Back in the early days Europe used to be nothing else than a battle field for the neighboring tribes. Today the tribes have evolved, but the very same turf wars continue all around Europe. Look at Germany, France, U.K., Poland.
Despite the nations today we face more competition between companies, associations, investors. The playing field should be centrally managed, but who has the power to do that? The collaborating force behind the area should be EU, but does it have tools for that? I don’t believe the right tool is $500 billion EU COVID-19 aid package financed by additional borrowing, that would make grants to member states that have been hardest hit by the virus. The bonds issued by the European Commission would be repaid from the EU budget, which mainly is covered by Germany. Italian bonds jumped… The challenge is EU member states are not in the same boat in terms of economy and as long as trust between the member states remain weak the national sovereignty is a hot topic for each single member state.
The surprising solution for EU’s declining credibility between U.S. and Asia could be sustainability and entrepreneurs and of course trust. I’ve been following the opinions from Al Gore, Niklas Zennström, Brent Hoberman and many other regarding sustainability and founders. Europe has amazing wealth of global leadership, so why not using it to sustainability, which is strongly supported by all member starts and even China.
The message is clear; more collaboration, European entrepreneurial ecosystem, daring, sustainability problems, more “sandboxes” for trying things in different fields. This is exactly what the member states should also do in the political field. The institutional investors in the Nordics, such as the public pension funds, have also raised their bars and understood they can create economic growth for the pensioners by investing and supporting start-ups and sustainability. Even the large companies are more than ever working with innovative entrepreneurs globally.
So, what about the European Union? Sustainable development has been one of the fundamental objectives of the European Union since it was included in the Treaty of Amsterdam as an overarching objective of EU policies. It states the economic, social and environmental dimensions should be tackled together. However, taking the start-up community, large companies and investors into the game could drastically take the objective forward.
At the moment EU has several separate projects to tackle sustainability challenges and climate challenges COP23 Key Outcomes. The key however, is to get everyone involved – I personally find the private companies, start-ups and even the people are already on board. Now we just have to get the politics to realize the importance of collaboration and that national sovereignty does not bind climate change or sustainability of the people especially in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis.