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"Davos" tells the EU, it is behind the US and China

At the EU level the increasing political differences among the 28 countries -presumably soon to be 27 after Brexit- make decisive policy-making highly problematic. When the EU moves, it usually moves slowly.

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Monday, January 28, 2019

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At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DO World, the Dubai-based ports operator, addressing the forum said, that the sluggish decision making in the EU contrasts with the speed of action in China, India and other countries, ‘by the time they make a decision in Brussels, the opportunity has gone somewhere else’.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DO World, the Dubai-based ports operator, addressing the forum said, that the sluggish decision making in the EU contrasts with the speed of action in China, India and other countries, ‘by the time they make a decision in Brussels, the opportunity has gone somewhere else’.

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By N. Peter Kramer

At the EU level the increasing political differences among the 28 countries -presumably soon to be 27 after Brexit- make decisive policy-making highly problematic. When the EU moves, it usually moves slowly. 

Decision-making could be further hampered after the elections for the European Parliament in May.  Anti-EU and EU-critical parties are widely expected to make headway in the EP. While the established centre-right and centre-left groupings are forecast to retain a reduced majority in the parliament, even a substantial minority of EU critical politicians could create a gridlock in ‘Brussels’. 

The EU seems stuck, its economic recovery running out of steam and its politics, so far dominated by the establishment, is shaken by the growing strength of more nationalist thinking politicians in many of the EU memberstates. 

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DO World, the Dubai-based ports operator, addressing the forum said, that the sluggish decision making in the EU contrasts with the speed of action in China, India and other countries, ‘by the time they make a decision in Brussels, the opportunity has gone somewhere else’. 

Dealing with this won’t be easy, and it isn’t just at the macro-economic level that the EU is fighting headwinds. Martina Larkin of WEF was very clear when she told her audience that none of the world’s ten biggest companies and none of the major internet platforms are from the EU. ‘As a result’, she said, ‘investment in Europe in artificial intelligence (AI) that depends on big data sets is small compared with the US and China’. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the forum on Wednesday. She hinted at the threat to Germany’s established manufacturers from the internet platforms. In the era of driverless cars, ownership of the data will be critical, she said. Will it be EU’s car makers or American internet platforms win the battle?

Huge challenges for the EU are laying in the nearby future, that has started already. ‘We have lost a decade’, said Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime-Minister, ‘we have the obligation to win the one ahead’.  

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