Speech Summary at INSEAD Global Leaders Conference

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What is the future of European competitiveness? This was the question tabled by INSEAD at its Global Leaders Conference in Paris on July 6.


My talk at the conference focused on the difficulties faced by Europe to maintain its competitive edge over frontier markets like Asia.


I argued that one of the biggest flaws of the European economic model is its burdensome high level of transaction costs and administrative barriers, which are slowing down economic growth. I believe that Europe needs to introduce deep regulatory reforms (structural reforms) aimed at simplifying markets and encouraging innovation, as well as the creation of new sectors.


These structural changes are also extremely crucial if Europe is to transform its burgeoning informal economy into a vibrant formal productive economic base.


And short of trying to out-perform the competition, I argued that the “Blue Ocean Strategy” is vital in creating a new market (or blue ocean) to make the competition irrelevant.


As a former World Bank economist and presently a CEO of a global social entreprise based in Washington, DC, I know first hand how important is all this. My company, Panel Group, is based on the triple bottom line business model. It’s aimed at implementing new structural and regulatory models to secure property rights with private funding. As a social entrepreneur, my job would be a lot easier in the United States or in Frontier markets (Latin America, China, India) than in Europe.


Why? Because Europe’s due to overregulation longstanding transaction costs have created a complex and convoluted operations system bogged down by too many vested interests. It’s a situation that is very difficult to change.


It is not too late to turn things around in Europe and create high-level innovative industries (specialized tourism, bio technology, a combination of technology with the traditional industry, services with technology). To do this, Europe first needs to simplify its way of doing business, turn processes leaner but with serious and strong enforcement. Failure to do so will result in a flow take over of European industries by Asian and other markets.  The choice lies in Europe!


  1. Manolis says:

    Luke Kako commented on the link.
    Luke wrote: “First you need to get rid of Greeks’ selfish notion of hoarding everything for themselves w/o having to pay for it, i.e. they must RADICALLY alter their irresponsible ways: CHANGING the Greek national character. Ain’t gonna happen, I’m afraid…”

  2. Manolis says:

    Michael Strong writes: Elena, your ideas make so much sense – I very much wish that powerful leaders would listen to you. Your ideas and work could prevent so much tragedy which, otherwise, I’m afraid will happen. My colleagues and I are making great progress on a project in Honduras. If you are not familiar with Mark Klugmann’s LEAP Zones concept you should be. He is one of the architects of the Honduran legislation, and his version is far more useful than is Romer’s more high profile version. I’d love to see you and Mark working together to create prosperity in Greece and elsewhere before Europe goes down in flames. http://www.newmedia.ufm.edu/gsm/index.php?title=Klugmannleapzones

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