Eurozone foreseen as potentially smaller but stronger, EU as political and economic force
Brussels, 31 May 2012 – Business leaders voting on a series of questions posed at the State of The European Union conference expressed belief in the European Dream and an optimistic outlook on the future of both the EU and the Eurozone.
The business leaders present at The State of The European Union actively participated in the debates by way of a voting system showing immediate results. The main results of the voting were:
- When asked what business leaders thought the Eurozone would look like when the dust settled from the crisis, 39% expected it to look much the same but excluding Greece and possibly other countries. But 29% expect the Eurozone to be much more of a “United States of Europe”, a union that is not just monetary and economic but also political.
- By contrast, when asked what business leaders thought the Eurozone should look like, 77% expressed a desire to become a sort of “United States of Europe”, encompassing both the economic and the political realms.
- 76% of business leaders at the conference believed in a federal model for Europe.
- In Q1 2012, the GDP of the 27 EU Member States grew by 0.1% compared to Q1 2011. When asked what the expected growth rate would be in 24 months the business leaders at the conference took the positive opinion of anticipating 1-2%.
- There was a more long-term perspective when considering how long it will take the European labour markets to operate as one: 49% of business leaders present felt that it would take a generation to reach this goal.
- When advised “The media consistently portrays the rise of China and other BRICS as a threat to our economic position. However, this rise should be seen as an opportunity that will lead to mutual gain” 79% agreed that global trade partners have not given up on Europe for good reason. Europe still remains a good place to invest and conduct business. Research and development is consistently viewed as a key asset to the growth of the European Union.
- 52% of business leaders attending the conference believed that an increase in corporate funding would create a better education system in a time of austerity and 38% felt that a reallocation of government budgets away from other sectors would help meet the goal.
- When asked where a young entrepreneur with creative ideas might be likely to set up shop, 45% of business leaders present said “outside of Europe.” However, the remaining 55% was split across European countries, with 28% of people feeling that London is still a desirable location for entrepreneurs.
- The source of the next big innovation in Europe is expected to come from industry (e.g. energy, ICT, aeronautics), with 43% of participants voting for this choice. 22% expect the next innovative leap to come from services (e.g. banking, commerce, education).
In addition to the debates at the conference, The European Leadership Award, announced by Tim King of the newspaper European Voice, was awarded to Mario Monti, the Prime Minister of Italy.
This year’s Annual Forum of The State of The European Union was hosted by the European Executive Council, Burson-Marsteller and INSEAD.
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