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Economics & Finance

Businessmen are Impatient with Widening Gap Between Europe & the World

Shellie Karabell, Editor-in-Chief |

New INSEAD-Booz & Company Survey for State of the EU Conference points up Shifting Mood

“European business leaders are impatient for political action,” says INSEAD’s Bruno Lanvin, referring to the latest report on the State of the European Union, prepared by the school and Booz & Company for the eponymous conference  presented in Brussels by the European Executive Council this month. Lanvin is the Executive Director of the INSEAD European Competitiveness Initiative.

This year’s survey, the third since the conference began in 2010, is remarkable in showing how the 1500+ global business leaders (all INSEAD alumni)  said they were tired of the “austerity versus growth” debate and wanted to see pragmatism triumph over ideology. They add they are not ready to abandon the European social model, but believe EU politicians must make some tough decisions about core policies at the heart of that model – such as employment and pension reforms – in order to restore productivity and boost European competitiveness. Executives said they were more concerned about China as a competitive threat than India or the U.S.

Entitled “ Growing Europe: The Competitiveness Imperative”, the report was written, in addition to Lanvin, by Per-Ola Karlsson, senior vice-president of Booz & Company; Javier Gimeno, Academic Director of the INSEAD European Competitiveness Initiative, and Robert Gogel, editor-in-chief of the State of the European Union.  The survey covered such issues as what business believes are the best practices for boosting growth and productivity, and the social, economic and political aspects of the European Union.

Key findings include:

  1. Restoring Europe’s productivity is key, growth being spurred by small and medium-sized businesses;
  2. The EU should showcase Europe on a global stage;
  3. Youth unemployment is a central concern and business is looking for tax incentives to boost hiring within this group;
  4. Business is pessimistic about short-term prospects, but believe Europe will be considered a strong global power by 2030;
  5. Innovation is a key driver of European competitiveness and better cooperation should be created between academia and business.

To read the full report click here.

Bruno Lanvin is the Executive Director of the INSEAD European Competitiveness Initiative (IECI).
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