of Amsterdam Journal.
of Amsterdam 2002-2012
10 Years of more than 100 events - 150 Club of Amsterdam Journals,
many reports, articles, videos and more than 4,300 Members globally!
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Years Club of Amsterdam
- Thursday, December 6, 18:30 - ...!
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2012 will be the 10
event of the Club of Amsterdam. It will be hosted by India House
We are going to promote
and discuss ideas, statements, observations and solutions
for five areas that are considered key challenges by Schloer Consulting
Group. The main characteristics are exponential changes - the
primary cause for critical societal and economic crisis.
You are invited to contribute to our
Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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courtesy of UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Environmental Issues
"21 Issues for the 21st Century"
Commission, "Demography Report, 2010 - Older, more numerous
and diverse Europeans"
"Gradual but nonetheless major changes are affecting the
population of Europe. Two main positive trends are emerging:
a slight increase in fertility and greater life expectancy.
Lowest-low fertility below 1.3 children per woman
has ended in all Member State and the most recent figure for
EU-27 was 1.6 and could rise to over 1.7 if adjustments for
the postponement of births (the so-called tempo effect)
are taken into account. This small adjustment does not make
up for the shortfall in relation to the replacement ratio of
2.1, but it could contribute to a slower rate of population
decline in the medium/longer term, in conjunction with a possible
increase in fertility as EU Member States become wealthier.
The EUROPOP2008 projections prepared by Eurostat and presented
in the previous Demography Report indicate that by 2014 the
working age population (20-64) will start to shrink, as the
large baby-boom cohorts born immediately after World War II
are now entering their sixties and retiring.
The number of people aged 60 and above in the EU is now rising
by more than two million every year, roughly twice the rate
observed until about three years ago. The working population
is also ageing, as the proportion of older workers in employment
increases compared to the cohorts made up of younger workers.
Every year about 5 million children are born in the EU-27
and over 2 million people immigrate from third countries. Births
outnumber deaths by several hundred thousand persons each year,
whereas net migration is well over a million. As a result, migration
accounts for the largest proportion of the EU's population growth.
In 2008 life expectancy for the EU-27 was 76.4 for men and 82.4
It is too early to draw any firm conclusions about the effect
of the crisis on fertility and life expectancy. Recent experience
with past recessions indicates that both fertility and mortality
may initially decrease slightly, only to return to their pre-recession
levels shortly after the crisis has ended."
Credit: UN Photo/R Kollar
SolarCity is a national leader in clean energy services in the
United States. They make clean energy available to homeowners,
businesses, schools, non-profits and government organizations.
SolarCity is a company that offers integrated sales, financing,
design, installation, monitoring and efficiency services.
Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster
Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster is an initiative
launched by Danish cleantech companies, research institutions
and public organisations to sustain and develop world-class
Japan Renewable Energy Foundation
Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Softbank, one of Japans
largest Internet conglomerates, established the Japan Renewable
Energy Foundation with the goal of moving Japan away from its
dependence on nuclear energy towards more eco friendly and safer
renewable sources. His plan
is for the country to embark on a massive build-up of renewable
systems comprised, at least initially, of solar, geothermal
and wind collection.
Serious Energy upgraded the 6,514 dual pane windows in the Empire
State Building by reusing all existing glass and creating super-insulating
glass units in a dedicated processing space located onsite in
Smart Hydro Power (SHP)
Smart Hydro Power is a German based engineering company focused
on developing and implementing hydro electric power generation
using kinetic power only e.g. without the need for building
Enerkem develops renewable biofuels and
chemicals from waste. Through
the combination of a proprietary thermochemical technology platform
and community-based advanced facilities, Enerkem addresses the
challenges of oil dependence and waste disposal.
The companys process and business model are designed to
profitably produce cellulosic ethanol from a large municipal
solid waste supply.
Solar Impulse has demonstrated that a solar-powered airplane
can fly day and night using no fuel. The next challenge is to
fly around the world. The gigantic, but ultra-lightweight dimensions
of this revolutionary airplane - capable of flying day and night
without fuel - are its trademark feature.
Renewable Energy in Germany
Robert Llewellyn provides insight on renewable energy in Germany.
Vitoria-Gasteiz, founded in 1181, is second in size (only to
Bilbao) in the Basque Country, and has some 240,000 people currently
inhabiting this gem in northern Spain. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the
capital of the Álava province and of the Basque Country.
The city holds the title of European Green Capital in 2012.
