalculable debt’. The British poet Shelley wrote after the outbreak of the war of independence (1821-1832), ‘we are all Greek’. The author describes the struggle against the Ottoman Empire, ‘the Revolution’, in harrowing detail. It was ‘a paroxysm, a manifestation of collective rage and fear… Both sides routinely murders prisoners and hostages, of all ages and both sexes… After a skirmish, both sides would collect the severed heads of their victims as trophies’. Similar atrocities occurred in the 1940s, first when the German occupiers and their collaborationist allies fought the Greek resistance, and then in the 1946-49 Greek civil war. Foreigners, especially the British, French, Russians, Americans and Germans, have on numerous occasions played a decisive role in determining Greece’s fate. For instance, the British, French and Russians forces annihilated the combined Ottoman an Egyptian fleet at Navarino Bay in 1827. ‘It was one of the very few setpiece battles in the whole of the Revolution. Navarino changed everything. And not a single Greek took part,’ Beaton writes.
Greece: Biography of a Nation by Roderick Beaton (Allan Lane/Penguin Random House UK, 462 pages; ISBN 978-0-241-31284-1)
Roderick Beaton sheds light on recurrent patterns of political conflict, social change and economic upheaval. He demonstrates that the last crisis broke out along a set of interconnected historical faultlines relating to the contested nature of Greek identity, the role of the state and the nation’s place in the modern world. These deep-rooted aspects of the crises have by no means gone away, he writes. In some form or other they are likely to generate fresh challenges in the future. Beaton interprets Greece’s history since the early 18th century as an ‘evolving process of collective identity’ in which westernising, European elements have gradually come out on top against eastern, Byzantine-oriented features. The idea that modern Greece had European
Yet this internationalisation of the conflict intensified domestic tensions that had burst into civil war – a war within a war- in 1823-24. As Beaton perceptively argues, this split foreshadowed the National Schism of the first world war, when Greeks divided over whether or not to side with the western Entente powers, as well as the more ideologically defined rifts of the 1940s civil war and the cold war. The choice was then between the US-led, western capitalist camp and Soviet-led, eastern communism. Historical records show that western governments have rarely held back from pushing Greece around. From a western financial rescue arranged in 1843 till the 2010-2018 debt crisis, especially to those of the socalled ‘third-bailout in July 2015. Beaton writes, ‘Both the circumstances and the conditions are uncannily similar!’. He concludes that no matter how severe Greece’s recent difficulties were, Greece’s democracy and international alliances are intact. It will enable Greeks to celebrate the forthcoming 200th anniversary of independency with confidence.
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From Israel’s ’start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation Only a short flight separates Tel Aviv from many European capitals, but the seaside city’s leadership on innovation and its bustling start-up culture can make it seem worlds away. Ranked sixth in the world by Start-Up Genome’s Start-Up Ecosystem Rankings in 2019, Israel has been recognized internationally as the start-up nation, punching above its weight for a country with a population of only 8 million by Julie Ziskind*
ow does this tiny nation manage to be so creative? And if some of these factors are specific to its unique culture, is there anything Europe can replicate? With 44 countries, including 28 European Union member states, Europe has a lot of innovation potential—if local innovation ecosystems across the region were to
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better work together. Successful implementation of the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy could create an estimated €415 billion in value, serving a combined population of over 500 million. Europe has an abundance of internationally respected universities and STEM graduates, but the market is fragmented by language and local regulation, as well as more subtle cultural differences.
The Digital Europe initiative is committed to making a pan-European approach to innovation and entrepreneurship possible. To this end, the initiative sent a delegation to meet with Israeli founders, academics and corporates, as well as leadership from the Israeli Innovation Authority (IIA), to support collaboration between Europe’s many digital hubs—and learn how a touch of the “yi-hi-ye be-se-der” (Hebrew for “everything will be alright”) mindset might be applied in Europe. From those meetings, here are five lessons from Israel for European innovators and policy-makers. 1. REVERSE INNOVATION MODEL The IIA approaches innovation by understanding the challenge first, and then working backwards to source solutions. This is the reverse innovation model. For example, established corporations are invited to pitch their challenges to start-ups. This promotes the formation of joint ventures (sometimes between competing firms) to address them.
