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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

Parašė ACM
Saturday, October 13, 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.

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(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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Former "Green-Red" German government's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's job at the controversial Turkish pipeline "Nabucco" was denounced as "not proper", "very bad", and "incompatible with Democracy", by the new President of EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group, German Lothar Bisky, replying to an "EuroFora" question.

For once, criticism of Joschka Fischer's doings with Turkey affecting Europe, didn't come only from the Center-Right of the political spectrum, but even from his Left side : The experienced Bisky, who has been chairing all over 1993-2009 the PDS - Die Linke party :  

- "Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer got involved in dealings with oil-gaz business in a foreign country, Turkey, and its controversial Nabucco pipeline. This raises questions about Democracy, also because of the well known problems of Human Rights violations in that country. Do you thing that this might be abused in order to cover up and close EU's eyes on Human Rights violations ?", "EuroFora" asked Bisky.

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- "Nabucco pipeline is (only) at the planning stage". And "there are some difficulties",  he observed from the start. But "'I don't want to get into the details of Nabucco pipeline, because I don't think that there is any point for it at the moment".
 
At any case,  "we  (EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group) strongly believe that Politicians should not get involved in the Energy Business, and all these commercial transactions", President Bisky declared on the Joschka Fiischer's affair.

- "We feel that it's something that shouldn't be done. It's not proper !"           

- "We don't think that it's compatible with Democracy either, and it gets politics into a very Bad track", Bisky went on to denounce.
                                                                                                                                                                        
- "EuroLeft  and "Die Linke" always spoke against that, saying that politicians should not get directly into the arms of private enterprises"

- "It is pretty bad if a former Minister takes a job f.ex. in a major Energy producer. So, it's an issue if a Minister who may have seen excellent opportunities, subsequently gets personally grasp of them, in very serious parts of the economy, once he has given up his (Government) job."

- "It doesn't really make politics in general look any better'", Bisky concluded.

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Earlier, this week in Strasbourg, other Journalists had also raised critical questions on former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's involvement in the conroversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline to the President of his own EuroParty : Kohn-Bendit of the "Greens", who, contrary to Bisky, tried to find excuses for Fischer, while criticizing his long-time partner, Schroeder for having done a similar move :

- "Shroeder was chancellor", and he "negociated" with "Russians", who gave him a job only "3 Months" after he resigned from the Government. While "Joschka Fischer", on the contrary, got a job with the controversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline only "4 Years after" he left the Government. "He didn't negociate Nabucco", so I have "no objection", Kohn Bendit claimed.

But, many Facts indicate the contrary :

Joschka Fischer was Foreign Minister in Germany from 1999 up to 2005 : I.e. from the year that EU took the controversial decision to give Turkey a "Candidate" status, until he year it started controversial "accession negotiations, (later declared "open-ended" after Sarkozy-Merkel's arrival from 2005-2007).

During that period was prepared the controversial so-called "Annan" Plan (in fact, drafted by others and attributed afterwards to the former UN SG) on Cyprus, which failed after a Popular Referendum said "No" on 2004 with a large Majoriy of 3/4 : 75%. Mainly because it was criticized for making too much concessions to the Turkish side :  Particularly by restricting Greek Cypriot Refugees' Human Right to return to their ancestral Land and/or get restitution of their Familiy Homes and private properties, usurpated by Ankara's Army since the 1974 militay invasion and continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And by weakening the Central Government, leaving to 2 "constituent States" so much powers and separate interests that more conflicts appeared inevitable, provoking the danger of a break-down in the foreseable future, with more crisis, troubles, perhaps bloodshed, etc., instead of creating an harmoniously integrated, really one federal State.

The controversial Plan was finalized on March-April 2004 at Burgenstock (Switzerland), curiously in the presence of an Envoy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, then governed by Joschka Fischer, but in the absence of a French and not even an European Union's Envoy, contrary to what was usually practiced on similar occasions in Switzerland (fex. in 1997 at Montreux, in 2000 at Geneva, etc).

Turkey notoriously exploited the failure of the "Annan" Plan in order to convince the EU to decide to start accession Negotiations on December 2004. This provoked an unprecedented series of Institutional Crisis inside the EU, shortly afterwards, when French and Dutch People rejected, 2 popular EuroReferenda by a majority "'No" vote to the EU Constitutional Treaty on 2005, aggraveted in 2004 a Majority Abstention to EU Elections, etc., followed by the recent Irish "No", etc.

"Nabucco" Gas pipeline was notoriously planned since ..2002. It follows an even earlier idea, for an Oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhun, which started to be prepared on 1999-2001 and was meanwhile recently completed.  

So, facts indicate that what is now at stake is based on decisions made during Joschka Fischer's term as former Foreign Minister, closely interested in Turkey's controversial EU-bid.

To the point that he now practically ...switched jobs with a poliician from Turkey, (the State which pays today openly Joschka Fischer), Mr. Ozdemir, who came earlier in Germany, got fast the nationality, and became EiuroMP in a few years, continuing now as head of the "Greens" in Germany, i.e. in Joschka's former job !...

Such astonishing facts risk, unfotunately, to give to German politician Lothar Bisky's criticism of  representative Democracy a topical meaning :

 - "We (EuroLeft Group) think that what is really at stake is Democracy. It's not only about Gas Pipelines or Energy sources", President Lothar Bisky went on to add in his reply to "EuroFora"'s question on Joscka Fischer's personal interests in the controversial Turkish "Nabuco" pipeline.

Such facts, "make People get more distance from Politics. ...People had had enough, and they are fed up !".

- "That's why we (EuroParliament's "EuroLeft" Group) want to strengthen Direct Democracy in Europe. Citizens should be involved in the (EU) Decision-making. In the end of the day, it's not going to help anyone if Politicians are always taking decisions, without involving Citizens. We want to give a voice to the People of Europe. They've got to have their say in the decisions that are taken. That's one of our absolutely fixed and steadfast views. We want more Direct Democracy in Europe. That's how it can become more effective and stronger", he concluded.

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