Flexenclosure is an engineering company based in Sweden and
specialises in intelligent telecom site solutions, helping operators
all over the world expand and modernise their networks. Their
products prove that switching to green energy is an efficient
way to cut operating costs.
The Ecologic team is committed to giving consumers and brands
better packaging choices and replacing shelf after shelf of
rigid plastic, headed for landfill, with a new kind of bottle
that uses our limited resources more efficiently.
Solvatten is a household water treatment unit. The portable
11 liter container is a patented and scientifically proven Swedish
invention. Put Solvatten in a sunny place, give it 2-6 hours
and the water will be drinkable. An indicator shows when it
is safe to drink. Solvatten can also be used as a solar water
heater, providing hot water for cooking and hygiene.
BLUE creates flexible, case-by-case
solutions to the marine crisis through public-private partnerships.
raising funds to leverage conservation gains, BLUE aims to increase
the area of ocean protected by marine reserves from just over
3% to 10% over the next ten years. BLUE is not just another
NGO; it is an enabler of NGOs. We will articulate and deliver
the resources required to save the oceans.
Environment Support Group
Environment Support Group works with a variety of environmental
and social justice initiatives across India and the world. We
pro-actively address issues and concerns collaborating across
sectors and disciplines keeping the interests of local project
affected communities and voiceless ecosystems in primary focus.
Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Food and Water
is vital for natural systems and human development. Irrigated
lands produce two to three times as much as rain fed agriculture.
Agriculture accounts for 7085 percent of water use - and
an estimated 20 percent of global grain production uses water
unsustainably. And demand for water for food production is projected
to double by 2050."
"The current annual fish catch of 145 million tonnes far
exceeds the maximum annual sustainable yield of 80100
The 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows that global hunger
has declined since 1990, but not dramatically, and remains at
a level characterized as serious.
IFPRI: "The terminology used to refer to different concepts
of hunger can be confusing. Hunger is usually understood
to refer to the discomfort associated with lack of food. The
FAO defines it specifically as consumption of fewer than about
1,800 kilocalories a day the minimum that most people
require to live a healthy and productive life. The term undernutrition
signifies deficiencies in energy, protein, essential vitamins
and minerals, or any or all of
these. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of
in terms of either quantity or quality or poor utilization
of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination
of these two factors. Malnutrition refers more broadly
to both undernutrition (problems of deficiencies) and overnutrition
(consumption of too many calories in relation to requirements,
with or without low intake of micronutrient-rich foods). Both
conditions contribute to poor health."
Food Research and Action Center: "Two-thirds of U.S. adults
are overweight or obese. In general, rates of overweight and
obesity are higher for African-American and Hispanic women than
Caucasian women, higher for Hispanic men than Caucasian and
African-American men, higher in the South and Midwest, and tend
to increase with age. Research also shows that the heaviest
Americans have become even heavier the past decade."
BBC: "By around 2050, the swelling global population and
affluence is expected to increase demand for food production
by 70%, with a 100% increase expected in some developing countries.
Yet most of the globes best farmland is already planted
or grazed. And when you factor in climate change, limited fresh
water supplies and competition for harvests from biofuel makers,
it is clear the world faces a major challenge."
UNDP: "Water withdrawals have tripled over the last 50
years.56 Pumping from aquifers exceeds natural replenishment,
so water tables are falling. The main causes: destruction of
wetlands, watersheds and natural water towers to make way for
industrial and agricultural use."
"By 2025 water scarcity is expected to affect more than
1.8 billion people."
Worldometers.info: "Water consumed this year (billion of
The data on water consumption in the world is provided by the
United Nations (UN, UNESCO, and FAO):
- Worldwide, agriculture
accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared to 20%
for industry and 10% for domestic use. In industrialized nations,
however, industries consume more than half of the water available
for human use. Belgium, for example, uses 80% of the water
available for industry.
- Freshwater withdrawals
have tripled over the last 50 years. Demand for freshwater
is increasing by 64 billion cubic meters a year (1 cubic meter
= 1,000 liters).
- Almost 80% of
diseases in so called "developing" countries are
associated with water, causing some three million early deaths.
For example, 5,000 children die every day from diarrhoea,
or one every 17 seconds."
Credit: UN Photo
the world's population looks set to grow to nearly 9 billion
by 2040 from 7 billion now, and the number of middle-class consumers
increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for
resources will rise exponentially.
Even by 2030, the
world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more
energy and 30 percent more water
at a time when a changing
environment is creating new limits to supply."
