This afternoon the Dutch financial newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (FD;www.fd.nl) organized a symposium on The Netherlands and Europe during and after the European debt crisis: the ‘FD Summit 2012’.
Readers of the FD were invited to discuss on the future of The Netherlands and Europe with representatives of Dutch politics, trade and industry (large corporations as well as small and medium enterprise) and the leading universities in The Netherlands.
I was there on behalf of this blog to gauge the state of mind of business-oriented people and interested readers on Europe and the European future.
- What should Europe do to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world again: the US and the BRIC-countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)?
- How can Europe prevent that people withdraw behind their white-picket fences and change the process of alienation of its citizens
- What is the message that Dutch politicians should take with them at this Friday’s summit on the European debt crisis.
- How can we change the upbringing and education for Dutch children to make them more competitive and aspiring.
- How should The Netherlands deal with the consequences of the credit crisis and the crisis in the Commercial and Residential Real Estate at home (read my SMS from Ernst (21) for more information on this topic) .
- What does the industrial zone and the city of the future look like.
It was a very interesting and versatile symposium this afternoon. It was not layered with bright ideas for this Friday’s EU meeting. This would have been useless anyway, as it is virtually impossible to change the stance of the individual European leaders in this phase of the process.
No, the symposium focused on the world after the credit crisis, knowing that this crisis too will pass one day. And then Europe, the EU and the Euro-zone should return to competitiveness and innovation to not lose the battle from the rest of the world.
These are about the toughest days that the European Union ever experienced in its 60 year´ existence and alas, there is indeed a substantial chance that the EU will implode if Friday's meeting is not an instant success.
But fortunately most people visiting this symposium were not only convinced that we need a united Europe to stand stronger in the world, but also that the European Union and the whole Euro-zone eventually will survive; even when the coming EU summit is not the immediate success that is demanded by the financial markets.