From the Lisbon Strategy to Europe 2020

Kamil Augustyniak

The Lisbon Strategy represented an ambitious ten-year reform program which searched for answers to global challenges. These were the advancement of the US and Japan in a ‘new’ knowledge based economy and their domination in the field of information and communication technology. The new program, Europe 2020 is more about than just overcoming the crisis from which economies are now gradually recovering. It is also about addressing the drawbacks of our growth model and creating the conditions for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The Lisbon Strategy – an ambitious program with unsuccessful results

March 2000, Lisbon: the European Council is setting out a new plan for next ten years of rapid and comprehensive economy development for the European Union that is so-called The Lisbon Strategy. Its aim is to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion through the formulation of policy initiatives that were to be implemented by all Member States.

However, despite achievements in some areas, the original Lisbon Strategy gradually developed into an overly complex agenda with multiple goals, actions and unclear division of responsibilities, while the results were weaker than expected. Implemented reforms helpedto raise the euro zone potential GDP growth rate by 0.2%. Noticeable growth in employment was a result of creation of nearly 6.5 million new jobs. In the field of public finances, average EU budget deficits have been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2005 to 1.1% in 2007. However, most of these impressive results have been destroyed by the financial crisis which hit in 2008 and 2009 pushing Europe to the worst situation since the 1930s. In 2009 alone in the EU, GDP fell by 4%. In the period between March 2008 and December 2009,7 million people lost their jobs while industrial production fell by about 20%. An ordinary citizen can wonder how it was possible with such fundamental improvement program prepared by economists and specialists.

Retrospectively, the failure of this program must be accepted. Most of the objectives stated in Lisbon did not come into practice because the strategy was not focused enough on critical elements which played a key role in the origin of the financial crisis. Final report concluded that the gap between the best and worst performing countries is wider in 2010 than it was in 2000. Weak organization caused more problems than there were at the beginning. The soft law nature of the Lisbon reforms were relatively easy to carry out in countries where they are not crucial, while their implementation is difficult in countries where they are indispensable.

Official comments on failure:

http://www.voxeu.org/article/failure-lisbon-strategy
http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2010/01/do_europeans_want_dynamic_economy

Europe 2020 – new strength for an old agenda

2020

The need for a post-2010 Lisbon strategy was officially expressed for the first time at the European Council summit held in March 2008. It stated that Europe 2020 should focus on key policy areas where collaboration between the EU and Member States could bring the best results. The thematic priorities of the new strategy are: emphasized need for policy and governance synchronization as a key factor in making a successful exit from the financial crisis, creating value by basing growth on knowledge, empowering people in inclusive societies and creating a competitive, connected and greener economy. Five headline targets have been set for the EU to achieve them by the end of 2020. The objectives of the strategy are also supported by seven ‘flagship initiatives’ providing a framework through which the EU and national authorities mutually reinforce their efforts in areas supporting the Europe 2020 priorities. One of these 7flagship initiatives is program Innovation Union that recently organized European Innovation Convention 2014 that our editorial board had chance to participate in and report for you. Other areas that are significant to improve for the better future in Europe are:

  • deepening single market – simplifying company law, allowing entrepreneurs to restart after failed businesses. What is more, individual consumers should be able to buy goods and services from other EU countries with greater ease and confidence, in particular on-line.

  • Investing in growth – a regulatory environment that ensures effective, secure financial markets, innovative instruments to finance the necessary investment – including public-private partnerships.

  • External policy instruments –external aspects of various internal policies (energy, transport, agriculture, R&D), trade and international macroeconomic policy coordination, assertive and effectiveparticipation in international fora such as the G20, to shape the future global economic order.

The Europe 2020 strategy is implemented and monitored in the context of the European Semester, the yearly cycle of coordination of economic and budgetary policies. It seems to be a positive change to cover and improve, at first place, the key factors that will influence other sectors in near future. 

See also:

Innovations: a lesson from South Africa

Adrianna Brzozowska and Emil Wojtaluk talk with South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom at the European Innovation Convention 2014.

Emil Wojtaluk: What are the ways of encouraging young people to be more active and what do you think of EU policies for entrepreneurs? 

Derek Hanekom: Let me start from the second part of the question. I can’t really comment on European policy but I do know that one of their priorities is to encourage young entrepreneurs to come forward. I wouldn’t be able to speak with authority on what their instruments are and how they are trying to encourage it. I speak for my own country.

Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Science and Technology ©EC/CE

Derek Hanekom, South African Minister of Science and Technology ©EC/CE

The short answer is that we are not doing enough in our own country, we need to do more but I’ll tell you some of the things that we’re starting to do. Firstly, doing it often with private sector is to create opportunity for good ideas to be brought to the table. So we have our big electricity supplier for example, we work with them and organize an annual event, and it’s an expanding annual event where schools across the country came with the school projects. They are giving awards in the variety of categories and they are able to show case of their project in Johannesburg but it’s all done regionally first. I must say it’s quite a lengthy process but at the end of the day interested people see their projects. So you may have a group of kids that designed energy efficient home or designed a solution to having affordable clean water in your house, better filtration unit or better waste management. They come up with the most amazing ideas!

What we can do institutionally and should be doing more of, is to create opportunities not to set schools but beyond schools, where you want to start a very developing entrepreneurship that people have the central point to take the ideas too. Those ideas, no matter crazy they might seem are being observed. If they are really nothing special, people will get back to them and say “this is why we think your idea is not gonna make it”- because not all ideas are good ideas. The principle of people generating ideas – that’s a good thing, doesn’t matter what. Amongst them, when you see some potential in an idea, we have state institution which we have recently put in place that will give the support that it needs to develop its next stage. It’s a fairly high risk. You get to the next stage where you might approach a venture capital provider, which could be a state-run institution or private sector venture capital provider. That’s very first stage when you are not likely to get anyone because the risk is very high – so we have an institution in South Africa called Technology Innovation Agency. It gets some annual budget, we’ve accepted that it goes in the early stage of innovation and is prepared to face risk. We are not going to take actions against entrepreneurs because there is a high failure of it. Because we know that out of 20 presented ideas 19 can go nowhere, but one can be the really winning idea.

Adrianna Brzozowska: So how this agency(Technology Innovation Agency) distinguish good project from other bad projects?

DH: At the end of the day a judgment should be made. People knowledgeable in the particular area have to make the judgment. The product may have to be tested so we do have a kind of a bureau of standards if it reaches that stage. The idea must contain some kind of scientific merit, if it’s something that is being tried and tested and there is kind of a doubt – all I’m trying to do is to put my name on it and then I say “you can do it but you have to do it on your own”. Because there is nothing novel and so on. You can’t put state money into anything and everything, you cannot. If there is genuinely different, more energy efficient housing design, for as an example. Or there is genuinely interesting idea on the development of a new application. There have to be some judgment and some research done. In fact there’s a surplus of such applications anyway. But the people looking at it will have to say “it’s very interesting”, we are very satisfied that there is a kind of market niche. It can give commuters an information in Cape Town when the next bus is going to arrive, after research we can find that there is no such application in that city. Then we say “excellent, we think that you have a good opportunity, we can fund you to take it to the next stage”.

EW: The last question is about innovation because this convention is about innovations and innovators. So what is your own definition of innovation, how could you describe it?

DH: I would agree with somebody because I keep reading definitions of innovation but I would say – the starting point is true but it goes beyond. Critical feature for innovation is underlying information and knowledge. But it’s taking existing knowledge and attaching to it creative thinking and creative ideas which will result in new, novel, useful product or service. I would like to go bit beyond that to say – innovation could be simply smarter ways of addressing problems, better ways of doing things, that’s innovation as well.

EW: Thank you very much.

DH: Thank you and good bye.

Innovation Convention 2014 #Part II

The continuation of our coverage from Innovation Convention 2014. Here we are releasing the summaries of another three fascinating sessions.

Anita Weprzędz

Innovation Cafe: Global challenges, global collaboration”

Importance of collaboration

Moderated by Vivienne Parry the session focused on challenges which we meet through global collaboration. Fistly she asked John Pierre Bourguignon President of Research Council in Europewhy collaboration is so important. His statement was simple, people has to be in contact to bring some new light. Some difference we could notice at the governmental level where collaboration was more official. Europe focused on responsibilities and its own agenda 2020 about science and innovation. Globally, United Nations set up scientist council. However collaboration meet some challenges. We have to monitor situation, to be quick in our reactions. Example showed by Professor Jean- Pierre Bourguignon was about illnesses: we have to be aware to deal with them because they might cause epidemy. So that, how much we are quick in particular situation might have global impact.

Second speaker was Derek Hanekom who is Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa. He described completely innovative idea of radio astronomy. This project is hosted in South Africa and have eight partner countries. Three thousand dyshes are still searching for some signals. They were proud because they noted some signals from the Universe and even they do not understand them they try to find some key. Now the plan is about establishing international consortium.

Dr Lino Baranao from Argentina talked about collaboration in South America. Three main patterns at this continent are: food, agriculture and nanotechnology. In his opinion the newest technologies need to be distributed properly then everything will go well.

Other issue was described by Jennie Yeung. She started with talking about some barriers. In her point of view the biggest one is system of education which determines another one like for example language problems. Copying and memorising are not good way of learning, young people should be creative and have to learn the same things. Cultural differentation in education provoke some unfairness between young people from different cultural societies. But culture is important component and we have to make good reserch on culture and life styles because our life style reflects demand for products.

Ivonna Orlova, Jennie Yeung and Anita Weprzędz

Ivonna Orlova, Jennie Yeung and Anita Weprzędz

Last voice comes from United States. Eddie Berenice Johnson, Senator from the state of Texas, focused on collaboration from a little bit another side. Like she said, world is smaller today, a now we are able to do more because of that. Especially young could use this opportunity to collaborate and this is fascinating.

Innovation meets challenges every day. How much do we have to pay to be „in”?

After responses for the questions Vivienne asked our speakers about barriers in collaboration. Money, sharing new ideas (technology gives us more opportunities), language barriers (especially problem with English proficiency), mobility problems (visas issue) were mentioned.

But the biggest one is how to engage young people, how interest them in innovation? Obvious is that we need to stimulate kids to go to science. Changing way of education may draw youngsters to science – noticed by our speakers were online education or digitalizing educational fields. First of all we need to develop our relations then science. Short deadlines are good but time has to be long enough to develop something. Other goal is mutual understanding – collaboration expose us to other cultures. And we do not need to use magic wand to solve problems but we have to collaborate as fast and as good as we can.

Ivonna Orlova

What if…games were educational? …business goes social?”

Imagine, what if games were educational, but the business will be built online? Europens Blog is going to depict the short insight of this new world for you.

Can you imagine that you can play games and study at the same time? Peter Vesterbacka, the Chief Marketing Officer and Mighty Eagle of Rovio Entertainment, the creator of Angry Birds franchise and over 50 other games, claims that it is more than possible. The games that Peter have created are „full curriculum” – it has not only digital but also physical environment for learning things like math, biology , chemistry or languages. And these games really work in real life. Guess why boys speak better English in Finland than girls? It is because boys have fun playing games. According to Peter, “learning should become a healthy addiction”. “We need to learn how to learn” added Peter, and described how in his country the process of this alternative learning is already going on. Peter’s company works with the representatives from education sphere, for instance with –Helsinki University where teachers are instructed how to use these innovational methods in their teaching process. The popularity of Angry Birds educational games reach far over the borders of Finland and even Europe. Now this brand is going to be promoted in Asia – in such countries as China and South Korea. Considernig the question, what is the secret formula that helps his company to reach such a popularity, for Peter Vesterbacka the answer is simple: “My team just know how to walk on water!”

To overcome the surprise and confusion of everyone, Peter just added, that first of all they work with children who do not think over how to do things, children just do things, so walking on water for them is more than real. Why not for all of us? Even if it is in our imagination, we can still do it. And second – “most off the year in Finland the water is frozen!” So you can really walk on water in there! The idea is simple – if you look at things from different perspective –even the walking on water became quite a feasible task.

Thanks to innovations, in fact more and more things became real, for example – the innovative cloud – training program based online that teaches business online. According to Gabi Zedlmayer, Vice President and Chief Progress Officer of HP Corporate Affairs, the problem of unemployed young people all over the world can be easily changed thanks to HP’s Living Progress Initiative. The cloud-based program and HP’s business strategy is a great opportunity for all those who have a good ideas, but do not know how to realize them in real life. Just by opening the web-page, that is for free and in seven different languages, one can understand how to write a business plan or how to set up their own web-site and market themselves. Gabi Zedlmayer assures that it works well in practice, there are several examples already in Africa, China, United Kingdom, Belgium and other country of people who started their own business thanks to this program. That’s why innovation has to be with purpose and it “has to be disruptive” otherwise it will never bring a positive changes into our life. To solve the big global problems we need to become social, in individual and administrative level. As Gabi Zedlmayer said, “We all have to go social. But not just businesses, all of us have the role to play, as an employees of the company- collectively, but as an individuals. There is so much everybody can do.”