UNFPA: "Between 2011 and 2100, the population of high-fertility
countries, which includes most of sub-Saharan Africa, is projected
to triple, passing from 1.2 billion to 4.2 billion. During the
same period, the population of intermediate-fertility countries,
such as the United States, Mexico and India, will increase by
just 26 per cent, while that of low-fertility countries, which
includes most of Europe, China and Australia, will decline by
about 20 per cent."
The Dalai Lama's Solution to Overpopulation
"I am convinced that some political and social activities
and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental
and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere.
I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time
when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious
threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt
to organize peace on this planet."
"How Many People Can The Earth Support?"
Years Club of Amsterdam
Our Season 2012/2012
starts with the 10th
event of the Club
We hope to see you at
Years Club of Amsterdam
Thursday, December 6,
Location: India House Amsterdam, Spuistraat 239, 1012 VP Amsterdam
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of Amsterdam blog
of Amsterdam blog
Public Brainstorm: Economic-Demographic
about the Future
solar cells pave way for clean energy industry
A Flinders University researcher has been developing a cheaper
and faster way of making large-scale plastic solar cells using
a lamination technique, paving the way for a lucrative new clean
The novel method,
developed by PhD candidate Anirudh Sharma, is a promising alternative
to the expensive fabrication techniques currently used in the
renewable energy sector, and would make the commercialisation
of plastic solar cell technology more viable.
will fly using agricultural and forest waste
The "ProBio3" project The aviation
industry has identified the development of sustainable biofuels
as one of the biggest challenge of the ten next years; the deal
is to lower environmental impact of fossil fuel use on climate
change with increasing energy demand, to greater energy independence
and fuel security and therefore an outstanding safeguard against
volatile supplies and oil prices. Using alternative fuels to kerosene
is crucial for the European aeronautic industry competitiveness,
economic growth and sustainable development when the increase
of aviation fuel will rise from 200 mT in 2006 up to 450
550 mT to 2036. In this context, the deal of ProBio3 project is
to develop a new promising pathway to produce sustainable bio
jet fuel: the microbial conversion on specific fatty acids of
carbon substrates from renewable non food resources and industrial
"Tomorrow, planes will fly using agricultural and forest
waste," said Carole Molina-Jouve, a professor at Toulouse's
National Institute of Applied Sciences (Insa), who is coordinating
the ProBio3 project.
know how to set up a basic production line but we must move towards
an industrial line," she said. "We need to translate
what is done in laboratories to the real environment while improving
its profitability and efficiency."
Top Prize Concept Award
is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring
about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, thereby
inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization
of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or
a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible. The Foundation
addresses the worlds Grand Challenges by creating and managing
large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that
stimulate investment in research and development worth far more
than the prize itself. It motivates and inspires brilliant innovators
from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial
The X PRIZE Foundation
conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Education; Global
Development; Energy & Environment; Life Sciences; and Exploration.
It is a U.S.-based organization led by Chairman and CEO Dr.
Peter H. Diamandis
and Vice Chairman and President Robert K. Weiss, as well as governed
by a group of visionary leaders including the Board of Trustees,
Vision Circle members, Spirit of Innovation members, corporate
partners and sponsors. Today, the X PRIZE Foundation is widely
recognized as a leader in fostering innovation through incentivized
The Google Lunar
X PRIZE is igniting a new era of lunar exploration by offering
the largest international incentive prize of all time. A total
of $30 million in prizes are available to the first privately
funded teams to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon,
have that robot travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and
send video, images and data back to the Earth. Teams must be at
least 90% privately funded, though commercially reasonable sales
to government customers are allowed without limit.
for the competition closed on December 31, 2010. There are currently
26 teams located around the world who are fundraising, mission
planning, and building robots in a new race to the Moon -- what
we like to call, "Moon 2.0". The teams have until the
end of 2015 to get to the Moon, meet the prize objectives, and
win the prize purses.
The Archon Genomics
X PRIZE presented by Express Scripts® is an incentivized
prize competition that will award $10 million to the first team
to rapidly, accurately and economically sequence 100 whole human
genomes to a level of accuracy never before achieved.
The 100 human genomes
to be sequenced in this competition will be donated by 100 centenarians
(ages 100 or older) from all over the world, known as the 100
Over 100. Sequencing the genomes of the 100 Over 100 presents
an unprecedented opportunity to identify those "rare genes"
that protect against diseases, while giving researchers valuable
clues to health and longevity. These centenarians genes
are providing us with a window to the past that will significantly
impact the future of healthcare.
