Vitajte! Listening tour in Slovakia. Manfred Weber travels to Slovakia to listen and understand the difficulties l ...
7. März 2018
Innovate Europe! - Op-ed in EL PAÍS
OP-ED OF MANFRED WEBER, CHAIRMAN, AND ESTEBAN GONZÁLEZ PONS, VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE EPP GROUP IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Original version published in Spanish in EL PAÍS on 7 March 2018
Europe needs a wake-up call. Whereas the U.S. as frontrunner has so far dominated the digital revolution, our continent has now a unique opportunity to shape the next wave of the digital transformation.
In the upcoming years, digital innovations will not only reshape the classical industries, but also enter into every aspect of daily’s life. That’s why gaining people’s trust in innovation is what matters the most right now. Our European way of life has all the ingredients for true success: values, a fair social market economy, creative capacities and stable democracies.
Europe combines these tremendous competitive advantages with brilliantindustrial success stories, excellent research capacities, robusteducational systems, and the strongest consumer power. Europe canseize this moment, if it speeds up.
Europe has to regain its appetite for innovation and launch the next “airbus” in key sectors of high digital potential: health, mobility, housing and agriculture. For example, let us put all ourresearch capacities together to overcome diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer. An innovation policy for the 21st century means putting the people at the heart of innovation by responding to their fears, concerns as well as to their aspirations and ambitions.
We have to adapt the social market economy to the digital world by encouraging new business models that will create new jobs while preserving social standards. Our European way of life is a fair one, and that is why politics have the responsibility to set the right conditions for societies to embrace innovation, protect them during transitions and close the gap between advanced regions and those that are catching up. Improving the digital infrastructure such as guaranteeing broad band everywhere in Europe is our responsibility and that is why it must be among our top priorities in the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework. The EU’s next budget must also better prioritize financing towards projects with a real European added value that are better handled at European level than at national or regional level only.
Finally, and most importantly, to innovate Europe, we must work together: our vision can only become a reality if we all pool our resources and capabilities for the benefit of every single European.
That is why regaining our role as international innovator entails, first and foremost, working together. The future of Europe will not only be written through institutional reforms. Investing in innovation and digital infrastructure to ultimately improveEuropean citizens' quality of life is what matters the most. The EPP Group will stand ready to lead the people of Europe into the digital future.
Original version published in Spanish can be consulted here: https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/03/06/opinion/1520364208_283844.html