EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Our Swiss institution has just completed MoUs and cooperative agreements in Vietnam (at deputy prime minister level) and Kazakhstan (National Innovation Foundation). This is in the sphere of independent leading-edge advice and joint-ventures dealing with new world-leading technologies and their distribution and sale.

The reason why these countries have engaged with our institution is because they see that we are a totally independent advisory group with no vested interests or harebrained pet projects that go nowhere and cost millions. Now we have the indelible trust of these nations.

I therefore have just one thing to say to industry ministers meeting on 15 July in Louvain-la-Neuve: change your thinking or the EU’s economies will decline at an alarming rate over the next 20 years. For the present EU thinking is that of the past and not of this century.

In this respect, what we really need is long-term strategic objectives to create whole new high-tech industries: nothing else will preserve our economies in reality.

I have just returned to Britain from Ho Chi Minh City, and some of my fellow board members have just got back from Astana. In this respect our eastern counterparts have the ideal strategy in place: although still a communist country, the Vietnamese for one are forming major strategic alliances and joint ventures with large international groups, many of which are now run by their highly-educated diaspora.

But the most important factor is that they are engaging with international ‘think-tanks’ that think ‘outside the box’, unlike the fixed mindsets of Europe. Indeed, the Vietnamese believe in taking on board the ‘independent’ thinking of others, whereas the EU is still trapped in the old university-business model, which does not work as time has clearly shown.

The reason for this, which the Vietnamese and Chinese have realised, is that ‘independent’ minds are the real source of eventual economic dynamism in the new reality world of the 21st century, as was the case in Britain and Western Europe during the Victorian era.

Therefore I implore the EU’s industry ministers to listen and to adopt the thinking of independent minds and not those of the establishment systems that have failed Europe miserably over the last century. For Vietnam and others in the region are now starting to boom because they have ‘open minds’. Let us hope therefore that EU ministers and their governments will now start our economic growth on similar lines, for in reality it is our only long-term hope.

Considering this huge sea-change, we have to get back to basics, where in the 19th century Europe ruled supreme through its application of pre-eminent independent innovators, inventors and creative industrialists. The EU has forgotten in this respect that independent thinkers were the ones who made us great.

Adopting anything else is therefore totally fooling ourselves. If change is not undertaken as a vital prerequisite now, European people will eventually pay in blood. For this vital change is the most important decision for the EU’s long-term future. Harsh words but unfortunately true with the EU’s present mindset!

Dr. David Hill

Executive Director

World Innovation Foundation Charity

Bern

Switzerland

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