The result will be
the world's first "medical grade genome, a critically-needed
clinical standard that will transform genomic research into usable
medical information to improve patient diagnosis and treatment.
This global competition will inspire breakthrough genome sequencing
innovations and technologies that will usher in a new era of personalized
The Qualcomm Tricorder
X PRIZE is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation
and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, making reliable
health diagnoses available directly to "health consumers"
in their homes.
The dire need for
improvements in health and healthcare in the U.S. has captured
the attention of government, industry, and private citizens for
years. But a viable solution has yet evaded one of the most technologically
advanced, educated and prosperous nations on the globe. Integrated
diagnostic technology, once available on a consumer mobile device
that is easy to use, will allow individuals to incorporate health
knowledge and decision-making into their daily lives.
Advances in fields
such as artificial intelligence, wireless sensing, imaging diagnostics,
lab-on-a-chip, and molecular biology will enable better choices
in when, where, and how individuals receive care, thus making
healthcare more convenient, affordable, and accessible. The winner
will be the team whose technology most accurately diagnoses a
set of diseases independent of a healthcare professional or facility,
and that provides the best consumer user experience with their
The Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE is a $2.25 million global
competition to stimulate the development of sensors and sensing
technology to drastically improve and expand the quality and access
to healthcare across a wide variety of settings for consumers
all around the globe.
Demand for healthcare resources continues to grow across the world
with increased demand to extend capabilities to make current systems
Sensors are currently
providing patients and healthcare providers with information that
is critical to the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment
and management of health conditions. In fact, much of modern medicine
would simply not be possible or cost effective without sensors,
which include thermometers, blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors,
electrocardiography (EKG), electroencephalography (EEG) and various
forms of imaging sensors such as ultrasound. Sensing technologies
are also being used to track the spread of disease by public health
agencies and to monitor the publics exposure to environmental
factors, such as pollution.
The X PRIZE Foundation
believes that health sensors and sensing solutions have the potential
to drastically improve and extend healthcare capabilities. Continuous
monitoring through sensors and sensing technologies can significantly
contribute to the reduction of healthcare costs by keeping people
healthier, avoiding unnecessary hospitalization and ensuring that
those who need urgent care can get it sooner.
of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily
Lives by the Year 2100
By Michio Kaku
Space elevators. Internet-enabled contact lenses. Cars that fly
by floating on magnetic fields. This is the stuff of science fiction
- its also daily life in the year 2100.
physicist Michio Kaku details the developments in computer technology,
artificial intelligence, medicine, space travel, and more, that
are poised to happen over the next hundred years. He also considers
how these inventions will affect the world economy, addressing
the key questions: Who will have jobs? Which nations will prosper?
Kaku interviews three hundred of the worlds top scientists
- working in their labs on astonishing prototypes. He also takes
into account the rigorous scientific principles that regulate
how quickly, how safely, and how far technologies can advance.
In Physics of the Future, Kaku forecasts a century of earthshaking
advances in technology that could make even the last centuries
leaps and bounds seem insignificant.
Report of the Future of Europe Group
The Report finalising seven months of work by the Group was adopted
during a meeting of the Future of Europe Group held in Warsaw
on 17 September 2012. The final meeting of the Future of Europe
Group was attended by the Foreign Ministers and Deputy Foreign
Ministers of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
In the Report, the Foreign Ministers put forward concrete proposals
in the debate on the future of the European Union, including on
the EUs position in the international environment and the
future institutional framework. It is also designed to be part
of the broader debate on the European Union, which is taking place
as a consequence of the financial and economic crisis. The Report
includes proposals to improve the situation within the EU in the
framework of existing treaties, as well as suggestions for potential
directions of treaty changes in the longer-term perspective.
The Report also includes
postulates put forward by Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, e.g. to
strengthen the European Commission or create joint EU representation
in international organizations. Other initiatives worth pursuing
include postulates to boost the EUs democratic legitimacy
through European Parliament elections on the same day in
all member states, the drawing up of a (limited) European list
and a more public procedure in the Parliament to appoint the Commission
The members of the
Group will present the Report not just to their counterparts in
all EU Member States, but also to European Council President Herman
Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso,
High Representative Catherine Ashton, as well as MEPs and representatives
of national parliaments.