According to Gabi, one does not need to start to solve global problems all around the world, one just needs to be active and start some changes in their own neighborhood. What means that the future of our welfare is in our own hands, we just need to be active and take responsibility, but such a great innovative programs will help to put these changes in to practice.

Adrianna Brzozowska

Are we alone in the Universe? Can humans become inter-planetary?”

I had the opportunity to take part in a panel that covers my interest. I simply adore documentaries about space and everything connected to it including strange forms of life that possibly live somewhere in the sky. In this discussion we also had the opportunity to think about a new place for humans and how we will look for habitable planets.

Dr. Seth Shostak

Dr. Shostak started his speech saying that we live in special times. Well, as he said, at the beginning of the every century people says so, but he means that we are going to finally understand the biology. That soon we will have the opportunity to change characteristics of an unborn child. The second reason why these are special times is that we are going to get off our planet – in serious way. Because we have limited resources and we surely will have to find a habitable planet. Dr. Shostack also claimed that we are going to find a life in the space. But when talking about life, we obviously should not think about green little aliens. We should look for any forms of life nearby, because in our Solar System there are some worlds which might have biology. The other way to find it, is to search for any evidence of biogenic gases in the atmospheres, that surrounds planets. We can build giant telescopes and search the space for it. The last way to find any life in space is to pick up some signals from space.

Dr Suzanne Aigrain

Twenty years ago we did not know about any other planets except those in Solar System. Currently we know about several thousand other planets. And now astronomers are trying to find habitable planets outside using starlight. What does it mean ‘habitable planet’? It is roughly Earth size, with temperature suitable for humans and water. These are not only conditions, but also other, in which people could survive. So habitable planet is related to human-centered thoughts. But actually there might be a life in the space, where a planet has completely different conditions that maintains different forms of life.

Dr Mae Jemison

Nowadays we forget about space innovation, People forget that space innovations helps us in daily life. For example we use Global Positioning System almost everyday in our cell-phones, and we do not even think about those satellites above us. So we should start to think about innovation education, because we have the opportunity to create future.

Dr Jemison works on a ‚100 Year Starship’ project, which aim is to make sure that there is a capability of sending humans to another star system if people decide so. Making a decision of sending a group of people to another planet, turns our thoughts to our behaviour that we have to learn about more. We do not know what kind of human behaviour we will have to face. But for now, we are not actually able to move to another planet. Why? Our lives are too short to survive such long journey.

Seth Shostak – Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Lecturer at Stanford, for six years was a Distinguished Speaker for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was a Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics’ SETI Permanent Committee.

Other speakers were:

Suzanne Aigrain – Lecturer of Astrophysics at Oxford.

Mae Jemison – Former NASA astronaut, leads 100 Year Starship. Founder and President of The Jemison Group and BioSentient. She is national advocate for Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense.

***

As a team we are sincerely thankful for the received invitation from the European Commission and the hospitality of workers preparing this special event.

Incredible Young Scientists

Emil Wojtaluk talks with the winners of European Union Contest for Young Scientists 2013 (EUCYS): Sophie Healy-Thow, Emer Hickey and Ciara Judge. They were awarded for using natural bacteria to speed up the germination and subsequent growth of cereal crops.

wyw

Emil Wojtaluk: How did it start that you won this award?

Emer Hickey: We started when we entered a national competition which is called BT Young Scientists. So there are three of us: Sophie, Ciara and myself. We just wanted to go to the competition which is held in Dublin and what we did we used a natural occurring bacteria called Rhizobium and we applied it to wheat seeds, and we made them germinate faster. Then we won a national competition and we got the opportunity to represent Ireland in the European Union contest. Because of that we did a lot of work in the summer to improve the project for that…and you know, we went there and we won first place.

EW: It’s very specific area of work and takes a lot of effort. So who helped you to reach the goal? Because you need some funding, you need some scholarships, how does it work?

EH: The competition is well known in Ireland so we went to the University that is near of us and we asked them to show us how to grow bacteria, and how to work with bacteria so they showed us that. Then our science teacher helped us, he told us about the competition and then we just did it ourselves.

EW: And no help from non-governmental organizations or something like this?

Ciara Judge: We did get sponsorship of equipment from certain companies within Ireland because the competition(EUCYS) has a very good reputation. So when they found out we are doing a project for this competition, they were very happy to sponsor us. That was more material support so for example we were allowed to use the machines of one pharmaceutical company and we also got some lab equipment from another.

EW: Thank you very much and wish you a good luck.

Girls: Thank you!  

Innovation Convention 2014 #Part I

Opening in Golden Hall

Opening in Golden Hall

The second Innovation Convention organised by the European Commission took place in Brussels on 10th and 11th of March 2014 (previous edition was organised in December 2011). This well prepared event happening in such an attractive venue as Square- Brussels Meeting Centre had a lot to offer. Participants from the world of business, EU institutions and media could attend thematically diverse sessions. First day was the most intense and lasted from around 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. including networking lunch and coffee break (perfect time for rest and socializing). Second day of the Convention ended earlier around 1 p.m. with Pa-li-Tchi UV Light show. It was like a first moderator promised, we could certainly „feel the pulse of innovation”. Many displays of different firms were available to see.

SQUARE- Brusselss Meeting Centre

SQUARE- Brussels Meeting Centre

At the begining all guests were entertained by two physicists who performed scientific show „The Physikanten”. Mr. Marcus and German „Professor Iberman” did their best to welcome and wake up everybody. For this special occasion they prepared stage trick in which they engaged some people from the audience. The task was thought to conduct electricity through their bodies to play music. After the fun opening, the very much awaited speaker showed up, namely President of European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. He was accompanied by the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte who later also gave a speech about innovations present in his country. President Barroso once said before that „innovation is not only about turning new ideas in new products and new services. It is above about improving the quality of life. I would like Europe to be leading innovation efforts globally” This time he also confirmed big, European aspirations in the field of science by saying: “the future of Europe is science, the future of Europe is innovation”. He stressed one crucial point: „Innovation needs to be translated into regular life”.

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Jose Manuel Barroso

Both politicians stayed to see the presentation of the European Women Innovators Award. Three winners were from Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. Every one of them succeded in business connected to medicine.

During breaks in the whole event we had an opportunity to become more affiliated with new technological ideas, like for example Google Glass (Google browser built in glasses) or car powered by hydrogen.

Networking area

Networking area

Of course our team collected for you some interesting information from different meetings we were lucky to participate in. In summary you can read about thoughts that faboulous speakers shared during Innovation Convention 2014.

Ewa Krakowska

Lessons from Generation Z- What do young innovators (18 and under) think?”:

From a number of sessions I took part during two- day event this one made the biggest impression on me. I was delighted to watch and listen to those very young and smart people. Surprising for me was also the fact that they had so much to say not only about their accomplishments and science itself but also about education policy in their home countries. In the discussion took part EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Maire Geoghegan- Quinn.

The representatives of Generation Z were: Jack Andraka (the USA), Jordan Casey (Ireland), Alberto Elias (Spain), Elif Bilgin (Turkey), Sophie Healy-Thow, Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey (all from Ireland).

Jack Andraka became famous after medical breakthrough that he had made. This high school student at the age of 15 created a cancer sensor, specifically it detects pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer. The revolutionary aspect of this is that this detector can confirm the existence of cancerous changes in 5 minutes at the cost of 3 cents. For this achievement he was named a Champion of Change by president Obama. During the meeting the young man recalled obstacles that he had to overcome in order to finalise the project (he was turned down many times by professional scientists).

Elif Bilgin gained the attention of the world because of her innovative project “Going Bananas! Using banana Peels in the Production of Bioplastic as a Replacement of Traditional Petroleum Based Plastic”. She won Google Science Fair 2013 “science in Action Award. Her work on bioplastic material lasted 2 years and involved many experimentations that she conducted in her parents’ kitchen table.

Jordan Casey, the youngest speaker (13) shocked many people from the audience with both his achievements and modesty. He is self taught programmer and businessman who already owns 2 companies: casey Games and TeachWare. Jordan assured us that he can find balance between school and business. In the future programmer wants to move to London and keep what he is doing.

Alberto Elias, also programmer is engaged in Web and Android development. He created different Android apps. 18 year old is an advisor to Vice- President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes. Alberto encouraged youngsters to work and find passion as soon as possible and assured: “You do not need to wait till 40 to be happy”.

