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FT.com / Europe - Rebel seeks innovators to shake up Europe
The European Union has wasted too much time squabbling over how to share power among its member states, when it should have been working to recoup economic and political influence in the world, says Felipe González, the former Spanish prime minister.

The EU asked Mr González last month to chair a committee that will ponder the future of Europe. The former premier, who took Spain into the EU in 1986, was surprised at his nomination."I have been excessively critical over the direction the EU has taken since at least the fall of the Berlin Wall," he said.

But now he has accepted the job, he intends to speak "with freedom and clarity". Mr González wants his report, which will be delivered in 2010, to be "a wake-up call" for a continent that is rapidly losing economic and geopolitical power.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 01:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh happy day, another neo-liberal propaganda exercise:

"The Lisbon agenda identified the symptoms of Europe's malaise - lower growth, loss of competitiveness, widening technology gap - but misdiagnosed the disease," Mr González said.

"Europe suffers from an extraordinary corporate rigidity," he said. "And I am not only talking about the power of trade unions and labour rights. There is also enormous rigidity on the corporate side. You only have to compare the rankings of US and European companies now and 30 years ago. Most of the top US companies today were not around in the 1980s. There is a lot of mobility: it is a system that rewards risk, initiative and efficiency and allows companies to succeed as well as to fail.

"In Europe, there have been hardly any changes in the corporate rankings. Business, labour and political elites protect each other. We stifle innovation. That is why Europe has failed to produce a Bill Gates. It is a cultural problem." Mr González said.


by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 01:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bill Gates, of course, never having stifled innovation.

<silent scream>

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 03:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You only have to compare the rankings of US and European companies now and 30 years ago. Most of the top US companies today were not around in the 1980s.

Surely this has nothing to do with the total renunciation to applying antitrust laws in the US. And anyway, I won't even bother checking that Exxon, GE, Ford, GM, Morgan Stanley... were present then.

Which is not to say that big companies aren't protected in Europe, by neo-liberal politicians more often than not though.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 04:16:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

And I am not only talking about the power of trade unions and labour rights. There is also enormous rigidity on the corporate side.

This is off-tune. Could he be playing some jiu-jistu on the neolibs?


In Europe, there have been hardly any changes in the corporate rankings.

He's joking, right?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 05:29:08 AM EST
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Do you know where one can find the rankings?

Actually, I have a question someone with access to financial databases might be able to answers.

Has the composition of the EuroStoxx 50 index changed since its inception?

How about the composition of the Euronext 100?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 05:36:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it changed many times. But input/output is mostly in the low-ranks, low-weights.
High weights are energy and banking, and weights change, not much rankings. Except for merger-acquisitions-takeovers. Total has been almost 15% of CAC40 since it took over Elf.

Pierre
by Pierre on Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 05:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not totally up to speed on Gonzalez, but I have a feeling that is the fool times twisted presentation, than his real meaning.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Wed Jan 16th, 2008 at 06:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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