Introduction and Summary
The European Union has reached a decisive juncture. The on-going
sovereign debt crisis and the ever-accelerating process of globalization
pose an unprecedented dual challenge for Europe. We will have
to master it if we want our continent to enjoy a bright future
and effectively promote our interests and values in a more polycentric
The crisis has long also had a political dimension. In many parts
of Europe, nationalism and populism are on the rise, while the
feeling of solidarity and sense of belonging in Europe are dwindling.
We have to take action to restore confidence in our joint project.
The political debate about the future of the European project
has to be conducted now, and it has to take place all across Europe.
Crucially, it needs to engage Europe´s citizens.
In the following report, we put forward concrete proposals designed
to address the challenges that Europe is facing. Some are short-
and some are long-term. Many can be done within the existing treaty
framework; some may need amendments to the treaties. What is important,
is to get the sequencing and the balance right, combining what
can be realistically achieved in due course with a longer term
perspective and vision for a stronger Europe. Clearly, strengthening
EMU is the key element in our efforts to overcome the present
The report reflects our personal thoughts. We wish to underline
that not all participating Ministers agree with all proposals
that have been put forward in the course of our discussions, and
that the Member States' individual treaty obligations and rights
within the various policy areas have to be taken into account.
They can be summarized as follows:
I. Strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union has absolute
The Euro has profound economic advantages and is the most powerful
symbol of European integration. Our proposals provide concrete
input for the process of EMU reform launched by the June European
Council. In doing so, our focus lies on initiatives within the
scope of the existing treaties. However, we should not exclude
the possibility of treaty changes if this proves to be necessary.
We need to
- further enhance
the reinforced economic governance framework by (establishing
mechanisms at EU level, both to oversee that member states'
budgets are in line with European rules and to develop further
- make economic
policy coordination between Member States more binding in selected
areas which are key for sustainable economic growth and employment
and essential for the stability of the Eurozone. This will help
overcome existing imbalances and strengthen overall competitiveness.
- establish an effective
single supervisory mechanism, involving the ECB, for banks in
the Euro area and those MS that wish to join in such a mechanism,
- ensure full democratic
legitimacy and accountability. If additional action is taken
at European level and this concerns EU competences, the European
Parliament has to be involved either through co-decision or
consultation. Most members were of the view that, if a decision
applies only to the Euro area plus other "pre-in"
member states who wish to participate already at this stage,
ways should be explored to involve the MEPs from these countries
( - while fully respecting the integrity of the European Union
and the European Parliament as a whole.) If national competences
are concerned, in particular the budget, national parliaments
have to agree. Cooperation between the European and national
Parliaments should be further strengthened by creating a permanent
II. We believe
that once the Euro crisis has been overcome, we must also improve
the overall functioning of the European Union.
In particular, the EU must take decisive steps to strengthen its
act on the world stage. This should be tackled beyond and separately
from EMU reform. Some of these measures could be implemented on
the basis of the existing treaties - possibly already in the short
term - while others could only be addressed in the long term through
- The EU must enhance
the coherence and political clout of its external action. We
call for a substantial revision of the decision on the European
External Action Service (EEAS) in 2013. The High Representative/Vice-President
should be rendered responsible for key external action areas.
The EU also needs to fundamentally reinforce the Common Security
and Defence Policy and shape relations with strategic partners
In the long term, we should seek more majority decisions in
the CFSP sphere, joint representation in international organizations,
where possible, and a European defence policy. For some members
of the Group this could eventually involve a European army.
specific policies must go hand in hand with institutional reforms.
The Commission should be strengthened so it can fully and effectively
fulfil its role as the engine of the Community method. One possibility
would be the creation of specific clusters with "senior"
and "junior" Commissioners. The General Affairs Council
should be empowered to fully assume the coordinating role foreseen
for it in the Treaty. The European Parliament should boost its
democratic visibility by the nomination of a European top candidate
by each political group for the next EP elections.
- In a realistic
view, in the long term treaty reform in a European Union of
28 or more Member States will become more and more difficult.(
According to most members of the Group, both the adoption and
the subsequent entry into force of treaty revisions (with the
exception of enlargement) should be implemented by a super-qualified
majority of the EU Member States and their population. They
would be binding for those MS that have ratified them.)
- At the end of
a long process, a more streamlined and efficient system for
the separation of powers in Europe which enjoys full democratic
legitimacy should be envisaged. For some members of the Group,
this could include a directly elected Commission President who
personally appoints the members of his "European Government",
a European Parliament with the powers to initiate legislation
and a second chamber for the member states.
the current crisis by fundamentally strengthening the economic
and monetary union
The sovereign debt crisis in the euro area has long become a crisis
of confidence in the long-term ability of individual euro states
to restore stability.
