European Business Summit highlights skills shortage, climate split

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This article is part of our special report Jobs and Growth.

Europe runs the risk of being left behind by its global competitors because of the shortage of engineers and scientists leads to lower productivity and a loss of domestic and international trade. That's one of the key messages given on Wednesday to delegates at the European Business Summit.

The theme of the 2011 European Business Summit "Europe in the world: leading or lagging?". About 2000 delegates were expected to attend the two-day event, which is scaled down heavily from last year because of the economic crisis.

The research claims that the inflow of graduates in science and technology is falling across the continent when compared with other sectors, even in countries which are recovering from the financial crisis.

The report says that more needs to be done to raise the profile of science by encouraging professionals to visit schools and by developing stronger partnerships between business and research institutions.

This year's summit got off to a slow start this year as several hundred protesters from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth blocked access in a climate protest. The activists wanted to highlight a growing split among companies on policies required to tackle climate change.

Indeed, it was evident that the businesses represented at the summit appeared to have little interest in carbon-friendly technology. The European Commission's Climate Action stand was given space in a far-away corner of the exhibition centre. Many of the multinationals officially present at EBS are known to publicly oppose more ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions.

This year's EBS was scaled down heavily in comparison to last year, when the exhibition took up two large exhibition halls instead of one. Most of the major stands this year were occupied by companies from outside Europe. The European Business Summit claims to be the one of the most prestigious business events in Europe.

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