economic renaissanceEuropean leaders have long dreamed of a “new renaissance” for the continent. The EU itself was originally conceived as a way to lift European countries out of the ruins of war, and to foster economic growth and prosperity. Today, we are far from the poverty and collapse of a genuine “dark age”, but it certainly feels like a rebirth is long overdue.

The digital and high-tech economy in particular holds enormous promise. Europeans can no longer compete with low-income countries in terms of manufacturing, but innovation and new technology can still be a source of growth and jobs. And yet, normal Europeans often lack the “e-skills” needed to take advantage of a rapidly changing economy. Despite stubbornly high unemployment rates of around 10% across the continent, European employers are predicted to struggle to fill up to 850’000 skilled positions in the digital sector by the year 2020.

Want to know more about digital innovation, education, and Europe’s economy? We’ve put together some of the facts and figures into an infographic below (click for a bigger version).

EUN_e-skills_to-check

We had a comment sent in from one of our readers, Marina, arguing that the pressure for change is greater in the digital sector than almost anywhere else: “More than in many other sectors of the economy, the IT industry is constantly under the pressure of change, innovation, growth, emerging technologies and new business models.”

Can Europe cope with the pace of change? Only a small fraction of the largest tech companies in the world (e.g. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) are based in the EU. Why is Europe so slow to innovate in the digital sector compared to other countries, such as the United States? Why aren’t European businesses taking advantage of the internet to build a “digital renaissance”?

To get a response, we spoke to to Victor Negrescu, a Romanian Social Democratic MEP and eSkills for Jobs 2015 Ambassador. What would he say?

Next up, we had a comment from Claudia, who thought the secret to digital innovation was more government investment: “We need… our own Silicon Valley. We could start implementing European technology research centres and build European Universities in every country of the union.”

What would a start-up founder say to Claudia? We spoke to Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke. She is Managing Director and founder of the Women’s Worldwide Web (W4), an online crowdfunding platform aiming to promote girls’ and women’s empowerment worldwide, and one of the 40 Under 40 European Young Leaders. Did she think the secret to digital innovation was big government spending, or cutting bureaucracy and red tape?

How can we create an “economic renaissance” for Europe’s businesses? Is government investment the secret to digital innovation? Or should the bureaucrats just get out of the way and let the innovators make things? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Images Money
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41 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. Vincenzo

    Good morning,
    I think the European economic revival should have as CARDINI the following points;

    * New models buseness Sustainable national aim at a greater equity ‘social and territorial development.
    * New international policy, once a total Globalization, not only single-pole matrix ..
    * less bureaucracy and Sharing national governments to the policies of Strategic Development.
    * Greater Flexibility ‘and more’ disbursement of public money for developing

  2. Adrian Limbidis

    “How can we create an “economic renaissance” for Europe’s businesses?”

    We don’t want an economic renaissance for BUSINESSES but for PEOPLE who suffer under austerity.
    Allocate EU funding for worker coops.
    Check this site for how to do it right – America is already starting to experiment with the concept of “NO BOSS”.

    http://www.democracyatwork.info/splash?splash=1

    All the rest about “jobs” “job creators” are utter bull.

    • Mercurio

      Businesses used to train workers. Now they want them to fit all their requirements without spending a cent.

    • Adrian Limbidis

      And you are surprised?
      Seriously, what are you? Americans?

  3. Ferreira

    Both governements and innovaters – private businesses

    • Srecko Mikulic

      agreee

  4. Joey Stack

    Innovation in every sector would be better and more profitable if we cut red tape, but the EU won’t ever do it, it would mean relinquishing an element of power and control and we can’t have those unelected tossers in Brussels losing power and control over people that didn’t even vote to elect them now, can we?

    • Salvatore

      I couldn’t have put it better myself :)

  5. Luis Prenda Prenda

    Neste momento a U.E, tem grandes questões a resolver os “Refugiados ou migrante” seguido de desemprego….

  6. ironworker

    There you go, writing code that tricks any “TEST MODE” sensors, will make us very rich.

  7. Rui Duarte

    Depends on the concrete government investment; depends on the red tape. «Faire de l’economie ce n’est pas dépenser peu, c’est dépenser bien». Public investment is critical, but not all government spending will do. Spending money on football stadia won’t generate sustained economic growth. The same with the red tape. Derregulating finance, for example, is not a good idea.

  8. James Campbell

    In my view, the EU has been shaped and has always been ruled by administratively minded politicians. The drive for an “ever closer union” of 28 countries requires onerous and far-reaching regulation and this is what the EU has done. The UK constantly bangs on about excessive red tape in the EU but we are making our case to people who don’t know how to do anything else. For me ever closer union and light-touch regulation are incompatible.

  9. Jokera Jokerov

    Europe`s business is working well outside the EU. Just look at Switzerland, Norway, Iceland.

    • Adrian Limbidis

      Switzerland is part of the problem – a tax haven for the RICH.
      Norway has OIL.

      Iceland is the only true good example here.

  10. Albert Gomperts

    Well hardly Jokera. Switzerland survives but has far-reaching agreements with Europe, Norway survives thanks to its oil, but oil prices have plummeted and Iceland is a tiny country with lots of free energy and a large amount of fish.

    • James Campbell

      Iceland’s recovery from its economic crash is well-documented. They had some years of financial pain and restructuring. But they had the economic tools that a nation needs to attempt this. Some of the eurozone economies have managed to recover within ECB constraints, but others have not – and have suffered a lot.

  11. Jürgen Küppers

    I don`t think It can be managed. ONly wars and exploiting other nations might still work ( like in past times when colonies made Europe rich).

  12. Frédéric Robert Georges

    I suggest to start with : ‘How can we create an economic and happy civilisation renaissance for Europe’s businesses and European citizens ?’

  13. Calin Marginean

    End neo-liberal practices such as privatization, sub-contracting and outsourcing and private invenstment in domains such as healthcare. We need market regulation, capital controls, crackdown on corporate tax avoidance and strong trade unions. Worker-managed bussines and industrial democracy should also be taken under consideration. This is how you get that “renaissance”, by putting people first, not bussineses

    • Adrian Limbidis

      Foarte placut sa dai de romani cu capul pe umeri :)
      Bravo!

    • Adrian Limbidis

      No.
      Socialism and let the WORKERS decide and “plan” the economy.

      WE don’t need a bunch of “party” comissioners telling us how to do our jobs.
      WE do it fine.

      All we want is not to have some LEECHES called “shareholders” on your heads.

  14. Beate Dunn

    because it’s leaders i.e. A.Merkel and “left wings” (including ALDE Group-liberals and democrats) : 1)are blind/ignorant regarding reliable statistical data (analysis based on imigrant culture, mentality,religion, adaptability, willingness to and the final results of the integration attempts)

  15. Sten Hubinette

    Just because you can use more technology, does not mean you should, nor adopt it quickly, just because you can.

  16. José Manuel Quintáns Pazos

    Europe’s economy is driven by politicians, through huge funding schemes; of course with no responsibility on the outcome, since they aren’t playing with their money, but with public money.

    They roll out big funding plans with defined bureaucratic paths, and the companies divert efforts to walk through that bureaucratic path to get the money. So they listen to politicians and bureaucrats instead of listening the market.

    Therefore politicians, not the market, are deciding what company survives; that company could not be the more efficient or innovative or risk taker, though.

  17. JoseQ

    Europe’s economy is driven by politicians, through huge funding schemes; of course with no responsibility on the outcome, since they aren’t playing with their money, but with public money.

    They roll out big funding plans with defined bureaucratic paths, and the companies divert efforts to walk through that bureaucratic path to get the money. So they listen to politicians and bureaucrats instead of listening the market.

    Therefore politicians, not the market, are deciding what company survives; that company could not be the more efficient or innovative or risk taker, though.

  18. Stephanie Morgan

    EUROPE is so full of bureaucracy and consensus from everybody. Europe can apply the MAJORITY RULES! You have to convince the MAJORITY and DEBATE about it but not necessarily EVERYONE!

  19. Rui Duarte

    Europe is a swamp of «exceptions» and «priviledges» that can’t be good for business. Besides, european banking, as opposed to american banking, is unsuited for innovation.

  20. Susan Clay

    How about lack of basic infrastructure, like fibre optics to allow people to work from rural and more remote areas?

  21. Srecko Mikulic

    still Europe is the best place to live in the world, we have to continiu..

  22. Srecko Mikulic

    For me EU is the best project in human history, but we all must do more for our childrens…

  23. lise

    ~ a principle goal should be to mesh new tech with old tech simply and sustainably. for example; in a money economy retain as many people-to-people jobs as possible if you want to stop violence and retain civilized society. economies-of-scale automation creates automatons and unhappiness writ large.

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