Sound public finances, competitiveness, growth and employment
should be promoted together. At European level, we should take
the Single Market, one of our main assets and the most powerful
engine for growth, to a new stage of development. We should increase
the support for SMEs, including by ensuring their easier access
to EU funds and stimulating investment, as exemplified by the
European Pact for Growth and Jobs; in this respect we should also
implement the decisions for a stronger role of the EIB. Finally,
we should strengthen job creation, targeting in particular youth
However, we will only be able to resolve the Euro crisis in a
sustainable manner if we overcome the crisis of confidence within
the Euro area. For this, we have to fundamentally strengthen the
Economic and Monetary Union.
Work to fundamentally reform EMU will be based on the four building
blocks identified by the President of the European Council, together
with the President of the Commission, the President of the Euro
group and the President of the European Central Bank, in their
report to the June 2012 European Council. We need steps towards
an integrated financial framework, an integrated budgetary framework,
an integrated economic policy framework as well as measures to
ensure the necessary democratic legitimacy and accountability.
An efficient and stable Economic and Monetary Union is of central
importance to the functioning of the European Union as a whole.
While of primary concern to Euro area MS, this affects all EU
Member States, also those which have not yet introduced the Euro.
Reforms should therefore be undertaken where possible in the framework
of the EU-27. All necessary reform steps should be taken to deepen
the EMU. Our focus lies on initiatives within the scope of the
existing treaties; however, we should not exclude the possibility
of treaty changes if this proves to be necessary.
An integrated budgetary framework
In the last two years, important steps have been taken to reinforce
the framework for budgetary discipline in the Euro area in particular.
We need to rapidly complete work on the Two-Pack and swiftly implement
the Fiscal Compact. But we need to make mechanisms at EU level
more effective to ensure that all Member States prevent and correct
unsustainable fiscal policies and stick to the agreed rules in
their individual budgetary procedures. Within the Commission,
the role of the ECFIN Commissioner should be reinforced.
On the path towards an integrated budgetary framework,( the following
should go hand in hand:
- effective oversight
powers at European level with concrete competences for European
institutions to oversee the budgets and implementation of fiscal
policies of member states in order to ensure that Member States
comply with the commitments on deficit and debt reduction they
have agreed upon. In this respect, the responsibility of the
Member States for the composition of their budgets has to be
- further European
solidarity mechanisms; some members of the Group suggested steps
towards mutualisation of sovereign risk.)
economic policy framework
We need to overcome the fundamental flaw of EMU - monetary union
without economic union. This does not mean that all economic policy
measures should be decided at European level. But for certain
key economic policy issues of particular relevance for sustainable
economic growth and employment and the sustainability of the Eurozone
we need the right mix of effective and binding coordination at
European level and healthy competition of national systems and
more effective ways of exchanging best practice. This concerns
in particular the functioning of labour markets as well as the
sustainability of pension systems. We should use the existing
options within the treaties, including by enhanced cooperation.
Many members were of the view that, in addition, the current voluntary
commitments in relevant areas of the Euro Plus Pact should be
made binding. This should be implemented in the framework of an
economic partnership programme between the Member States and the
European level, similar to that foreseen in the Treaty on Stability,
Coordination and Governance.
An integrated financial framework
We need bolder steps to improve the functioning of European financial
markets. Therefore, we are in favour of an effective single supervisory
mechanism, involving the ECB, for banks in the Euro area and those
Member States that wish to join in such a mechanism.
Some members of the Group underlined the importance of a common
deposit insurance scheme and of a European restructuring and resolution
In the medium-term, the Euro area must be able to resolve potential
problems in the Economic and Monetary Union by itself. Therefore,
the European Stability Mechanism should be further developed into
a "European Monetary Fund" with adequate powers.
Strengthening democratic legitimacy and accountability
A fundamental deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union must
go hand in hand with greater democratic legitimacy. Wherever new
competences are created at European level or closer coordination
of national policies is established, full democratic control has
to be ensured.
- The European Parliament
should be closely involved in the further development of the
EMU in line with the Community method and its role should be
strengthened. If actions at European level - either within the
framework of the EU or through intensified coordination of member
states - concern EU competences, the European Parliament has
to be part of the decision-making - either through co-decision
or consultation. For example, the European Parliament should,
among other things, be consulted within the scope of the European
semester before the formulation of fundamental aspects (e.g.
the Annual Growth Survey) or on concrete recommendations affecting
the EU or the euro area as a whole. If we introduce more binding
coordination at European level with regard to specific elements
of the Euro Plus Pact, the European Parliament should be consulted
here, too. Most members were of the view that, if a decision
applies only to the Euro area plus other "pre-in"
member states who wish to participate, ways should be explored
to involve the MEPs from these countries( - while fully respecting
the integrity of the European Union and the European Parliament
as a whole.) If funds from a possible central budget involving
these countries are drawn upon to support structural reforms
in one of these Member States, the European Parliament, with
a specific role for the MEPs from the countries involved, has
to agree according to the procedures foreseen in the treaties.
- If additional
actions at European level concern national competences, in particular
the budget, the national parliaments have to agree. The European
Parliament should also be informed.
- In addition, cooperation
between the European Parliament and national parliaments should
be placed on a new footing in the sphere of economic and fiscal
policies by creating a permanent joint committee.
further integration steps and the long-term governance structure
of the European Union
Once the Euro crisis has been overcome, we must also improve the
overall functioning of the European Union. In particular, the
EU must take decisive steps to strengthen its act on the world
stage. This should be tackled beyond and separately from EMU reform.
Some of these measures could be implemented on the basis of the
existing treaties - possibly already in the short term - while
others could only be addressed in the long term through treaty
changes, to be agreed upon on the basis of a Convention.
a) Europe as a global player
In the global competition with other economies, ideas and models
of society, the countries of Europe will uphold their values and
pursue their interests successfully only if we stand united. To
this end, we need a comprehensive and integrated approach to all
components of the EU's international profile. Beyond CFSP and
CSDP, it must include, among other things, issues relating to
trade and external economic affairs policy, development aid, enlargement
and neighbourhood policy, the management of migration flows, climate
negotiations and energy security.
- We have to enhance
the coherence of the EU's external action. To achieve a comprehensive
and integrated approach for all components of the EU's international
profile, the European External Action Service (EEAS) should
be strengthened within the framework of the review of the EEAS
Decision in 2013. The High Representative/Vice-President (and
the EEAS) should be responsible for central external action
areas (e.g. Neighbourhood Policy); their role in the area of
development cooperation should also be strengthened. For other
areas its institutional capacity for coordinating the different
EU actors has to be strengthened. This is necessary in particular
to enable the High Representative to assume in full her role
of coordinator within the Commission. There should also be clear
rules on cooperation between the High Representative/Vice-President
and other Commissioners in the sphere of external action (e.g.
in the framework of a possible creation of "senior"
and "junior" Commissioners). The EU has to act more
united in international organizations; e.g. by delivering CFSP
statements on behalf of the EU.
- There is a need
to strengthen the Common Security and Defence Policy. Our defence
policy should have more ambitious goals which go beyond "pooling
and sharing". The possibilities of the Lisbon Treaty, in
particular the establishment of Permanent Structured Cooperation
should be implemented.
- We have to make
our relations with our strategic partners more effective. The
High Representative has a leading role to play here; she should
be supported by Member States.
- We must improve
the setting of priorities in the sphere of external relations.
We have to improve how the Foreign Affairs Council works. On
the basis of a six-monthly agenda planning, we have to make
our consultations more strategic and focused. We need more informal
meetings in the Gymnich format and better interaction with the
European Council; one meeting per year should focus on external
relations policy with the participation of the Foreign Ministers.
We should consider reviewing the European Security Strategy.
To make the EU into
a real actor on the global scene we believe that we should in
the long term:
- introduce more
majority decisions in the CFSP sphere or at least prevent one
single member state from being able to obstruct initiatives(,
and in this framework also further develop the concept of constructive
- seek, where possible,
joint representation in international organizations;
- aim for a European
Defence Policy with joint efforts regarding the defence industry
(e.g. the creation of a single market for armament projects);
for some members of the Group this could eventually involve
a European army.
other policy areas
If Europe wants to hold its own in the new global order, we will
also need increased integration in other central political fields.
In the sphere of justice and home affairs, we therefore propose
that the protection of the Schengen area's external borders be
strengthened (by creating a "European Border Police")
or, in the medium term, that a European visa be created. Another
field where we need "more Europe" is sustainable energy
policy: we need to create a functioning internal energy market
through European energy infrastructure, improve energy efficiency
and define common external energy relations.
c) Institutional reforms: Strengthening the EU's effectiveness
and democratic legitimacy
In addition to the specific aspect of EMU reform, additional rights
at European level or a closer coordination of national policies
require a strengthened EU capacity for action and enhanced democratic
- The Commission
must be strengthened so that it can fully and effectively fulfil
its indispensable role as the engine of the Community method.
