As Europe’s economy slip into recession we believe that Europe needs to respond in ways that don’t just address immediate needs but also ensure that Europe can thrive in the recovery. Too many of the actions being taken now are focused on putting right the mistakes of the past rather than investing in future success. And too little is being done to promote the entrepreneurship, innovation and infrastructures that will be essential to Europe’s future growth. We believe that Europe’s governments, businesses and NGOs now need to commit to a set of principles that can guide recovery plans and policies, and put at their heart a clear commitment to investment in the future. Specifically we argue that Europe should:
- Reshape recovery plans to address the long-term challenges that Europe faces, in particular adaptation to climate change, ageing and chronic disease
- Prioritise the sectors with the greatest prospects of future jobs growth, including health and care, education, environmental services, tourism and the creative industries.
- Promote pluralism and local creativity, shifting investment to many small scale local and regional initiatives rather than putting all resources into grand but risky national projects
- Invest in innovation with a significant share of investment directed to creating new products and services, including innovation in the public, social, educational, creative and tourism sectors.
- Back entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, whether through tax incentives and guarantees, or provision of space for microenterprises
- Support new infrastructures, accelerating investment in the decisive new infrastructures for the future, like universal high speed broadband and low carbon energy grids
- Guarantee security by protecting social spending and supporting temporary job creation as the precondition for healthy risk-taking
- Reward investor responsibility by reshaping policies to support those institutional and private investors who have invested long term in sound enterprises with high standards of governance and risk management
- Mobilise public creativity by using the radical potential of web 2.0 and social networks to develop public ideas for mitigating the impact of the recession
- Learn fast with more systematic ways of evaluating and learning from Europe and the world about what works.
Fixing the future: