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« FES07 - Ann Mettler: Education must become the first, second and third European priority | Main | FES07 - Singapore's right-side-of-the-brain move »

November 29, 2007


Despite what many people out there in France think of Mr Attali, IMHO he's a visionaire. A real pitty that the Real Politik driven by the second government of President Mitterand had killed his power at the Elysees Palace.

@Bruno : why are you worried by Mr Turk's speech ? It seems a bit disconnected from reality to me : is that your opinion too ?

Hmm, now you got ME worried. I got quite a few positive comments on my 5 min mini-talk titled "Europe - the most creative place in the world", concluding that the EU needs more creativity, entrepreneurship and courage.

However, it is from a critique that I can learn something useful. So what does worry you?

PS. Slides are at http://www.slideshare.net/ziga.turk/europe-the-most-creative-place-in-the-world/

Hello Minister Turk, thank you for your comment -- and congratulations: you must be the first minister of an important country commenting on blogs and sharing slides on slideshare. My concerns came after a couple of your statement (which, I realize, I haven't reflected correctly on the short write-up). In particular when you said that Europe has not been a leading force in globalization (when, in fact, all the examples you gave -- fall of the Berlin Wall, GATT and WTO, telecom and wireless -- have a major European component), thus discounting the strengths of the continent you're about to lead for 6 months, and when you used a toilet brush to illustrate your example of function vs meaning (that slide, by the way, has disappeared from the slideshow: may it be that other people in Andorra told you it wasn't the most convincing illustration of your point?) ;-)
Most important, however, is the statement that "economies are not fighting for energy or for food: they're trying to provide an attractive environment for talent." While I'm in total agreement with you about the competition for talent, I believe that the current geopolitical trends point rather to increased fighting for energy as well as for food and water in the future, not less. I was worried because I had the impression you were "reading" the current challenges in a linear way, we've solved the energy and food problem now let's focus on talent. Reality seems to me to be much more complex and non-linear than that. I'm concerned about the growing dependency of Europe from Russian oil and gas, on top of Middle Eastern oil. I'm concerned about the current foolishness that leads to use agricultural land to fuel cars rather than feed people. I'm concerned about the lack of urgency for the depletion of freshwater. The competition for talent is a factor, but it's not the only factor.
And, by the way, like many other participants in the Andorra conference, I was unnerved by the repeated negative statements (not from you) about Europe vs. the Chinese miracle. While I'm in admiration for many things China has done recently, my personal take -- and now I will sound like a fool, so be it, the future will tell -- is that China will start imploding in about one year or 18 months.
Thank you,

Bruno, good to see some of the points clearified.

1) The talk was not about the .si presidency in general. It was building up a case for bringing some attention to creativity and talents. Innovation, climate change, energy are quite well represented in EU politics.

2) About the praise on China and bashing of Europe. We are discussing Lisbon reforms here. To do reform, one needs to build up a sense of urgency. Indeed Europe is doing well in many areas, but it is not trying very hard on some others. There is not time for laziness and for tapping each other's shoulders.

3) Europe as leading force in globalization? In the three processes I mentioned it was not. Sorry. Not the EU. We were somehow behind the iron curtain in Slovenia and the true fighter to bring the wall down was not the EU. It was the people in the East and the US. Germany an UK to some extent. Mobile phone technology is an example that proves the rule.

4) The toilet brush. It is a Dan Pink citation as well. Provocative. Indeed I was advised not to use it as a politician. Which I am trying not to be ;-)

5) Linearity. On the contrary. We are introducing synergies among the 4 pillars of Lisbon strategy as a policy.

6) I am with you on many foolishnesses in the climate change mitigation.

PS. An elaboration of the presentation, also putting it into a larger context is at

I agree with most of your points, so just a remark on point 2: I am not sure that scaring people with tales of the Chinese menace, which is seen as built on overexploitation of resources and of people, is gonna create a sense of urgency among Europeans, nor telling them "when I go to the Infosys campus at 2 AM I see 1000 people working", suggesting that Europeans ought to do the same. That's not a compelling proposition, neither socially nor economically. As Ann Mettler said in Andorra, we should not be ashamed to be Europeans, to be building a different model, to have long vacations and a good social net and a high quality of life. Of course, I know the current welfare systems are unsustainable over the long term, that Europe needs to recognize its structural weaknesses; this doesn't mean that productivity is the only criteria for the future. Europe needs a renewed vision, a re-launch of a European way of life that's not based on the American model nor on the Chinese.

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