Google Ad

Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship in the European Union

Ok, I know what you are going to say, but this was the title of a seminar that I attended yesterday. One of the members of the panel, Dr Ugur Muldur is the head of the DG Research Unit for the European Commission. He gave a presentation on the reasons why the EU is failing in its Lisbon Strategy. To be fair he was thorough and thoughtful, but like all those whose careers depend on the money forcibly removed from our pockets, the conclusions he drew were interesting to say the least. First the facts, no one in the EU wants to be their own boss. Why this is could be an interesting discussion, but the social model is my first suspect. Why take the risk when the state is there to look after you. Fact two, the USA has grown faster that the EU consistently over the last few years. The percentage of GDP spent on research is low and needs to be raised apparently. This despite the fact that we were told that the EU files more patents than the USA. If you ask me, too much research is being done if this fact is not leading to more start ups. Mr Muldur gave poor regulation as a chief problem, but hinted that nation states were to blame rather than the Brussels Behemoth. Of course the solution is to pass more directives which force simpler regulations. The idea that competition drives good government is obviously alien to such people. The question and answer session was fun. In an earlier presentation, Kenichi Ohmae the strategy guru, suggested that for Turkey to join the EU would be a mistake. The EU will strangle competitiveness he said. This point was brought up by someone who compared the record of the USA with that of the EU. Our friendly Scientist then behaved as if the participant had made references to his parenthood. Mr Ohmae was wrong to make such a statement as everything was relative. Aside from the fact that he was questioning the right of someone else to have a point of view, something of a core competency for the author of stacks of books, he was trying to defend the non existent record of the EU against that of the USA. I pointed out that the number of patents held in Europe was actually a cause of shame if they were not being used. In answer he replied that the American risk taking spirit was a myth, the reason, one third of silicon valley companies were started by foreigners. The fact that the US steals the best brains from the whole world and uses them to strengthen its economy is used as an argument against the US system. Talk about twisted. Only start ups by white Americans count I suppose. Finally we are told that there are different types of capitalism and the Anglo Saxon one is unsuitable for Europe. We must improve our own model. So from the horses mouth, the EU is going to do nothing to correct the ever dying level of competitiveness.

No comments: