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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECB Head Draghi calls €uroArea to boost Education (for Innovation,+Competitiveness=>Stability+Growth

ECB Head Draghi calls €uroArea to boost Education (for Innovation,+Competitiveness=>Stability+Growth

Written by ACM
Saturday, 13 October 2012
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In a surprising message sent to "EuroFora" this Saturday from Frankfurt by the Press Service of the European Central Bank, his President, Mario Draghi, exceptionally focused on stressing Education's "Crucial" role in Europe's efforts to overcome the Global Economic and Financial Crisis by boosting Competitiveness and Growth through accelerated Innovations obtained by Scientific and Technological research.


Topically, ECB's Head was speaking at a Video message for the Historic University of Venice "Ca' Foscari"'s inauguration of the New Academic Year 2012/2013 and the "Luca Pacioli" Prize Award, (in the 1st in History University on Business, which teaches today, in addition to Economics, also Languages, Sciences and Humanities), while EU Parliament in Brussels and in Strasbourg has just started to discuss the 2014-2020 "Horizon" EU Research Programm, at the same time that EU Commissioner in charge of Education, Androula Vassiliou, has launched a review of the European University system in relation with other main players in the World, such as China, Russia, USA, Japan, Australia, etc., (See relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport, with EU Commissioner Vassiliou's statements to "EuroFora" at the eve of that event : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/vassilioumodernizeuniversities.html).

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 - "In order to grow, a country has to know how to innovate", ECB's President stressed today, as a matter of general principle in these times. In addition, "Innovation and Human Capital are all the more important the closer a country is to the Technological Frontier". Moreover, " It is vital to promote innovation, particularly in the European economies in which an Ageing population is tending to reduce the size of the working population", he doubly warned.

    
  - Indeed, while "in the 1950s and 1960s, growth meant learning how to use and replicate well-known technology", on the contrary, in the 21st Century,"this is no longer enough. We have to innovate,and to do this we need 2 things: Education and Competition", Mario Draghi explained.

- Because "Education improves the Quality of the Labour force, increasing the efficiency of a fundamental Factor in Production processes. Moreover, having highly-trained humancapital facilitates the Assimilation of technological progress and Innovative technology, increasing the overall Productivity of the economic system", ECB's Head clearly pointed out.


- In fact, " an economy's ability to be innovative depends in large part on its Human Capital. In this sense, improving human capital through High quality Education is Crucial in increasing productivity and, in this way, creating the necessary conditions for robust and sustainable economic development", he added.


- Already, "with the Rapid advances in Technology in recent years and the growing importance of emerging economies in international markets, human capital has played anincreasingly important role in guiding the Transformation of the productive structure found in Advanced countries which, although to varying degrees, have increasedtheir specialisation in activities requiring Higher levels of Knowledge", Draghi observed.

=> Therefore, " it is then clear that it is Vital for our economies that we exploit the skills and Capabilities of our Students in order to improve competitiveness and vigour of thefirms which offer these students work, or which the students themselves will go on to set up", the experienced ECB's President urged.


- Pointing to the Fundamentals, Draghi reminded that, "as economic theory teaches us, Growth is the result of Labour and Capital dynamics and of their Productivity", as he said particularly in a period where Fiscal Consolidation and the fight against Recessionist risks must notoriously advance hand by hand, everywhere in the World, but even more urgently  in Europe :


- "When devising new rules for public finances and financial Stability, it must not be forgotten that such matters are closely tied to issues of Competitiveness and employment. The issue of financial Stability in particular cannot be separated from that of Competitiveness and of economic development", Draghi noted.
That's precisely why Education, particularly in relation to Scientific and technological Innovation, was placed today by ECB's Head right at the heart of the topical  "issue of economic Structural Reform", particularly needed in EU Countries :

- "Within the European Monetary Union, progress needs to be made in 3 areas: budgetary policy, structural reforms and financial market regulation", he recalled :


"(1) With regard to budgetary policies and those aimed at strengthening the flexibility and productivity of the weakest economies, it is vital that there be real multilateral surveillance. The necessary solidarity between economies and countries which share the same monetary unit cannot be disassociated from a deep-rooted sense of joint responsibility. Economic policy decisions have in large part become collective decisions", he underlined.


"(2) With regard to financial markets, centralised authorities must be created in order to limit the excessive risks undertaken on the part of banks and increase the efficiency of common rules. Furthermore, a legal framework for managing and resolving banking crises, which safeguards public finances, needs to be put in place, as is happening in other countries. In this way, the EU Commission’s recent proposal for an EU Council Regulation which establishes a single Banking Supervision  Mechanism for the €uroArea – in which the ECB will play an important role – is a bold and necessary step towards creating a single financial market which ensures financial stability".


- Already, in "Europe, significant Progress has been made, but much still remains to be done, particularly in relation to devising a New Institutional Structure forthe €uroarea", Mario Draghi urged.


 - Because, in order for €urozone to soon become anew able to "create the necessary conditions for long-lasting prosperity for all countries in the area",  "it is clear ..  that we must move towards greater economic Integration" :  "No Union can be based on the assumption that a country can cause “externalities” and economic damage to other member countries by pursuing its own national economic policy priorities", he warned.

Similar conclusions are naturally useful even at a Worldwide level, as Europe's active involvement ina Globalized World extends further :  - "Major steps have been taken in Recent years to strengthen the financial system, both at the European and the Global level", Draghi reminded. "Both the G20 and the Financial Stability Board have taken on greater importance and have proven to constitute – together with the International Monetary Fund – a useful mechanism for brokering agreement on the launching of an agenda for necessary Reforms".