Alberto Elias

Alberto Elias

Three girls: Sophie Healy-Thow, Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey worked together on the project titled: “A statistical Investigation of the Effects of Diazotropth Bacteria on Plant Germination”. Their motivation was to formulate a concept which would be helpful in the fight with food crisis. Obtained findings allowed them to join the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in September 2013. They were awarded First Place. This became the opportunity to share the discovery in prominent places like Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Girls pointed out very strongly that it would not be possible without much of help from a science teacher in their school.

After sharing stories of their fields of activity young geniuses answered questions from the audience as well as those sent via Twitter. The Commissioner, sitting among them started discussion about education system, mainly its drawbacks. Elif advised specialisation in very young age. Alberto mentioned too big homework load, which may prevent exploring passions. Jordan sees that IT teachers are poorly prepared to work with pupils. Ciara concluded that potential in a student must be recognized.

As Commissioner said, in hands of such brilliant people our future is safe. Let’s hope there are more such unique minds in Europe to discover and promote.

Emil Wojtaluk

„Sports Innovation”:

From my perspective “Sports innovation” session was very interesting, especially during the second part when May El Khalil had the opportunity to share her experiences.

May El Khalil(Lebanon) Founder and President of Beirut Marathon Association. Thanks to her, the first international Marathon took place in Lebanon in Oct 19 2003.

Mrs El Khalil used to be a marathon runner and described her serious troubles of being hit by a bus in 2001. After the accident she spent 2 years in hospital being in coma and had 36 surgeries just to be able to walk, without any chances to be a runner again. After she went out from coma she promised herself that if she cannot participate in the marathons she could help others to had such possibility. She asked her husband to take some notes while recovering in hospital, and few months later the idea of Beirut Marathon was born. Her innovating idea was realized in 2003 when the first edition of this marathon took place with 6000 participants. El Khalil wanted to pay back to her community and take away bad thoughts about the accident. She started her lecture with reference to Arab Spring and difficulties of her country. Now Beirut Marathon is like a “platform for peace and unity” as she says. It helps to regain international credibility of Lebanon. May El Khalil recognizes taking part in the Marathon as a support for reforming country.

Values of sports according to May El Khalil are:

  1. bringing people together,

  2. idea of giving,

  3. and the last point is connected with disadvantaged persons taking part in it. Beirut Marathon has a lot of different participants like for example blind or mentally challenged people.

In the opinion of Mrs El Khalil if we continue to follow those values that she indicated, it will help to change the world through the sport. She achieved huge success starting from 6000 participants in 2003 to over 46000 registered participants of Beirut Marathon in 2013. Marathon helped to unite people and promote peace when her country was going through political difficulties and that is what makes Beirut Marathon special.

Taken from the discussion at the end of this session:

Someone from the audience asked Mr Francesco Ricci Bitti a question what he think about betting sponsors giving the example of Real Madrid and Bwin.

The answer by Ricci Bitti was that betting is not necessarily something bad in sport. Sponsorship is also a way of investing in sport, helping to develop it. Betting in the regular way is helping sport in the opinion of Mr Francesco. The problem is not the betting itself but the real problem is the use of betting by criminals.

Kamil Augustyniak

Shaping the 21st century, imagining the 22nd”

For me it was an interesting meeting due to the fact that even if we know how the economy works and we can predict some simple behaviors on the market we still lack of experience to push forward success internationally. The key point is partnership and social innovations that have to be developed to achieve next level in innovation. The idea of 22nd century is not clear until we organize and study completely the 21st.

The basic question stated during the meeting was: ‘Who funds research and who benefits from it?’ The second part is obvious for everyone because we, as society are the group who benefit. But what about founding? It can be noticed that there is a decrease in founding research by the governments that are still critical founders of innovations research. However, money is not so big problem in contemporary times. The key drivers for innovation are much more complicated we could imagine. There is so called eco system, consisting of: talent, education, capital, purpose (because of the practical point of view: purpose for what the company was created). We see that there are many approaches to achieve success but every time the fundamental research is crucial.

Practice: 40% of energy goes to old buildings that are inefficient and waste the resources that are hardly available. Now the world has problem with speed of development. 80% of resources are used by 20% of people that leads again to energy and resources inefficiency. That all happens because of the state of mind ‘use it and throw it’ that is completely wrong and opposite to innovations.