Its internal organization and its procedures should be strengthened
(one possibility would be the creation of specific clusters
with "senior" and "junior" Commissioners);
in the medium term the number of commissioners should be addressed.
- Cooperation within
the Council needs to be improved, also with a view to ensuring
that the European Council is suitably prepared by the different
Council formations, above all by the General Affairs Council
which should fully assume its coordinating role foreseen in
the Treaty. Internal consultations in the different Council
formations must be made more efficient (e.g. through the use
of bundled interventions). In the medium term, we should create
more permanent chairs and strike the right balance between permanent
and rotational chairs, also in the General Affairs Council,
to increase the efficiency of the work in the various Council
formations. Moreover, the possibility of better dovetailing
the work of the Council and the Commission and could be examined.
Some Ministers suggested the creation of a double-hatted post
of President of the Commission and President of the European
- The efficiency
of European decisions can also be increased by making more use
of differenti-ated integration, a possibility provided for in
the treaties, but hardly implemented so far. In the medium term,
to improve the European Union's capacity to act, we should extend
the scope of decisions to be taken by qualified majority.
Parliament's democratic visibility should be further increased:
one key step would be, for instance, the nomination of a European
top candidate for the next European Parliament elections by
each European political group who could also stand for the
post of Commission President. In addition, we need a greater
distinction between majority and minority in the Parliament,
European Parliament elections on the same day in all member
states, the drawing up of a (limited) European list and a
more public procedure in the Parliament to appoint the Commission
President. European political parties should work towards
the building of a truly "European political space",
which would draw European citizens' attention to key political
issues concerning their common future.
- National parliaments
should become more effectively involved in the work of the European
Union in the spirit of the Lisbon Treaty. To this effect, contacts
between the EP and national parliaments should be strengthened
further. This could be done e.g. through regular meetings, the
presence of MEP's during strategic EU-debates in national parliaments,
by reinforcing the COSAC-framework and by enhancing EU-wide
networks of national parliamentary committees dealing with the
same particular EU-dossiers. The core task of national parliaments
will however remain to control the action of their national
the European Union as a community of values
- The possibilities
to ensure respect for the fundamental values under Article 2
of the TEU should be strengthened. To this end, a new, light
mechanism should be introduced enabling the Commission to draw
up a report in the case of concrete evidence of violations of
the values under Article 2 of the TEU and to make recommendations
or refer the matter to the Council. It should only be triggered
by an apparent breach in a member state of fundamental values
or principles, like the rule of law.
e) Improving the
long-term overall functioning of the European Union
- In an EU with
28 or more Member States, treaty reform will be more difficult.(
Most members of the Group believe that both the adoption and
the subsequent entry into force of treaty revisions (with the
exception of enlargement) should be implemented by a super-qualified
majority of the Member States and their population.) A large
majority of member states should not be restrained of further
advancing in integration due to either lack of political will
or to significant delays in the ratification processes. A minimum
threshold - representing a significant majority of European
member states and citizens - should be established for the entry
into force of amendments to the European treaties. They would
be binding for those member states that have ratified them.
- Finally, we also
need to think about the long-term governance structures of the
EU. At the end of a longer process, we need a streamlined and
efficient system for the separation of powers in Europe which
has full democratic legitimacy. For some members of the Group,
this could include the following elements: a directly elected
Commission President who appoints the members of his "European
Government" himself, a European Parliament with the powers
to initiate legislation and a second chamber for the member
Portrait: Peter Diamandis
Dr. Peter Diamandis
is the Chairman and CEO of the X
which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive
prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.
Best known for the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight
and the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE for 100 mile-per-gallon
equivalent cars, the Foundation is now launching prizes in Exploration,
Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.
Diamandis is also
an international leader in the commercial space arena, having
co-founded and run many of the leading entrepreneurial companies
in this sector including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket
Racing League and Space Adventures.
As co-Founder &
Chairman of the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley based
institution partnered with NASA, Google, Autodesk and Nokia, Diamandis
counsels the worlds top enterprises on how to utilize exponential
technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate
their business objectives.
Dr. Diamandis attended
the MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and
aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where
he received his M.D. Diamandis personal motto is: The
best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!
TED2012: Peter Diamandis,
"Abundance is Our Future"
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