One example is the Floor, a fintech accelerator founded jointly by international banks including HSBC, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Santander. The Floor uses the reverse innovation model to source challenges from the banks and then searches the market for relevant start-ups, incubating and supporting those working on potential solutions. They speak of providing “helpful money”, where financing and mentoring go hand-inhand. More European accelerators could be set up in this way to source solutions, focusing earlier on the possible applications for the products of selected startups. 2. TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE + TENACITY Just days after the public announcement of the first 3D-printed human heart, Professor Tal Dvir discussed the research and development process that lead to the breakthrough. However, his message was focused not only on success, but also on the need to do more and go further. A similar message came from SpaceIL, which attempted the first Israeli moon landing. After nine years of
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Ashleigh Ainsley, Founder of the UK’s Colorintech, had a good takeaway for European companies that plan to extend beyond their immediate borders: “The size of their domestic and regional market doesn’t deter founders but instead acts to encourage them to build businesses that are scalable across borders. This manifests in ways such as language support built into products from the beginning. As a result, the businesses that survive are robust and suited for breaking down the early barriers to entry in foreign markets.” 4. GIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUTH
work and millions in investment, however, the company failed to complete the mission as their unmanned spacecraft successfully achieved orbit but crashed upon landing. SpaceIL (supported by its investors and the Israeli government) immediately announced a second attempt to become the fourth nation on the moon, emphasizing understanding the cause of failure meant there was no reason not to try one more time. In Europe, there is an active discussion on learning to accept failure, but it is not every day a “failed” project gets national acclaim. While it may be unrealistic to copy-andpaste the Israeli approach, Europeans should still seek a moon mission in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 3. LOCAL SUPPORT WITH GLOBAL AMBITION In meetings with the European delegates, speakers highlighted the need to think globally from day one, while emphasizing responsibility to the local community. In the close-knit world of Israeli tech, even global companies give back. The new Amazon Web Services headquarters in Tel Aviv has an entire floor available to the public for organizing community events, while Intel—the largest employer in Israel—actively supports diversity programmes. Start-ups like Moovit, an Israeli mobility-as-a-service company, immediately consider global expansion, relying on voluntary “mooviters” to map local transit information in cities, both locally and worldwide, that would be otherwise underserved.
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Army service is an undeniable cultural factor in Israel. But the most common explanation for its significance for entrepreneurship is not related to defence, but rather to the systematic scanning of schools for the country’s best talent, and the following obligation to take responsibility early and to be held accountable. In a country in which nearly 45% of the population is under 24, this is no small matter. Schools apply the same rationale, teaching kids responsibility for their actions, even if it’s as simple as doing community service and keeping the school clean. This gives children agency and higher aspirations. According to Wolfgang Grundinger, adviser to the German Association of the Digital Economy: “Just as in the Israeli military, where talented individuals in their twenties have the opportunity to be responsible for their own budget and lead teams and projects, other countries should push young leaders to take on responsibility earlier and empower them to lead their countries into a digital future.” Israel’s disproportionate impact on global innovation also finds its roots in strong links to the world’s highest-performing innovation ecosystems. Europe has everything necessary to build these bridges, internally and externally, and to turn its diversity into a fertile ground for new business. Europeans need to make fostering collaboration between the different ecosystem players—from big corporate players to entrepreneurs, policy experts and investors—a key objective. Unlike Israel, Europe doesn’t have to start by attracting multinationals. It already has a large industrial base it only has to tap into. Exposure to disruption and innovation is the best remedy against future shocks. *Julie Ziskind General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
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