Thursday, October 12, 2006

Europe Not Competitive Until Generation Shift

Pierre Vigier from the DG Enterprise at the European Commission, responsibility on strategic aspects of innovation policy and on the interface between Research and Industry, notably on technology platforms.

I'm at the TCI conference on competitiveness, cluster initiatives and innovation system development in Lyon. It is the largest in TCI history. Professor Michael Enright, a leading expert on international competitiveness and international strategy, had a brilliant presentation about turning the “Asian threat” to an “Asian possibility”. The problem, he said, was the old traditional notion about protective import taxes and trade barriers would do the trick.

The problem is that these measures are useless. His opinion, and most of the other 430 participants opinion, is that Europe needs a change of attitude to be competitive.

After him spoke Pierre Vigier from the DG Enterprise at the European Commission. He really symbolized the problem. His ten minutes speech turned to almost an hour. And he said nothing. Or rather, he didn’t listen to what Michael Enright said and didn’t pay attention to what the audience interest, or did care anything about that he totally messed up the schedule.

These old politicians are like crocodiles: no ears, all mouth. It is obvious that they must retire or die before Europe can become competitive again.


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