Europe needs courage and consistency


Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent – all of these dominant global players come from the US or China. Europe has not built any of these "platforms". And even in the traditional key industries, the Americans and Chinese are rapidly losing their place – Tesla, for example, shows the German automotive industry how innovation looks like and how disruptively it is possible to change established structures in a market.

It seems that Europe has no answers to the demands of the economy of the future. And indeed we threaten to be left behind – with dire consequences for us and future generations. Because it is not just the economic competition that demands new answers.

No "farther" mentality anymore

In particular, the rapid growth in population and its impact on the environment presents us with new challenges globally, such as energy production or food security. At the same time, there have never been so many breakthrough technologies that create the ideal conditions for new global players.

The creation of European champions on the world stage can only succeed if we are seriously prepared to act boldly and consistently. First of all, we have to accept that there is a "Keep it up! We have always done so "can not give. A good example of this is the current diesel discussion.

Sure, one can argue about whether the limits for pollutants really are all scientifically sound. It should not be disputed, however, that in the long run it can not be the solution to consume finite fossil fuels. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity and investing all their energy in the development of new engines, engines and fuels, the engineers prefer to manipulate software so that the limit values ​​of the engines on the test bench can just be met.

This guest post comes from this book:
Sven Afhüppe, Thomas Sigmund (ed.):
Europe can do better
How our continent finds new strength. A wake up call of the economy
Herder Verlag 2019, 240 pages, 20 euros
ISBN 978-3-451-39360-0
Appears on April 15, 2019
The book order at Amazon.

And politicians are wasting time in diesel discussions. My Opinion: Keeping the existing diesels operational has no real impact, but companies should pay high penalties to invest in green technology companies. I am pleased to submit a concrete concept for this.

We have to develop a # 10xDNA. Here I would like to point out the merger of the rail divisions of Siemens – Germany – and Alstom – France, which has just been prohibited by the EU Commission. Yes, it may be that there is more competition in this sector within Europe as a result of the merger being banned.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier has pointed out, however, that the very large contracts are now awarded worldwide – and in order to be able to participate here, we need a strong European player who can compete with international competition. Europe needs to learn to think and act together if its companies are to compete globally.

To put that into concrete terms and in order to be able to correctly classify our competitive environment and the resulting challenges of the future: the European Union – including the United Kingdom – is an economic area with around 500 million inhabitants and a gross domestic product of almost 19 trillion US dollars, the USA with Its 325 million inhabitants even have a bit more GDP in terms of GDP.

China has a population of 1.4 billion and has already reached a GDP of 15 trillion USD with continued strong growth. We need to be aware of these numbers if we want to judge decisions such as those concerning Siemens and Alstom. We must see Europe in international competition as a single entity and detach ourselves from national thinking.

The view of entrepreneurs changes

We also have to change our view of companies and founders. Too often they are viewed negatively and adversely, and failure is commented on with malice. It is they who can shape our future and find solutions to the challenges of the changing world.

This must be recognized more socially. My involvement with "The Cave of the Lions" is primarily motivated by a positive change in society's view of founders. And with my book "Startup DNA," founders should be encouraged to face challenges and achieve their goals against resistance.

After all, I have the impression that at least the younger generation of founders perceives increasingly positive and recognizes as role models. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs, who unfortunately died much too early, play a decisive role – by the way, all of them are Americans.

That too is no wonder, since in Europe politics is by no means exhausting all the creative leeway with which a founder-friendly environment can be created which makes such types possible in the first place. For example, the bureaucratic hurdles for founders, especially in Germany, are still very high: notary appointments, registration of commercial registers, business registration and, of course, the tax office, in order to name only the most important entry barriers.

Without expensive legal assistance, this is almost unmanageable. Alone through the consistent digitization and simplification of these processes, for example, a single portal for business registration in one step, much would be gained. Even a simpler tax law, for example, with privileges for young companies in future industries would be desirable.

Politics must respond to technological challenges

The hiring and billing of employees should also be made easier – the regulations are so complex that many companies wait as long as possible. Bureaucracy reduction in this area would provide immediate employment.

Apart from these fundamental decisions, politics must also respond more quickly to new technological challenges. For example, trading in equity and loans based on blockchain and distributed ledger platforms could be significantly simplified, which would also provide founders with easier and faster financing options.

In fact, such platforms could even create a safe, affordable, reputable, and faster alternative to the traditional stock market. If the legislature creates the appropriate legal certainty here, the stock exchange of the future – and thus an important global player – could come from Germany.

And in the area of ​​biotechnology and the energy industry, too, regulatory decisions could be taken that eliminate legal uncertainties and thus simplify start-ups. In this context, a simplified patent law would also be desirable, which could also primarily help young companies that do not yet have large specialized legal departments.

But instead of putting such simplifications on the way and making the law fit for new technologies, regulations such as the Network Enforcement Act or the Basic Data Protection Regulation are drafted with great effort, which bring little to the individual citizen, but for the affected companies are associated with serious disadvantages and weaken the economy as a whole globally.

So I see black for the business location Europe? No, it's not that bad, because the conditions are good. In Europe, and especially in Germany, we have an excellent education system, great universities and research facilities, and an infrastructure that is much better than your reputation.

It annoys me that we are not tackling the missing points consistently and that not everyone, including our people, sees the next technical revolution as an opportunity.

Follow this link to the English version of this essay.

The published texts of the series can also be found on our European election special page.

. (tTTranslate) Europe (t) China (t) EU (t) USA (t) Global Player (t) European Champions (t) International Competition (t) Industrial Policy (t) Interview (t) Economic Policy (t) Siemens (t Alstom (t) Tesla (t) Alibaba (t) Facebook (t) Google (t) Tencent Holdings (t) Microsoft (t) Apple (t) (t) Amazon (t) Frank Thelen


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