Monday, October 31, 2005

Global Europe

Global Europe: full-employment Europe

As a contribution to the discussion on where Europe is heading, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has published a 15-page text on "Global Europe" that is certainly worth reading.

It focuses on the new competitive challenge coming primarily from China and India, but also to some extent from America. And it notes that "Europe as a whole is losing ground to competitors in five key areas: growth, labour market performance, skills, innovation and enterprise."

That's correct, although it's also correct that this "Europe as a whole" also contains parts that are doing very well indeed, and which shows what can be achieved. Britain isn't always among those regions, and that might explain the omission.

The thesis then is that "from the era of a European trade bloc, we are moving to the era of a global Europe."

Sounds good, but also neglects the rather crucial fact that the widening and deepening of the European single market is an absolutely key ingredient in any policy that wants to strengthen the global position of Europe.

It's not two distinct and different phases in the evolution of Europe - but rather two that are now reinforcing each other.

But all in all, it's a document worth reading and discussing.