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Blogging about Reflection Group

Recently I have been appointed the secretary general of the Reflection group. Chaired by Felipe Gonzales (ex Spanish prime minister) and co-chaired by Vaira Viķe-Freiberga (ex Latvian president) and Jorma Ollila (of Nokia fame) it was given the task to " identify the key issues and developments which the Union is likely to face and to analyse how these might be addressed. This includes, inter alia: strengthening and modernising the European model of economic success and social responsibility, enhancing the competitiveness of the EU, the rule of law, sustainable development as a fundamental objective of the European Union, global stability, migration, energy and climate protection, and the fight against global insecurity, international crime and terrorism. " These are perhaps the most important issues to address about the future of Europe. I was quite hesitant, should the Secretary General of the group blog about it or anything, for that matter? Any misplaced word, opinion, i

Looking Back at the Slovenian EU Presidency

I'm keep getting questions about the (success) of Slovenian presidency of the EU ( PDF ). So now, from a "historic" perspective of 5 months after, lets try to summarize: Context in which Slovenia took over the presidency: Three years after membership, one year into the Eurozone. Lisbon treaty signed. Optimism about the future role of Europe in the world. Possibility to look outward, now that internal issues seem to have been resolved. However, risks that treaty is not signed in some countries. Refrain from doing anything that would put signing of the treaty in danger. Global uncertainty (Iraq, Afganistan conflicts; US/China trade, US interest rates). Global warming at its warmest. What did we achieve: Confirming the European Perspective of the Western Balkans . Kosovo declared independence, but peace was maintained, and, moreover EU perspectives of all former Yugoslav republic significantly improved (stabilisation agreements with Serbia and BiH). Lisbon Strategy . The

ABC of Sustainable Development

My last speech during the Slovenian EU presidency at the European Sustainable Development Network Conference in Paris, June 30th-July 1st, 2008. Excellencies, ladies and gentleman, It is a real pleasure to be here in Paris on the last day of the Slovenian presidency of the EU. The European Sustainable Development Network is a valuable actor for promoting the kind of development that is future proof. The presence of highly ranking politicians from Slovenia and France demonstrates the importance we attach to your network. I am convinced that sooner or later the internal issues related to our institutional setting and the Lisbon Treaty will be behind us. My message here today will be focused on the importance of this network for the role that Europe needs to assume on the global stage. This role is to care [1]! In a complex world of today, there are fewer and fewer issues that are limited to one scientific discipline, one industrial sector or a single ministry and working across the

Internet Economy and Open Access

I am still in Seoul where we have just adopted the Seoul declaration . Here are some notes from my intervention on the plenary before the signing: First I'd like to join all who congratulated the organizers, the government of Korea and the OECD for such an excellent event. I think it demonstrates that we are all aware what a vital role the internet plays in globalized economy. What internet is enabling is many more people to get involved in creative and innovative processes. This type of innovation is called ' open innovation ' and for it to work, information and data on which the innovation and creative processes are based, must be made broadly available. One set of such data is scientific data and scientific publications. This is somehow covered in item b on page 6, bullets 2 and 5 and I would like to understand that it covers open scientific publishing as well. While we support the declaration, I would like to invite the OECD to investigate and continue to make

They say we need IPv6

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Empires stood (Roman) and fell (Napolen's adventure in Russia) with communications technology. Today we are building empires of the mind and we need communication technology more than ever. In fact Europe's global dominance started with the communication revolution that democratized paper. The 2nd communication revolution related to the Internet is democratizing electronic communication and inviting a new wave of talent into creative processes. As Florida put it, creativity is the ultimate economic resource and there is a war for talent going on out there. Technology is something that attracts talent, internet technology definitively. So the Slovenian presidency built a strong emphasis on creativity and internet into the updated Lisbon Strategy. IPv6 makes future growth of the Internet possible. This was in a nutshell the contents of my talk at the IPv6 launch event in Brussels on May 30th. I took my mobile phone with me to the podium and recorded the talk. A colleague synce

World Environment Day

To address climate change we need to think both with our wallets and our hearts (notes for an intervention at an OECD ministerial meeting in Paris, June 4th, 2008). Climate change is an issue that is global and global solutions should be found. But we must make very clear that politics should define the goals and targets, and that the business and science must, in undistorted competition, find the best solutions. Lets not speak about 50-50-50 until 2050 until we do 20-20-20 by 2020. Politics should not pick winners. We need a third industrial revolution and it will be done by science and business. To be enable it we must create a level playing field for competing technologies and this also means creating a single price for CO2, regardless of its source, and not distorted by widely different taxation and subsidies even if the tax is not called CO2 tax. This would enable the market to identify the cheapest solutions. But so much about thinking with the wallet. At least as importan

