(Running notes from the second Future of Europe Summit in Andorra)
The conference is about to start (it's part of an ongoing effort by the government of Andorra to diversify the country's economy and improve its business environment; for a bit of background see the first paragraph in this post from last year). I'll be moderating a couple of sessions. At the opening cocktail yesterday evening, French essayist, entrepreneur and political whisperer Jacques Attali gave a short talk saying that "if you look at the history of Europe, the core strength has always been with cities: Bruges, Venice, Genoa, Amsterdam, London". Even when you look at the empires, the Roman and the British, they both were built around "leader cities", Rome and London, that dominated their known world.
What are the qualities that make cities and small states strong? Attali listed six:
- access to new technology (in the broader sense)
- access to ways of financing the new technology
- openness to ideas and people/multiplicity of cultures
- political elites willing to push things forward
- a feeling/awareness of threat
- and the capacity to participate in networks
(BG: I would add an environment offering good quality of life).
The first session will start in a few minutes. I will liveblog at least part of the conference.