Here we are with another brand new issue of the "European Business Review (EBR)", the first for the year 2021 - a year that brings us to our 25th year of existence! So, here are some of the highlights!
Let’s start with a question you will face once looking at the cover: Kamala Harris for President. BUT when? Compared to the volatile Donald Trump on his right and firebrand Bernie Sanders on his left, Joe Biden seemed like a return to the political centre. But with Harris as the standard bearer, that facade would disappear. The thing is whether the American people are ready for it. In 2028? In 2024? Or before?
With the usual ‘Brussels’ fanfare, European Commission President von der Leyen, European Parliament President Sassoli and Portuguese Prime Minister Costa for the rotating presidency of the European Council signed, March 10, the Joint Declaration of the Conference on the Future of Europe. But as N. Peter Kramer notes in his editorial column, wouldn’t it be wiser to follow the advice of Prof. Timothy Gartner Ash, a well-known and obdurate Europhile, to stop the conference? He wrote: ‘Scrap that Conference on the Future of Europe and let the EU focus on what it can really do for its citizens. Only then it will have a future’. ‘The EU is facing one of the greatest challenges of its life’, he continued, ‘EU leaders should not waste time with a navel-gazing conference. On their doors in Brussels, they would better nail the motto of Nike: just do it’. Hmmm….
Jumping to another interesting sign of our times: Covid and the free movement of people in the Schengen area. To sum up the travel restrictions in Europe, it is clear that nothing has been learned from the spring 2020 experience of breaking up the Schengen area of free movement. In a year, virtually no mechanism has been put in place to create a basis for countries to respect their neighbours and other countries by imposing restrictions together in a harmonised manner. Thus the minimum that we should expect from the EU Council and the European Commission is to prevent the EU area of free movement from completely collapsing.
While many businesses have innovated and adapted to rapidly-changing circumstances - seizing market share in the process - not all have. Nor will all benefit from the expected economic recovery. Businesses must be ready for a disorderly shakeout during this volatile recovery period. And they will need to strengthen and constantly review their risk mitigation strategies to improve their resilience to future shocks. Turn to page 32 for the top business risks in the post Covid world.
Dwindling fish stocks at sea as a result of overfishing are alarming. Floating fish factories the size of an Olympic Stadium compete with small fishermen in poor developing nations who scramble to mop up the last remaining fish. Kees Lankester, an international sustainable seafood counsellor, has written for European Business Review: “A Fish Opera in Three Acts.” The first two acts feature governments and markets, both contributed to slowing down global overfishing but were not able to reverse it. In the third act the finance industry stars, decisive in whether the global fisheries opera will finish in tragedy or with a happy ending… What do you think?
“European industry more competitive if digital transition investment made now” says European Commission executive VP Margrethe Vestager, recalling the European Commission’s proposal for regulatory change through the Digital Marketplace and Digital Services Acts, which set rules of conduct for large ‘gatekeeper’ platforms in order to “create a safer digital space in which users’ fundamental rights are protected”.
On the other hand, as Fabian von Heimburg, co-founder and Managing Director of “Hotnest”, argues, Europe should not fall into the same trap as China in the 19th century, in which an inward-looking political system led to the eventual decline of the Chinese economy. The rise of Asia provides a unique opportunity for Europe to improve itself and create a win-win situation for the world.
Last but not least, in an "Extrait de Culture" report, EBR travels to Madrid and the Museo el Prado with its “Mythological Passions” that offer an art vision of many famous painters despite the pandemic obstacles by promoting the museum’s new exhibitions beyond any "borders". As it is referred, the “el Prado” has been described as the museum of painters – not just of paintings. More specifically, “Mythological Passions” offers an unrepeatable survey of mythological love through the work of the greatest representatives of European painting. In Greek and Roman mythology love, desire and beauty are closely interconnected and rule the lives of the gods and men. After all, we all need a little bit to dream... so, turn to page 48!
Read these, among others, here online.