New global challenges such as climate change and the current food crisis call for an update of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, Romanian MEP Daniel Daianu (ALDE) told EURACTIV in an interview.
Daianu, who is a professor of economics and a former Economy Minister, recently hosted an event in the European Parliament involving young entrepreneurs from across Europe.
Asked if his interest in developing the spirit of entrepreneurship among young people was matched by the ambition of the Lisbon Agenda, he acknowledged that Europe was lagging behind in many respects when it comes to global competition, notably regarding universities and centres of global excellence. However, he also pointed to the “tremendous variety of performance between member countries,” singling out Scandinavian companies such as Nokia as exceptionally good performers.
“The very fact that we are setting up an institute of technology, like the one that was just announced for Budapest, indicates recent acknowledgment that we are lagging behind and don’t have the vitality,” said Daianu.
The MEP welcomed the recently adopted Small Business Act as a step in the right direction to push forward the Lisbon agenda. But while recognising the comparative advantages of smaller companies, he admitted that in the current situation of financial crisis and tightening of the credit market “banks prefer the big names”.
The Romanian MEP rejected the assumption the historical legacy of Eastern Europe means that the entrepreneurial spirit is not as present there as it is in the West. But he recognised that “it has taken some time for people in Central and Eastern Europe to grow up in this regard”.
“I’m not saying we can find replicas of a Bill Gates in Central and Eastern Europe. But after two decades we can come up with a list of accomplished business people. People who are not involved in shady deals and who run well-functioning companies who produce something for their national budget and who compete on European markets,” Daianu said.