Speech at Athens Summit on Climate Change and Energy Security

ADDRESS of Minister dr. Žiga Turk at the Athens Summit on Climate Change and Energy Security Athens, 5. – 7. May 2008 Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, In the beginning allow me to thank the organizers for bringing this summit together and congratulate for such excellent organization. There is mounting evidence, that humanity has been affecting the climate not for the last 100 but for the last 6000 years. We are here in Athens, Greece, which is the cradle of western civilization. But to build the ships that ruled the Mediterranean and to smelter the iron and copper, the forests on the coasts of the Mediterranean had to fall. The last oaks in the Slovenian Cars fell to build the fleet of the Venetian Republic. Two industrial revolutions have been fueled by fossil fuels, releasing into the atmosphere the carbon that has been captured by biological processes below the surface of the earth in millions of years. The effects of climate change are being felt now: temperatures are rising

Open access and open innovation in Lisbon Strategy

  Another modern touch in the updated Lisbon Strategy is a reference to Open access to knowledge and Open innovation, both in the context of 5th freedom: “Member States and the EU must remove barriers to the free movement of knowledge by creating a “fifth freedom” based on enhancing the cross-border mobility of researchers, as well as students, scientists, and university teaching staff, making the labor market for European researchers more open and competitive” It is the free movement of the  entire creative class  that can make sure that in Europe we can put the best person to the job. Each individual member state is too small a market for the highly skilled and their movement is hampered through all kinds of obstacles. But the phrasing “ cross-border mobility of the  creative class ” or “ cross-border mobility of  talents ” did not pass  under  the bar. Member states do have a broader vision. For example, the discussion paper of the UK government “Realizing Britain’s Potential: Futur

Europe Takes a Creative Turn

The economic and social future of Europe is mainly outlined in a strategy called "Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs". Launched in 2000 it provides the blueprint for Europe staying competitive in the globlized economy. It so happened that at the Spring European Council ending a few minutes ago, Europe is launching the next three year cycle. The European Council is presided by Slovenia and as the Minister in charge for the Lisbon Strategy in Slovenia I imagine that I had a little bit of influence on the flavor of the strategy in its next cycle. The first lesson learned with Slovenia in the driving seat of the EU is that it cannot make any sharp turns. The EU is much like a huge cargo ship with 27 smaller or larger tow boats trying to push it a bit in that or the other direction. And in the last couple of months we did some more pushing than one would expect from one of the smallest member states. Since its beginnings in 2000, the Lisbon Strategy was placing high hop

Modernising European Universities

Some notes for the speech to the European University Business Forum in Brussels last week. Key messages: universities were designed for a paper based communication technology which is outdated; the prevailing position that the universities have had on education and research and their other functions is coming to an end; universities need to change; updated Lisbon strategy is sending some messages in this respect, but there is a limit to what politics can do; the change must be initiated from within the universities; for this they need more freedom, but also more competition and market orientation; universities should be less of an industrialized mechanism to crank out graduates and more of a community of teachers an students, shaping minds rather that transferring knowledge. Dear X, dear y, ladies and gentleman, It is a pleasure etc. etc. … I was lecturing design communication , how professionals communicate when they design and build.

eGovernment 2.0

Here are some slides from the talk I gave in Berlin in January . In summary: Communication revolutions change the way we live together. They change culture, innovation, technology and the political process. We are at the middle of the second communication revolution. Internet is unleashing the human potential, the creativity, and allows the participation of the masses. Governments should exploit this. Updated Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs is taking note. eGovernment 2.0 is about two way communication. Internet is platform for public debate, exchange of ideas and problem solving. Government services are a springboard for community made services. Government AND citizens, business jointly provide services, information. Government mediates, rather than rules. Not just G2x but also x2G and x2y.

Comeback Continent?

This is fairly similar to the way I see the opportunities of Europe during the so-called Asian century: The Comeback Continent - New York Times : "Today I’d like to talk about a much-derided contender making a surprising comeback, a comeback that calls into question much of the conventional wisdom of American politics. No, I’m not talking about a politician. I’m talking about an economy — specifically, the European economy, which many Americans assume is tired and spent but has lately been showing surprising vitality." However, one wonders if this is the way: Amazon's free shipping costing €1,000 per day in France : "Did you hear the one about Amazon? It offered free shipping in France, got sued for it by the French Booksellers' Union, and lost. Now it's choosing to pay €1,000 a day rather than follow the court's order. Ba-da-bing!"

Slovenian Semester at JRC in Ispra

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One of the nice traditions of the Joint Technology Center of the European Commission is that they maintain "semesters" according to the schedule of the European Council presidencies. So the Slovenian semester started a few days ago. I was asked to take part at the kick-off of the Slovenian semester at Ispra, Italy and gladly accepted the invitation. Last but not least, my Faculty for Civil Engineering has an on-going and fruitful cooperation with the JRC's ELSA lab and was even able to meet some of my former students there. Of course there were a few speeches. Mine included. Below are the slides I made to use as talking points. Key message: Europe is about synergies among its parts. JRC's are a good example of that. | View | Upload your own