Tag Archives: José Manuel Barroso

Europeans Are Too Depressed To Be Innovative

According to the chairman of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the Europeans are too depressed to be innovative and come up with ideas that can create new jobs and help the economic recovery. That’s a statement I just can’t let pass me by without a few comments…

“Only negative messages from leaders are the wrong message coming out of the crisis. The positive outlook is key for a dynamic society.”

Herman Van Rompuy

If Europe is to remain relevant as an innovative economy, people need to be more positive and entrepreneurial and not let themselves be depressed by the economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures, EU council chairman Herman Van Rompuy said at a conference last week.

Innovation has a lot to do with behaviour, risk taking, motivation and education. You can’t have a society of very creative people only based on financial stimulus,” the Council chairman, and former Belgian premier minister, said Wednesday during a conference organised by Ernst&Young on innovation and the role of government in supporting it.

Adding that: “societal problems in Belgium and elsewhere in the EU mean that people live in a climate of despair and are depressed.”

But in order for Europe to remain at the cutting edge of innovation in areas ranging from energy to agriculture, services and digital technologies, “we need a dynamic and positive society,” based on competition “but also on generosity.”

“But crisis can be very depressive. Only negative messages from leaders are the wrong message coming out of the crisis. The positive outlook is key for a dynamic society,” Van Rompuy stressed.

According EU’s own estimates, the bloc will fall behind Asia and the US by 2025 in terms of innovation, the EUobserver.com writes.

Van Rompuy says he will not let EU leaders hide behind nice pledges, after they agreed earlier this year to give priority to areas such as education, innovation and energy.

“We will not allow this process to become a slow bureaucratic exercise, but we will follow it closely,” he says.

At an upcoming EU summit mid-June, a first assessment of these policies and country-specific recommendations will be made.

“Early 2012, I want to know what member states concretely did in the one year period to boost innovation, even in harsh times of austerity. What did they do to increase the share of innovative products and services in public procurement, to stimulate green growth, to prove the use of EU funding allocated to research and innovation,” Van Rompuy says.

I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt

Actually, I’m not quite sure to begin. So, let’s just take it from the top:

Innovation has a lot to do with behaviour, risk taking, motivation and education.”

Sure. But the main thing is trust, faith and confidence in our economy, and in  the authorities that supervise it.

And that’s exactly what is lacking at the moment, Mr. chairman!

When it comes to creativity based on financial stimulus, it’s totally irrelevant.

If people trusted the stimulus measures, they would use them.

Right now they don’t. No one is sure about how long the measures will be in place, if and when they will change, or perhaps disappear, or if more austerity is going to make it even more difficult to get loans and – in turn – get projects up and running.

That’s the real life!

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

“We need a dynamic and positive society, based on competition and generosity.”

Yeah, that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

However, I raise a big question mark with the EU Council’s recipe for creating such a society, based on the following – all too familiar – statement:

“Only negative messages from leaders are the wrong message coming out of the crisis. The positive outlook is key for a dynamic society.”

This reminds me of some conferences I attended in January 2007. Amongst the speakers were some of the most prominent economist, investors and politicians in world.

Everyone – really, I mean everyone – predicted a so-called soft landing for the global economy, after 7 years of extreme economic growth.

The experts were convinced that we would see a very slow decline, followed by a cautious growth rate over the next 3 to 5 years.

No one even mentioned the possibility of a total meltdown that started just 6 months later with the collapse of 2 Bear Stearns Hedge Funds.

So much for the positive outlooks!

Sometimes I wonder if the EU leaders – and economists – are totally unfamiliar with the term “truth”?

“Competition and generosity” – please, Mr. chairman, can you give an example where the combination of competition and generosity have led to economic success?

Oh, what the heck! Sing along: “We all live in a yellow submarine.”


Van Rompuy says he will not let EU leaders hide behind nice pledges, after they agreed earlier this year to give priority to areas such as education, innovation and energy.

“Early 2012, I want to know what member states concretely did in the one year period to boost innovation, even in harsh times of austerity. What did they do to increase the share of innovative products and services in public procurement, to stimulate green growth, to prove the use of EU funding allocated to research and innovation.”

Well, I can assure both Mr. Van Rompuy and everyone else, I’ll be waiting too…

Meanwhile, here’s a little bit of creativity for you:

Related by the Econotwist’s:


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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, National Economic Politics

EU-US Summit:The Official Statements

Here are the official statements following Saturday’s top meeting in Lisbon between the leaders of the European Union and the US leaders president Barack Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton. In addition to president Obama, president of the EU Council Herman Van Rompuy and EU president Jose Manuel Barosso made their “preliminary remarks”.

“As regards the EU’s own economic situation, I underline here, as I did earlier to President Obama, that the fundamentals of our economy are sound.”

Herman Van Rompuy


Obama, Barosso and Van Rompuy – perhaps the three most influential people in the world right now. The president of the EU council started the press briefing by stating the “fundamentals” of the European economy is “sound”. Well, here are the reassuring remarks by the world leaders. However, note that the statements are all labeled “preliminary”.


First: the so.called “preliminary remarks” by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council following the EU-US Summit 2010 in Lisbon, Saturday afternoon.

Besides from the uplifting statement about the fundamentals of the European economy, Mr. Van Rompuy informed about the following issue:

Cyber security – as also stated earlier at the NATO summit – is a threat with an immense impact. EU-US cooperation in this field can contribute to protect ourselves against it. I am therefore happy to announce that the EU and the US will enhance their cooperation, by creating a EU-US Working Group on Cyber security. The Working Group will report progress within a year.”
“Furthermore, speedy compromise on a comprehensive EU-US data protection agreement will significantly facilitate all negotiations between the EU and US on Passenger Name Records, cyber security, fight against terrorism and transnational organised crime.”

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Here’s a transcript of Mr. Van Rompuy’s speech.

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Then, the “preliminary remarks” by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission following the EU-US Summit:

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And last, but not least,  Barack Obama, President of the United States. Here’s Mr. Obama’s “preliminary remarks”:

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(Source: The Council of The European Union)

Just gotta love the expression “preliminary remarks” – what it really means is that if what they’re saying turns out to be wrong, they can retract the statements as they’re only preliminary. On the other hand; if they get it right, they can hold up the transcripts and say: “See, I told you so!”

I think it’s even better than the recent change in banking terminology – from “too-big-to-fail” to “systemically important”.


Related by The Swapper:

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Philosophy

EU-US Summit; November 20. Now In Session

The EU-US Summit taking place on 20 November in Lisbon, Portugal. This is the first EU-US summit since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.

The EU will be represented by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, assisted by High Representative Catherine Ashton.

The United States will be represented by President Barack Obama assisted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On top of the agenda is the signing of a new NATO agreement.

Here’s the first live pictures from the Summit, provided by the EU Council:

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Philosophy