The simple scheme was presented: research challenge effect. So if the problem is so well known and we know how to deal with it, why is it not changing? We know something about future but still we do not know anything (or almost nothing) about what will be valid for economy in a few years. The 21st century is hard enough to see significant effect of worldwide innovations. So the tasks for now are:

  • Firstly, the issue of social innovation must be completed to talk about economic/material innovations. Only cooperation leads to success. We have to understand how the partnership works.

  • Secondly, we have to learn how to re-use data. The success will be an effect of numerous failures.

  • Thirdly, the innovation itself is inefficient without collaboration and society awareness.

To be continued…

Ukraine – from temporary success to further tensions

Emil Wojtaluk

Maybe you think there have been said enough about Ukrainian situation but I want to look at this problem from another perspective. Since a few months when Ukrainian protests begun we did not think it would develop this way. Recent weeks all world’s media were concentrated on using excessive means of force against the protesters by Ukrainian police at Kiev’s Maidan. I propose you a brief repetition and analysis of Polish contribution to the so called “peace agreement”.

Trigger – the need to integrate with the EU

The crisis has begun in November 2013 when Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych has rejected the trade deal with the European Union that would put Ukraine on the route of integration. Moreover, Ukrainians had enough of high level of corruption and arrogance of their country’s high authorities. Ukrainian economy needs EU funds and being a part of trade agreement would be the first step to improve its situation. If we look at Polish and Ukrainian economies, there is a significant difference.

 The economy of Poland is now 3 times bigger than Ukrainian. From the moment of Polish political transformation that has started in 1989 this country could derive from Western experiences but Ukraine was left alone under Russian influence area. And Russia is the key player to destabilize the region. Russian foreign policy is aimed at frighten its neighbour and it is time to answer this aggressive policy by reasonable means like strong European statement along with the US President who is like hidden in the shadow without expected reaction. Recent weeks thousands of people have walked on the streets in Ukrainian cities, but the main stage of actions was Kiev. Extremely incomprehensible events took place, police started to shoot to protesters at Maidan with live-ammunition. The final result is about 100 people dead and 200 missing. President Yanukovych was claiming that police forces has nothing to do with that. Take a look at this these horrifying scenes from CNN coverage(viewer discretion advised):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rakmvsVHr-M

Ukrainian Peace Deal” and the role of Polish Diplomacy

Night from 20th to 21st of February was a decisive turn in the crisis. High Representative of the Union, Catherine Ashton has sent three EU foreign ministers to negotiate with the government and the opposition. Foreign ministers of Poland (Radosław Sikorski), France (Laurent Fabius) and Germany (Frank- Walter Steinmeier) came to Ukraine to report the situation and negotiate. But the most important negotiators were Sikorski and Steinmeier because French FM went to China for some planned meeting. On 21st February they announced that the agreement has been reached. What were the points of the agreement? The first point was about restoring Ukrainian Constitution of 2004 and forming National Unity Government. The second about balancing the powers of the President, the government and the Parliament till September 2014(constitutional reform). Then third point was about the presidential election that have to be conducted no later than December 2014. Another point considered taking care of investigation on acts of violence that took place, monitored by the authorities, the opposition and the Council of Europe. Further parts contained many declarations from both sides like: not to impose the state of emergency by the authorities, both parties should refrain from the use of violence, another amnesty adopted by the government, handing over all illegal weapons in 24 hours. The last point of the agreement was a call from Foreign Ministers o Poland, Germany and France to end all violence and confrontation immediately. The whole text of the agreement has been published on Polish Foreign Ministry website(link below the text). Take a look at CNN Interview with Polish FM after negotiations:

What was the result? Violence has ended indeed, no one was killed after signing the agreement but something more has been done. Ukrainian Parliament has impeached President Viktor Yanukovych and new temporary government lead by Arseniy Yatsenyuk has been created. Yulia Tymoschenko has been released from prison. Ukraine shall have early election this year. The Constitution of 2004 has been restored. The efforts of EU Ministers including Minister Sikorski have paid off but just for a few days…

Russian Threat

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On 1 March 2014 the President of Russia requested sending troops to Ukrainian Crimea to “protect the interests of Russia and Russian people living there”. Of course Russian Parliament unanimously approved Putin’s demand to send its troops to Ukraine. Russian presence in Ukraine is illegal, it is a breach of international law and sovereignty of this country. Russian troops are not shooting but started to occupy administrative buildings. Ukrainian government mobilized its troops and called military reservists on Saturday(March 1). Fortunately, at present there is no open confrontation.

