For a smarter and fairer socio-economic model in 21st century Europe

In 2000, the Lisbon Strategy was setting the goal for the EU to become within ten years “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world”. After it failed to meet its objectives, it has been replaced with the Europe 2020 strategy focusing on five key targets to achieve “smart, sustainable, inclusive growth”. While some are likely to be reached by 2020, e.g. in the realm of energy and climate, the persisting economic crisis challenges the overall chances of success of the strategy, especially in relation to employment and poverty.

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Uses and misuses of meritocracy

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent speech to new Princeton University graduates has attracted a lot of attention, thanks to a fairly good sense of humour – for a central banker – and not least because of his questioning of meritocracy.


What fate for Japan’s East Asian Community?

European integration, in its contemporary shape, began with a speech. 9 May, the date chosen for Europe Day, does not indeed relate to a battle or a treaty but to the so-called “Schuman declaration”, in which French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman unveiled 63 years ago his proposal of a European Coal and Steel Community to ensure that “any war between France and Germany [would become] not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible” and thus to open the way for “the coming together of the nations of Europe”. While listening to former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in Hong Kong for this year’s Asian Investment Conference, a European could hardly refrain from comparing the two speeches as the Japanese leader’s inspiring tone and the features of his East Asian Community plan recall in many aspects the declaration which gave birth to today’s European Union.

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