- Since "Today, the Consensus seems to be that if the Crisis that began in 2007 has taught us anything, it is that there was an extraordinary lack of Common Rules at the Global level, in particular in the field of Financial Stability", he added.

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In the recent past, it's during a Press Conference in Brussels' EU Summit (of December 2011, followed also by that of January 2012 : comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot), that former French President Nicolas Sarkozy had initialy hinted that, despite necessary Austerity in order to drastically reduce Public Debt, as scheduled in the New €uroArea Treaty's "Golden Rule"), nevertheless, "Education and Scientific Research" should be considered as main factors of Competitiveness, the development of which stands at the center of EU's Economic and Fiscal policies.

This issue was further clarified, confirmed and developed by German Chancellor Angie Merkel, in reply to a collegue Journalist's Question at a subsequent Brussels' EU Summit's Press Conference, on the occasion of the specific problems to solve on Greece's case, where the experienced former Scientist and Researcher in Physics (as well as wife of a University Professor in Chemistry), whole-heartedly agreed that Education and Scientific Research for innovation should be among the 1st to be even financially supported by EU Commission in order to try to boost Growth in Greece, able to create production, exports and Fiscal Revenues in the foreseable Future, despite necessary overall Economies on most other areas. A point on which, certainly, even the new French President François Hollande, who has explicitly spoken in favor of various measures to strengthen Education etc., wouldn't disagree at all.
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+ By an astonishing coincidence, this ECB's President Draghi's exceptional message was send the same Day that "EuroFora"s Scientific Advisor, Dr. Constantin Marcopoulos, a young PHD holder from Strasbourg University on Physics, (specializd in Materials and NanoTechnology used in Physics applied to Biology, etc., in a context of PluriDisciplinary Research cooperation between several teams of scientists, including in Chemistry, etc), has just started an exploration of China's fast growing Economy precisely from the point of view of Education open to International cooperation in Science, and aims to visit also the world-famous Shanghai International Universities' Ranking system at Minhang district's Jiao Tong University.

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The move timely comes while EU Commission prepares to launch, for the first time on 2013, a European Raking System on Higher Education, which has just started to be systematically reviewed in all EU 27 Member Countries; in comparison with American, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian and other quality standards accross the World, in view of the necessary EU Universities' Modernization, as the competent EU Commissioner on Education, Androula Vasiliou, (former 1st Lady of Cyprus, the current EU rotating President for July - December 2012), had initially revealed to "EuroFora" at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, before the official anouncement, next week in Brussels, of EU's decision to create a High-level Group, chaired by former Irish President Mary McAleese, on Quality Teaching/Learning and Digital technologies, etc., with a 3 Years Mission (See : "EuroFora"s relevant, updated NewsReport : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/vassilioumodernizeuniversities.html )

Meanwhile, Strasbourg's region (Alsace) - which comes 1st in France for the Biggest Proportion of Foreign Students, even on Master/PHD levels, and is particularly strong recently on Natural Sciences - is holding, on Monday and Tuesday, October 15 and 16, a series of Debates and Hearings on Higher Education and Research, for proposals to EU's "Horizon 2020" draft Programme, (named "Assises de l' Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche" 2012, See : http://www.assises-esr.fr/ ) which will be finalized in a Report by World-famous Seismologist, Director of Earth Science Institute, and experienced, former long-time vice-President of Strasbourg's University in charge of Scientific Research, professor Michel Granet.

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Granet had earlier highlighted with Marcopoulos inter alia also the symbolic importance of Strasbourg's 1st three Nobel Prizes  : the famous Albert Schweitzer, Kaestner, and Lehn, to whom was added in 2011 also Hoffman, (whose wife described to "EuroFora" how they were surprized to learn about the Swedish Academy's decision while visiting Shanghai for a lecture), while Westhoff became recently Academician.


The 2012 - 2013 expected EU moves on Research-oriented a.o. Higher Education might also offer interesting new possibilities for International Cooperation (f.ex. starting with EU - China's Shanghai pioneer system) on developing a more comprehensive and widely agreed Global University Ranking system, in the foreseeable Future, able to take into account all relevant factors, and not only some among them, as it's currently the case, provoking a just criticism by several countries whose real potential, reportedly, is not taken into account by the existing system.


This latter fact might also explain why many good quality Chinese High Schools and Lyceums have decided to  channel their students' towards USA's Universities only, even if there is a vivid interest and curiosity about the real situation in Europe. But, as our Scientific Adviser Dr. Marcopoulos' told us, Chinese Scientists prefer to deal also with someone who represents a State, a Federation or any other Public Authority, instead of negociating between Universities only.


But an equivalent, additional move by the EU might risk to add even another Interlocutor for European Universities, among too many already existing in a field where Bureaucratic complications are often criticized both by Scientists, Students and Businessmen, (as even Strasbourg University's on-going consultations among the Academic Community confirm these days). Therefore, the best solution might be rather to "Simplify", precisely by concentrating main European University/Research operations in a less bureaucratic, but more democratic and efficient EU mechanism, able to facilitate also International relations and cooperation with Russia, USA, China, Japan, Australia, and other interesting, emerging hubs of the 21st Century's Knowledge Society worldwide.

***

(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap).

***

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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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