But what can the International Community do? Economic sanctions could be imposed by the EU which is also a threat to EU economy. European Union and Russia are economically interdependent and that would cause big problems also to Russia. UN Security Council was ineffective because Russia has the right to veto all resolutions and used that once again. There is also another possibility like Poland’s request to secure its borders by NATO, answering by the same military pressure like President Putin. International Community cannot stay untouched, it is time to show that Russia cannot threat anyone this way again. It is a common tactic when Russia do not have strong enough arguments they go so far as to military intervention. What Ukrainian government should do is to reinstate act respecting of language minorities – Russia invoke the abolishion of this act by Ukrainian Parliament. The World cannot let Ukraine to became the next Georgia where Russia could perform military actions without strong enough reaction of International Political Scene. USA, EU and NATO should act decidedly, I hope without involvement of military actions, though I am afraid words will not be enough. We cannot let Ukraine to be alone!

Read more:

Ukrainian Agreement” of Feb 21, 2014 published on Polish Foreign Ministry website:

http://www.msz.gov.pl/resource/1c430b04-742e-4e3f-83be-a675d3ba2d7d:JCR

Reuters on Polish Diplomacy:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/24/uk-ukraine-crisis-poland-idUKBREA1N1BY20140224

Roots of primacy of the EU law over the laws of Member States

Adrianna Brzozowska

Many people may wonder on what ground and when exactly the EU legislation outcomes have become more important than domestic law of particular countries. Here I am going to remind you of the case that changed so much the functioning of European Community.

Flaminio Costa v ENEL (Ente Nazionale Energia Elettrica C – 6/64)- summary

This case from 1964 led to the establishment the primacy of the EU law over the laws of Member States.

Mr. Flaminio Costa was an Italian citizen who owned some shares of the electricity company. In 1962 Italy had nationalized the production and distribution of electric energy and created the Ente Nazionale per l’Energia Elettrica ( ENEL, National Electricity Board). Mr. Costa was opposed to the nationalization and as the protest, he decided not pay the bill of a symbolic amount: 1,925 lire (€0.99). The electricity organization sued Mr. Costa for nonpayment. He prepared a written statement of case, where he ‘asked’ the Court for an interpretation of the EEC Treaty provisions, as he believed that nationalization was contrary to the Community’s law (the EU Law).

The Italian Government stated that the national law, under which they had nationalized mentioned electricity company, was enacted after the incorporation of the EEC Treaty, so that it is the Italian law that should have the priority over it. According to the opinion, given by the Italian Government, application for a preliminary ruling was ‚absolutely inadmissible’ and there were no grounds for raising questions concerning the Treaty.

Judgement of the European Court of Justice

Admissibility: ‘As a subsequent unilateral measure cannot take precedence over Community law, the questions put by the Giudice Conciliatore, Milan, are admissible in so far as they relate in this case to the interpretation of provisions of the EEC Treaty’.

MML736_EUHUB_Legal_ICON

The Court decided that it cannot solve the dispute between Mr. Flaminio Costa and ENEL at the national level, but it can only deal with the questions concerning interpretation of the provisions stated in the EEC Treaty (the Treaty of Rome).

Moreover, it ruled that the EEC Treaty is not an usual agreement between the Member States, and that the Community (the EU) has its own legal system that they have to follow, which is the consequence of the fact that they gave to ‘it’ a part of their own sovereignty. So that, the Community Law (the EU Law) should also be exercised by the national courts of Member States. Provisions stated in the Treaty cannot be changed by any national law, because every State has to follow exactly the same provisions. If the Member States have the opportunity to change implemented law by releasing new and quite different legislative acts, the European Union’s Law would be different in the various Member States. That could be contrary to some general principles of the Community Law (the EU Law).

It follows from all these observations that the law stemming from the Treaty, an independent source of law, could not, because of its special and original nature, be overridden by domestic legal provisions, however framed, without being deprived of it’s character as Community law and without the legal basis of the Community itself being called into question. The transfer by the States from their domestic legal system to the Community legal system of the rights and obligations arising under the Treaty carries with it a permanent limitation of their sovereign rights, against which a subsequent unilateral act incompatible with the concept of the Community cannot prevail’.

That is why the Court ruled that the Treaty has the primacy over national laws which is also confirmed by the provision that it (regulation) should be binding as a whole and be directly applied in all the Member States. The national law of the Member States, that came into force later – should not be contrary to the Community Law (the European Union’s Law).